by Fred McMillin
for November 12, 1999
Winery of the Week
Countdown to Thanksgiving
What to Pour with the Bird
I like Beringer wines. Which one should I serve with my Thanksgiving turkey?
...Reader Judy Lorentz
Answer # 1
If you wish to serve only one wine, make it an
interesting light red...the brand spanking new Beringer Nouveau. The grapes were still on the vine only weeks ago, and almost all your guests will be interested in how one of the very
first wines of 1999 tastes.
Offer TWO wines, the Nouveau and a white. Which
white? Frank Prial in The New York Times says
"most white wines are overwhelmed by the
strong-flavored turkey, which is more akin to a
game bird than to chicken...However, among the
exceptions are big California Chardonnays. They
can hold their own with turkey." So offer a
Beringer Chardonnay along with the Nouveau.
Flashback! In 1991 Gourmet Magazine did a nine-page
article on Thanksgiving dinner with Roast Turkey,
Country Ham Stuffing and Giblet Gravy. What wine
was paired with it? The envelope please...The
winner is the 1991 Beringer Nouveau!
Postscript #2—The German Connection
Beringer Vineyards was founded in the Napa Valley
by German-born Jacob Beringer. That was back in
1876. However, Germans had shown a strong
interest in the turkey long before then. The
turkey was discovered in America in 1513. Not so
many decades later, Ein Neu Kockbuck (A New
Cookbook) was published in Frankfurt, Germany
containing TWENTY recipes for turkey dishes.
I can find nothing in any other country to match
this fast start.
About the Writer
Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history
for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine
courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College.
In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred
with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded
to American wine writers.
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