What am I pouring on Thanksgiving? Sparkling wine and Zinfandel

I believe all holidays must be celebrated with sparkling wine and Thanksgiving is no exception. In fact, it is America’s only true traditional holiday .

So here’s what I am bringing to the table.

A bottle of La Crema Brut Sparkling Rose` for the family greeting and a Willm Brut Rose` Sparkling (Cremant d’Alsace) to launch the appetizers and salad course. Thereafter, I’ll open the Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel for the main course.

Turkey dinner is always a wonderful mélange of sights and scents produced by all the flavorful foods. Sparkling wines, with their clean and crisp acidity, provide a nice way to mix and match foods and refresh the palate.

La Crema Brut Rose` is an elegant sparkler, with a pale pink color that releases tons of brilliant bubbles in the glass. It’s as nice to look at as it is to drink. Strawberry aromas and flavors persist throughout on a soft palate. The finish is lemony, dry and enduring. The grapes are a mix of Pinot Noir (73 percent) and Chardonnay (27 percent) from cool-site Russian River Valley vineyards. The wine undergoes two fermentations – similar to French Champagne – and is aged for 24 months on the lees prior to disgorgement. Praise to winemaker Jennifer Walsh for crafting an outstanding American bubbly. La Crema Brut Rose` sells for about $45 a bottle. Wine Enthusiast rated it 91 points.

Willm Brut Rose` Cremant d’Alsace is a bargain in my book. It sells for $17 a bottle and has a touch of creaminess to its texture and a frothy mousse that really make it stand out. Fresh fruity notes abound, highlighted by strawberry marmalade. At its core, Willm delivers a vibrant acidity that meshes beautifully with rich sauces, gravy and creamed vegetable dishes.

Finally, I love Zinfandel, believing it to be a “classic” American grape first brought to California by Spanish missionaries in the 18th century. The people at Klinker Brick Winery in Lodi have developed this varietal to new heights, growing exceptional fruit from blocks of vines that are 100 years old and more. I purchased two 1.5-liter bottles of Klinker Brick for $29.99 apiece at the Wine ConneXtion recently, and will proudly serve it for the main turkey feast. (A regular 750 ml. bottle costs less than $19.)

This is a spicy, intense Zin of blackberry and plum fruits where oakiness is an attribute. The wood adds a subtle caramelized softness and flavor to the big, bold tannic frame. You pick up tastes of chocolate and cocoa. At 15.5 percent alcohol, this Zin is no slouch. It scored 90 points from Wine Enthusiast.

No doubt I’ll be sleeping over at my brother’s house where the annual feast takes place. Please drink responsibly, be grateful, and enjoy the holiday!



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