The wine: 2014 Juliénas “Vieilles Vignes” by Domaine Lassagne
The place: Sunshine Foods – Saint Helena, Napa Valley
The price: $32.00
Thanksgiving can be one of the most difficult events to pair with a wine – there are so many different flavors and textures, and the heaping portions leave you sleepy and stuffed. The challenge is to find a wine that is not too overpowering or bold, which pretty much eliminates most California Cabernet Sauvignons. Then you have Pinot Noir, one which many Napa Valley tasting rooms like to boast is the “perfect Thanksgiving wine.” While Pinot is a solid choice for this meal, there is an even better underdog on the scene – Beaujolais. I’m not talking about Beaujolais Nouveau – I mean the true, thousand-year old classically produced Gamay grape that makes the Beaujolais region such a gem of the wine world. When done right, this grape produces a well-balanced, light, and fruity wine with truly velvety tannins that lift you up while gorging on turkey and potatoes instead of bringing you down to the couch (or floor).
The wine I chose for this Thanksgiving was from Juliénas, one of the 10 Beaujolais crus. It was by Domaine Lassagne from “old vines” of the 2014 vintage. This wine was the archetypal Beaujolais – very fruit forward which complemented the cranberry sauce perfectly. It nearly melted the turkey in my mouth, and had the perfect light texture to complement the entire meal which included: turkey, potatoes au gratin, sweet potato casserole, bacon-wrapped Brussels sprouts, steamed green beans, sautéed red cabbage, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. Aesthetically, this wine was easy on the eyes with a tastefully designed label (I love a label with a pop of color) that caught my attention on the shelf. In addition, this wine was decently affordable for being imported from the Beaujolais region itself. This was my first Gamay purchase in the states and it will definitely not be my last!