I will be spending Thanksgiving in Boulder, Colorado this year, in the testing company of my three wayward sons. I know that sentimentalists will expect me to write something smarmy about holiday feasts enjoyed with family and friends, but I cannot ignore the fact that I have fathered three insolent brutes who treat me with programmatic disrespect. Further, without having had the courtesy to ask my permission in the matter, the miscreants have managed to be both younger and taller than I am. Intolerable. However, in the spirit of what I will cheerfully call “grim acceptance,” I will temporarily put aside my justifiable indignation over the painful vagaries of parenthood, and focus on describing three wines that will definitely find a place at our Thanksgiving table and, I suggest, are worthy of finding a place at yours. Appropriately, the context for these recommendations will be three things for which I am boundlessly thankful, all of them son-related.
I am thankful that I do not have red hair. My oldest son is afflicted with gingeritis, and though medical science has made great strides in eradicating less pernicious diseases, it has not yet discovered a cure for this truly awful malady that brings so much distress both to those afflicted with it and to anyone who has to deal with them. If you find yourself burdened with a ginger at your holiday meal, I suggest bringing a measure of sanity to the occasion by serving one of my favorite white wines: Dry Creek Vineyard 2009 Clarksburg Chenin Blanc ($12). This versatile wine is charming enough for casual sipping and substantial enough to complement a turkey-centered feast. It has enticing citrus aromas that lead to delectable lemon, grapefruit, and apple flavors that linger through a crisply flavorful finish.
I am thankful that my middle name is John, even though it is somewhat common, since I would rather not have to go through life saddled with a weird middle name, like, say, Tukten, that was bestowed upon me by my hippie parents because they found it in a book about Nepal during one of their “Woodstock moments.” That would be unendurable; just ask my middle son. In contrast, Dry Creek Vineyard Sonoma County 2009 Fume Blanc ($12) is decidedly “endurable” – to the point of being irresistibly delicious. Year after year this wine shows a consistency of character that is as impressive as it is commendable, and the 2009 bottling offers just what any wine lover would desire: harmonious citrus flavors complicated by nuances of gooseberry and mineral that lead to a long, palate-cleansing finish. If you find yourself unsure about what wine you should serve with your holiday turkey, you can choose this one with the assurance that neither you nor your dinner companions will be disappointed.
I am grateful that I was not born during the Year of the Rat, as was the fate of my misfortunate third son. The Chinese consider Rats to be bright, sweet-natured, and generous, but those admirable traits do not, alas, wholly define the character of this “complex” young man. In a failed attempt to comfort the lad for having been born under so verminous a sign, I once told him that there is a high school in Michigan that has selected the water rat as its school mascot. I wonder if the student body greets members of opposing athletic teams with the cheer, “Boo-Bonic!” I’d certainly be intimidated. But you should certainly not be intimidated by the task of having to select a wine to go with turkey, as long as your local wine shop stocks Dry Creek Vineyard Dry Creek Valley 2009 Sauvignon Blanc ($16). It’s appealing, fruit-rich aromas lead to concentrated, beautifully balanced mango, pineapple, citrus and peach flavors that find closure in a vibrant finish complicated by a hint of honeysuckle.
In truth, my annual Thanksgiving trip to Boulder is a source of great joy for me, even if that joy sometimes chiefly consists of successfully defending myself from the verbal barbs of my contentious offspring, and I am confident that most parents who visit their grown children during the holidays will sympathize with me. In any event, I hope that all my readers have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that they complement their holiday banquet with one or more of the wonderful wines that I have described in this posting. I close by admitting that I am very thankful to have three sons, pictured below when they were far easier to be with, though for perfectly understandable reasons, I am sorely tempted to modify that statement to “only” three sons.