What to drink as accompaniment to a turkey burger at home? If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, you may note that turkey burgers are pretty common in my home. They’re easy and quick to make and have less of the cholestrol-upping fats that doctors and dieticians keep telling us are bad for longevity. Not that I don’t splurge on a beef burger once in awhile.
On one particular evening, this Australian Pinot Noir won the toss to pair with a turkey burger. After all, if Pinot Noir goes so well with Thanksgiving turkey …. Of course, the right beverage may also depend on what condiments you plan on adding to the turkey burger. That night I wasn’t in an especially adventurous mood, so I wasn’t expecting any great disturbances in the flavor force on my palate.
Wine: Bin 99
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Appellation: South Eastern Australia
Notes: The Bin 99 was light-bodied with good acidity. I thought tannins were around medium while alcohol clocked in at 13.5%. Regarding flavors, I tasted strawberry, green bell pepper, and black pepper along with bitter brambles. Fairly simple but ok for the task at hand.
My family has an interesting story about butter. My grandfather grew up on a farm, and they did, indeed, churn their own butter. One day when he was a young fellow, my grandfather and his siblings decided it would be fun to see who could eat the most butter in one sitting. Can you believe it? What seems to a level-headed adult a questionable pursuit at best was to my future grandfather a grand dare. Until, of course, he had ingested as much of the butter as he could handle. Unfortunately, all that buttery goodness at one time was truly too much of a good thing. It left a lasting impression because, after that day, my grandfather never ate another pad of butter. But my mother and her siblings came up with their own butter dare. Just to tease my grandfather, they would sneakily pass the butter around the table during dinner until they managed to have it sitting right in front of him. Once he noticed, of course, he would insist on it’s immediate removal from his close proximity. Ah, kids!
Winemaker: Big Churn
Price: $6.99 at Trader Joe’s
Notes: This inexpensive California white was light yellow with scents of lemon verbena and butterscotch on the nose. Dry at 14.5% alcohol, the Big Churn was medium-bodied with what I would describe as perky acidity. Flavors I tasted were lemon pudding, oak, hints of butterscotch and lingering grass. With a name like Big Churn – not to mention the label art – you would expect a big buttery Chardonnay. I don’t think it quite lived up to it’s moniker, but I thought it was still a respectable glass of white wine for the price.
Here is another set of tasting notes from my archive which has heretofore not been posted on oenophilogical.com. I haven’t checked the Trader Joe’s shelves to see what vintage my local store is carrying right now. Even if it’s another year, this might give folks a sense of what has gone before.
Winemaker: Old Moon
Wine: Old Vine Zinfandel
Price: $5.99 at Trader Joe’s
Notes: In the bouquet I caught whiffs of cherry, spice, moss and pine tar. At 13.5% alcohol, this California Zin was a lovely ruby color in the glass. I found it to be medium-bodied with high acidity and medium tannins that were quick on the attack. The flavor profile I tasted included cherry, green herbs, a soupçon of pine tar, along with earth and leather notes. The finish brought toasty oak and leather. It wasn’t a particularly well integrated wine, but I felt it sufficient in structure and flavor to make it a bargain (not just cheap) at the price.
I may have said this before, but I’ll say it again. I would love to travel to Spain! Some day, I sincerely hope to make that wish a reality. In the meantime, I’ll have to make do with looking at photos online, reading blog posts by others who have managed the trek, and drinking Spanish wines when I get that urge. Clearly, I was overcome by that urge recently because for my second wine experience back, I chose this Spanish Rioja.
Winemaker: Javier San Pedro (Bodegas Vallobera)
Wine: Randez (Crianza)
Appellation: Rioja DDO
Price: $8.99 @ Trader Joe’s
Notes: With a bouquet of berries, cedar, and tobacco, this Spanish red was a dark ruby in the glass. On the palate, the weight was on the light side of medium with good acidity and fairly aggressive tannins. Alcohol came in at 13.5%. Flavors for me included cherry, red currant, and quite a lot of pepper with green herbal notes and woody tannins. It finished with a lingering note of bitters. I should have been drinking this with a beef dish given it’s structure, but it was pleasant enough on it’s own if you like a red with a little bite.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I am going to be taking it slow these days. In other words, I won’t be tasting as many wines as I might otherwise. Luckily, I do have some notes left from prior experiences, so I think I’ll go ahead and publish those now as well. While the particular vintage may no longer be available, the wine producers will surely have something on store shelves currently for our consumption. Here is one of those notes.
Notes: This lovely Italian reminded me of a Bordeaux. A blend of 33.3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33.3% Merlot, and 33.4% Montepulciano, this wine had a distinct purplish hue in the glass with a very present bouquet of forest floor (sous bois). It was on the cusp of medium-bodied with good acidity and gentle tannins. Alcohol was at 14%. Flavors I detected included brambly blackberry, leather and tea leaf. I think I see another bottle of the Trentatre in my future.
Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find my photo of the bottle. So instead the photo above is of a town (or more precisely a portion thereof) called Castro in the Apulia region – the area in southern Italy where this wine comes from.
For my return to the trenches, I decided to start with a celebratory Chardonnay. Honestly, any glass of wine would have been a joyous experience. Of course, after over half a year as a teetotaler, I knew I wasn’t ready for a big chewy red.
Winemaker: Nine Points
Appellation: Napa Valley
Notes: This Napa Chardonnay was a pretty light yellow in the glass with scents of citrus, grass and warm spices. It was medium bodied with a decent amount of viscosity to it. Acidity was quite high and alcohol was at 14.2%. As for flavors, I found apple, citrus, grass, hot pepper, hints of warm spices and lanolin. Not a bad pick at all for my first glass back.
Well, folks, I have to ask your forgiveness for being away from this blog for so long.
What can I say? I ran into another bevy of challenges which have kept me from imbibing (and thus recording any tasting notes to post here) for the past seven months. It has been a tough haul for me, especially in that respect. Trust me, I kept asking if I could have a sip or two but to no avail. And wine wasn’t the only enjoyable thing I couldn’t consume. Obviously, it’s wise to follow your doctors’ orders, so I did.
Now, however, I have been officially released from the grips of prohibition. Yeeha! I’ll have to begin slowly, but I’m just so glad to be back.