Okay, back to our regularly featured programming...guiding you with Thanksgiving wine selections.
Remember, the premise and most requested information about Thanksgiving wines, "What varietals to serve with the cornucopia of flavors present at the Thanksgiving table and something cheap to help pimp out the meal". I hear you loud and clear.
We've already discussed Riesling and touched on Zinfandel, now let's move on to Syrah/Shiraz.
As a side note, I know many of you understand Syrah and Shiraz are the same grape varietal, it's the terroir that's different. However, several days ago I had a woman tell me she will only drink Shiraz and not Syrah. Huh? I explained to her it was EXACTLY the same grape, only the Australians call it Shiraz, she seriously did not believe me. It's kind of like the whole Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio debacle...it's the same grape... but some people have hard heads. Yes, the wines are made in different regions, but the grape is the same, k?
Anyway, why Syrah/Shiraz for Turkey Day?
First of all, Syrah, with its fruity taste and peppery finish, can hold its own during a meal full of varying flavors. The Syrah will help pick up the intensity and flavor of the feast and will not offset the sweeter parts of the meal.
I know Pinot Noir has always been claimed as the quintessential Thanksgiving Day wine...and trust me it is a very good choice/pairing...but Syrah can hold its own and is often one of the wines added to Pinot Noir for blending purposes. Just keep that in the back of your head.
Overall, Syrah is one of those wines you can easily find enjoyment in just about any bottle.
I have tasted many and have come up with a grab-bag of different options, all absolute bargains for what you get.
These three wines were available at Costco and two grocery stores in my area, meaning they can be found everywhere. Hunt them down and put them on your T-day table, you'll be glad you did.
So I went for a Shiraz blend, a Syrah and a Rose of Syrah. They are all great.
And even though I haven't mentioned dry Rose, it is also perfect for Thanksgiving; it works well with vegetables and cranberry sauce. If you do go Rose, stick with a Rose of Syrah, Grenache or Merlot. They will have a spiciness often found in the full red wine versions.
2006 Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz Cabernet, South Australia $7-9
A very serious wine for a very humble price (it was only $7.50 at Costco). Blackberry and black currant are most prevalent on the nose, a very focused taste and lingering fruit on the finish. A blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, it's a versatile blend, perfect with food. 91 Points awarded from Wine Advocate
2006 Montes Alpha Syrah, Colchagua Valley, Chile $15-18
I love this wine, made in the Rhone style. It is intense in color (ruby red), floral notes with freshly shaved vanilla bean, clove and tobacco on the nose. Overall it has a balance of acidity and body with soft and lush tannins. 91 Points awarded by both Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator.
2008 Montes Cherub Rose of Syrah $12-15
This is a dry Rose, made in Mediterranean style. The fruit is pure with an overall vibrant structure. Echoes of cherry and spice in the mouth, with a clean finish. And how can you deny yourself this label? It's adorable.
If you can't find these particular bottles in your area, that's okay, just remember to try Syrah with your turkey banquet, you will enjoy the experience.