Every weekend, thousands of people turn to a column in the weekend section of The Wall Street Journal to learn more about wine. Written by the husband-and-wife team John Brecher and Dorothy Gaiter, the column, Tastings, offers recommendations and commentary about a wide range of wines.
Dorothy and John say there's are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to choosing wine. The secret is to taste and explore in order to learn what you like and don't like. Selecting and drinking wine should be fun, not fussy or intimidating.
Attention to the occasion at which the wine will be served is crucial. With this in mind, Martha asked Dorothy and John to recommend some wines for Thanksgiving. Noting that Thanksgiving is an American holiday, the couple suggested serving domestic wines.
To start off your celebration, serve a sparkling wine such as Pacific Echo (formerly Scharffenberger) or Schramsberg blanc de blanc or blanc de noir. Made in much the same way as the sparkling wines from the Champagne region of France, these wines are perfect for setting the tone for the holiday.
When it's time to eat, red wine is the appropriate choice. There tends to be a great deal of confusion when it comes to matching wine with turkey; zinfandel is often considered a perfect choice, but according to John, an older cabernet sauvignon is better. Zinfandels tend to be heavier and spicier and can overwhelm the meal. Older cabernets, on the other hand, are smooth enough to complement white meat and still stand up to the more intense flavor of the stuffing. The key is to buy cabernet sauvignon that is at least five years old. John recommends a Franciscan or a Mount Vida.
By the time dessert is served, most people are too full to eat another course. Dorothy and John recommend serving a fruity dessert wine with cashews for dessert. And the next day with turkey sandwiches? A Spanish rioja will go beautifully.
Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher
Herzog Wine Cellars
Robert Pecota Winery
Marques de Caceres
John Brecher and Dorothy J. Gaiter
"The Wall Street Journal Guide to Wine" (Broadway Books, l999)