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Riesling with Turkey

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James Roscoe

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Riesling with Turkey

by James Roscoe » Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:46 pm

Many of us in the U.S.A. are about to partake in the annual Thanksgiving repast which includes turkey with all the fixings. While I do not limit my turkey intake to once a year, my suspicion is that most Americans do not eat much turkey outside of November and December. So Riesling experts, what rieslings would you advise pairing with the big bird? Can you go into different price ranges? How about for us poor school teachers who have a host of in-laws coming over? What if we want to hide away something from the nieces who drink too much and have a special bottle around? Should we save any Riesling for the pumpkin pie? Let's get a good thread going here!
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Re: Riesling with Turkey

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Nov 13, 2008 5:55 pm

JR, you are living in Maryland? Is that on the east coast (grin)?
Surely you have some access to Finger Lakes and remember there is a good thread going here.
I hear that the new `07 Dr "L" Riesling is very good and under $10. That should keep the in-laws happy and you could hide away something tad more pricey for yourself...a la Nixon!
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Re: Riesling with Turkey

by James Roscoe » Thu Nov 13, 2008 7:47 pm

I actually like the Dr. Loosen, but it goes for more like $12 here. We have some very cheap qba called Petals that should keep them happy at $7.00 a pop. I bought four bottles!
.....we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. A. Lincoln
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Re: Riesling with Turkey

by David M. Bueker » Thu Nov 13, 2008 8:10 pm

James Roscoe wrote:I actually like the Dr. Loosen, but it goes for more like $12 here.


You are getting hosed. It's $9 in Massachusetts.

I'll be back later with some turkey comments.
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Re: Riesling with Turkey

by David M. Bueker » Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:30 pm

So on to the turkey issue. I am going to start with the usual comment - the turkey is irrelevant. Turkey is a fairly basic bird that can handle anything from Albarino to Zinfandel. It's what you serve with it that counts.

Now if you plan to smoke a turkey then I would head straight for Riesling, as it will play beautifully off the smoky flavors. But failing that it's more about gravy and side dishes than the bird itself.

Riesling or other acidic whites are great for cutting through the richness of a gravy. Pinot Noir is good too, as is a good cru Beaujolais (please leave the Nouveau at the wine store or launch a dinghy with it). If you are a fan of those southern-style sweet potato dishes with pecans and brown sugar then head for a Riesling Auslese to compete with the sweetness of the food. If you prefer more savory elements then dry Riesling or perhaps a Chenin Blanc-based wine (e.g. Vouvray Sec or Savennieres) might be a better match. If you're going old school with some stuffing with olives in it then head for richer reds (if you use black olives ) or Sauvignon Blanc (if you use green olives).

By the way, have I mentioned Gruner Veltliner? It goes with anything that isn't sweet.
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Re: Riesling with Turkey

by James Roscoe » Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:32 pm

Thank you David, but if you are intent on serving Riesling with your turkey, if no other wine will do, what would you serve?
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Re: Riesling with Turkey

by David M. Bueker » Thu Nov 13, 2008 10:40 pm

See my comments regarding side dishes. Gage your Riesling off of those. If you shy away from sweet food then even a dry Riesling with some serious cut will work. If you are serving sweeter sides then go for a sweeter wine.
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Re: Riesling with Turkey

by Carl Eppig » Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:01 pm

We love Rielsing and Riesling with turkey, paticularly with smoked turkey during seasons we can do it. Last Father's Day was a smoked turkey-Riesling blast.

Hoomsoever, there is a difference between "turkey" and "Thanksgiving." Thanksgiving involves many, many more flavors and aromas than just turkey. Just the sage laden cornbread stuffing and candied sweet potatoes without any other sides can destroy just about any Riesling even very sweet ones. That is why our Thanksgiving wine is always Zindandel.
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Re: Riesling with Turkey

by David M. Bueker » Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:56 pm

Carl Eppig wrote:Hoomsoever, there is a difference between "turkey" and "Thanksgiving." Thanksgiving involves many, many more flavors and aromas than just turkey. Just the sage laden cornbread stuffing and candied sweet potatoes without any other sides can destroy just about any Riesling even very sweet ones. That is why our Thanksgiving wine is always Zindandel.


I think there are degrees of destruction. I have frequently had cornbread stuffing with sage & never had a problem with Riesling. Sweet potatoes can destroy dry or off-dry Riesling, but they also destry zin, as neitehr has enough sweetness to cover the cloying sweetness of most of those candied dishes.

Now a good auslese (especially a young one) can handle the sweet potatoes.
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Re: Riesling with Turkey

by Rahsaan » Fri Nov 14, 2008 6:53 pm

James Roscoe wrote:How about for us poor school teachers who have a host of in-laws coming over? What if we want to hide away something from the nieces who drink too much and have a special bottle around? Should we save any Riesling for the pumpkin pie? Let's get a good thread going here!


If your Thanksgiving is anywhere near as chaotic as mine I wouldn't worry too much about finding the 'perfect' wine and just go with whatever is available, fits your budget, and of course fits your taste.

It sounds like your nieces and in-laws will not be scrutinizing the wines anyway?

FWIW, I bring the wines to my family's Thanksgiving every year and usually go with a combination of Muscadet and QbA or Kabinett off-dry riesling (I learned this the hard way after one year where everyone complained about the Donnhoff spatlese being too sweet - although that could be a good strategy for securing the good stuff for myself) for white wine and Beaujolais or tart red Loire wines for red. And in our family the food is more or less traditional but not very candied.
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Re: Riesling with Turkey

by David M. Bueker » Fri Nov 14, 2008 10:37 pm

Our family Thanksgiving will be just me, Laura and my mom and dad. So we'll keep it basic in terms of food (turkey, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, stuffing, gravy, some alternate veggie for Laura who doesn't like squash & perhaps some parsnips for me and my dad) and go to the wall for the wine.

Right now I am thinking 1996 Egly-Ouriet Champagne, J. J. Christoffel Riesling Spatlese (maybe the '98 Urziger Wurzgarten) & 1999 Bruno Clavelier Vosne Romanee Beaux Monts. Of course all of that can (and will) change.
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Re: Riesling with Turkey

by Carl Eppig » Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:04 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Sweet potatoes can also destroy zin.


I guess you've never met a Tobin James Fatboy, and bet you don't want to.

Cheers, Carl
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Re: Riesling with Turkey

by David M. Bueker » Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:49 pm

Carl Eppig wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:Sweet potatoes can also destroy zin.


I guess you've never met a Tobin James Fatboy, and bet you don't want to.

Cheers, Carl


ain't that the truth...
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.

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