The holiday season is upon us, and so is the never-ending search for the prefect wine to pair with turkey. Frankly, Dr. Google is not terribly helpful in this regard. Different sources will steer you from Pinot Noir to Riesling to Gewürztraminer. I’ve tried all of those, and they’re all great (okay, Pinot Noir is simply good; I don’t much care for most of them).
However, at our home we’re going to be looking at three different wines this year. The first is unoaked chardonnay—I just don’t care for many California chards that taste like you’re drinking toothpicks. The second is a famed white Burgundy that gets the Chardonnay, the oak, and the mineral content just right. But—you pay for it! The third is a return to my love for the south of France in a white Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Three Great Chardonnays to Toast the Holidays
I like to taste the fruit in the wines that I drink, and the Mer Soleil Chardonnay reserve is a product of the Santa Lucia Highlands in Monterey County. This wine doesn’t touch oak and has plenty of citrus flavor. It has enough acid to compete with the savory foods that accompany turkey, and has a great finish. Best of all, it retails at about $28 a bottle.
The next Chardonnay is from the east of France and comes from a small plot that has been owned by its producer since 1913. Louis Jadot Chevalier-Montrachet “Les Demoiselles” is 100% Chardonnay that comes from chalky soil with lots of stones, resulting in a golden-colored and fruity wine with the right amount of mineral flavor. I have only had this amazing wine twice (it retails at $345, so it’s a special treat), but both times I thought that I was drinking the nectar of the gods. Remember this for dinner with an important client, or for a significant holiday meal.
I have regularly recommended wines from the House of Beaucastel, but I do so for good reason. The wines are well made, with great fruit, great smoothness and a great finish. Beaucastel’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc is a rich, full-bodied white that is 80% Roussanne aged lightly in oak. It is probably my favorite combination with holiday meals. It retails for about $90.
Wine Tip: Want to chill your whites really quickly? Wet a towel, wrap the bottle in it and then place it in the freezer. The dampness of the towel conducts and holds the cold in better and ensures that the entire bottle is chilled uniformly.