SOMEHOW, Thanksgiving is already upon us. That means figuring out what to eat and drink. The food is usually the easy part—turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans—you know the drill. Deciding what to drink is trickier because of all that different food. You could buy a number of wines to match each stage of the feast but that's too complicated. My advice: go with the bubbles.
Sparkling wine and champagne work as great turkey-day wines. The effervescence of sparkling wine and its toasty, yeasty, nutty and fruity flavors make a dry-style sparkling wine a great match for a wide variety of foods, especially all those dishes set out on Thanksgiving.
Plus the sound of popping corks keeps things festive.
Whether you're the host or a guest, choosing the right sparkling wine goes a long way toward elevating the quality of the meal and winning some style points along the way. Forget the André. Napa Valley's Domaine Chandon is a good choice, but I say go even more local and pick up a sparkling wine from the Santa Cruz Mountains.
The Santa Cruz Mountains produce a lot of good wine, but precious little sparkling wine (only the sparkling wine made in the Champagne region of France is called Champagne). If fact, there's just one sparkling wine producer: Equinox. They make some outstanding wine.
The winery releases very small quantities of wine, and as such it's something of a secret. Equinox offers several styles of sparkling wine, but only the 1997 blanc de blanc is available. That's right, 1997. The wine is 12 years old and spent 10 years in contact with the yeast to produce and an intense, delicious bottle of wine. The chardonnay grapes come from the famed Trout Gulch vineyard in Aptos. It's a heady wine with aromas of yeast, honey, citrus and hazelnut and flavors of citrus peel, caramel and fresh bread.
It sells for about $45. That's a lot of money, but for a wine of this quality, to be consumed during a once-a-year celebration like Thanksgiving, it's worth it.
You can buy Equinox online at www.equinoxwine.com or at the winery's tasting room at 427 Swift St. in Santa Cruz. The number is 831.423.3000.
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