When it comes to choosing what to drink with Thanksgiving dinner, I belong to the no-one-wine-is-perfect crowd — but sparkling rosé is pretty close to ideal. That’s why my pick this week is lively, fruity non-vintage Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut Rosé, with its elegant pink color, crisp apple and strawberry flavors, zippy acidity and creamy texture.
Elin McCoy's Wine of the Week
Region: Napa, Sonoma, Marin, and Mendocino, California
Grape: 51% Chardonnay, 49% Pinot Noir
Serve with: Thanksgiving dinner
The basic wine-and-food matching problem at Thanksgiving is the jumble of sweet to tart to savory flavors crammed together on your plate. Even bland-tasting turkey is tuned by rich sausage, herb and apple stuffing, a sweet glaze, and savory, port-laced gravy. Add in traditional side dishes, like creamed onions with cheese, sweet potatoes with marshmallow topping, and tart-sweet cranberry sauce and the mix is a serious wine challenge.
From experience, I know that all those flavors, not to mention family conversation and activity, drown out the nuances of expensive, complex wines and that esoteric wines with hard-to-pronounce names won’t be appreciated by the diverse group at my table. So my pick always has to have easy-drinking appeal — and, according to my longstanding rule, be American.
Sparkling rosé for an American holiday
This year seems an especially appropriate time to serve this Mirabelle Rosé, one of Schramsberg’s affordable and easygoing fizzes. The family-owned winery, a few miles south of Calistoga in the Napa Valley, is currently celebrating its 150th anniversary.
Restored and revitalized in the 1960s by Jack and Jamie Davies, it’s one of the region’s modern wine pioneers and woven into American history. Forty years ago, one of its early sparkling wines (a vintage Blanc de Blancs) was served at a “Toast to Peace” State dinner in Beijing, the first American wine ever served at a State event.
The Mirabelle Rosé, a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes from vineyards in four locations, is made just the way Champagne is. Its bubbles, acidity and spicy bright fruit make it excellent as an apéritif to sip while hanging around the kitchen waiting for everything to finish cooking, and it will contrast the menu’s heavy flavors and refresh palates during the hours-long meal. I don’t know about you, but my family needs something zingy to keep waking up our tastebuds so we can eat even more.
I recommend having plenty of bottles on hand to mellow tempers during heated political discussions and flareups of sibling rivalry, and, of course, to toast all the things your family and friends are thankful for.
Top photo composite:
Non-Vintage Schramsberg Mirabelle Brut Rosé and label. Credit: Wilson Daniels