Monday, 24 November 2008

ANOTHER Turkey Day Wine

While looking at a few posts on Twitter, I saw a series of recommendations for Thanksgiving wines. I've already done that here but there's one wine that I forgot - and it's an unforgettable wine.

The grape variety is Zierfandler (also known as Spaetrot) and it comes from Gumpoldskirchen (GREAT name!) in the Thermenregion of Austria (that's just about a 40 minute drive southwest of Vienna). Zierfandler is grown almost exclusively in this tiny region of Austria and usually is blended with a related variety, Rotgipfler, also from the region. Whether separate or apart these wine grapes make some really delicious wine that pairs well with light and/or heavy flavors.

About a year ago I had a Zierer Zierfandler at Wallse (a terrific Austrian restaurant) in New York. It was a Friday night and I was dining alone so to keep tables free for larger groups, I was eating at the bar. While waiting for my meal, I had a glass of the Zierer which I also drank with my crab appetizer. I was going to order a Blaufrankisch to go with my duck main course, but the bartender suggested that I try a bit more Zierfandler to see how it went. Wow! It was wonderful - fragrant and spicy with crisp acidity, lovely minerality and some smooth creaminess on the palate but with enough backbone that it stood up to the duck yet didn't overwhelm the crab. A cameleon wine - and the perfect suggestion for the typically multi-flavored Thanksgiving meal.

It won't be easy to find a Zierfandler in your typical wine store but it's well worth searching for. I have some (of course) so UK consumers will be satisfied. And those of you in the US, especially in New York, should be able to find it at a number of stores ( lists at least 6 stores with Zierfandler and 1 with Spaetrot in New York, and quite a large number with Rotgipfler throughout the Northeast). If you're on the West Coast or the Mid-west, you'll probably have to order on-line. Make the effort to find this - it will make your Thanksgiving happy.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Turkey Day - wine suggestions

For someone living in the UK, I don't think about Thanksgiving very much (except in the generic sense of giving thanks). I'm always surprised when someone asks me this time of year "what are you doing for Thanksgiving?" I've lived in Europe for 23 years now and I don't think I've "celebrated" Thanksgiving with a traditional American turkey dinner in all that time.

So, why am I thinking about it now? Probably because I was thinking about wines to have with turkey because I'm in the process of preparing a Cajun-brined Smoked Turkey Breast (yum!) and was thinking about what to drink with it. So here are some ideas -

Zinfandel is particularly great with turkey. The bright, berry character of Zin seems to blend well with all the diverse flavors of a typical turkey dinner. If you're going to have a Zin, look for a Seghesio and, particularly, their Sonoma County Zin. It's good value and absolutely delicious.

Another great wine for turkey is a good rosé. The best rosé for this IMHO is one that tends to be closer to a red than a white (most rosés don't know what they want to be when they grow up). So look for some of the full-bodied Portuguese rosés like the Redoma Rosé from Dirk Niepoort or the CARM Rosé. Similarly, some of the Austrian rosés made from their indigenous grapes work very well with turkey. Here, look for the Brundlmayer or Jamek Zweigelt Rosé or, perhaps, a Schilcher Rosé from Franz Strohmeier.

All of these wines, except the CARM which is sold out, are available at

So, enjoy your Turkey day, and give thanks.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Trekking the Inca Trail with Classic FM Music Makers

As I'm sitting here on my backside recovering from the operation on my feet, I've set myself a goal of getting back into shape. What better way to do that than to trek the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu on behalf of a good cause. So I'll be raising money for Classic FM Music Makers and I've added a badge on this site to allow you to contribute, too. Please help me raise funds for this good cause.