Thursday, November 13, 2014
Eric Asimov, New York Times, Recommend Slyboro Cider for Thanksgiving
Wines for Thanksgiving That Refresh the Palate
New York Times
November 10, 2014
Thanksgiving, like any holiday, is an act of repetition, only more so. Not just because it rolls around every year on the fourth Thursday of November, but because we ritually prepare the same meal.
Nonetheless, because it may be the only time we roast a turkey, recipes are in order, complete with the latest intelligence on basting, brining and bringing out the flavor. So it is that, for the 11th consecutive year, the wine panel’s home team sat down in advance to a typical Thanksgiving meal, along with a series of wines to taste blind with the turkey and sides. Florence Fabricant and I were joined by Julia Moskin and Pete Wells, along with Bernard Kirsch, our tasting coordinator.
The ground rules were simple. Each of us brought two bottles, costing no more than $25 each. One was to be red, the other white, rosé or sparkling. This year the rule was stretched, as one bottle turned out to be a cider.
Our years of experience permit us to condense the accumulated wisdom to a few simple guidelines, which apply primarily to large-scale gatherings. If you are serving an intimate holiday meal for, say, four people, you can spend as much as you like on wine, plan different wines with each course and bring out your best glassware.
But if your Thanksgiving is anything like mine, you’ve got a lot more than four at the table. They start eating and drinking early and keep at it until late, with dinner a free-for-all buffet. Most likely, you won’t be using the finest goblets. Plastic is not out of the question. So here are the two crucial points to consider when selecting Thanksgiving wines:
VERSATILITY This is not the time to fuss over specific food and wine pairings. You need all-purpose wines that will go with many different sorts of dishes. One should be red, the other white, with additional sparkling or rosé wines at your discretion. You will want plenty. Few things are as sad as running out of wine on Thanksgiving, except running out of food. Figure a bottle per adult.
ENERGY Wines should be nimble and refreshing, energizing rather than fatiguing and low in alcohol, if possible. It’s a long, tiring meal, and the last thing you want are heavy, alcoholic, torpor-inducing wines. Instead, they should be light and exhilarating, the sort that promote salivation rather than comas.
The challenge is determining which wines fit this bill. Enter the wine panel. All the wines we brought would have been fine for a Thanksgiving meal, even the cider. It’s important to understand, though, that these are representative of the sorts of wines to seek out. Most likely, these specific bottles will be hard to find, but not to worry. Many similar wines will be available.
Let’s first take the cider, which Pete brought. He wanted one of his bottles to be American, and what’s more American than cider? The leading beverage of colonial America, it’s undergoing a renaissance today. The Hidden Star Semi-Dry cider, from Slyboro in upstate New York, was deliciously refreshing and a mere 6.9 percent alcohol. You could drink it throughout the meal, but if you are used to the complexity and savor of wine, you may grow tired of the fairly simple flavors.
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