Turkey Day Advice, The Big O and Sauternes

Turkey Day Advice, The Big O and Sauternes


This week we need wines that pair with turkey and relatives we may or may not like. There are many familiar choices including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Grenache. Rosé is also a good choice, since I live in Southern California. The above line-up is from Beckman, one of my favorite producers in the Santa Ynez Valley. Great winery.

So, what pairs with turkey? The answer is not so clear-cut. While Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are safe choices, it’s really about your [and your guests] palette. Make sure you bring out wines that are low in acid and high in fruit. No heavy tannins please. I would like to say that Grenache, both red and white, is your friend and this is a great chance to discover this grape. And ask your local wine shop to point you to BEAUJOLAIS CRU wines. I try to have a few adventurous bottles and a few old favorites. That way, if the new stuff flops, we have backup! If you are entertaining, make sure that you have plenty of water available for guests. If you are a guest, make sure you bring a bottle that you would like to receive.

That’s all. Let’s look at a few wines that might make you happy.

Beckman Estate Grenache, Santa Ynez Valley, California


Pali Huntington Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County, California. The 2012 was just named Top 100 by a big-time magazine. I like it anyway. About $20 and available in a lot of places. PUT THAT LA CREMA DOWN!


Jaffurs Grenache Blanc, Thompson Vineyard, Santa Barbara County [L]

Gérard Bertrand Cote des Roses, Languedoc, Sud de France [R]
{Seriously, I am bringing this Rosé to everyone’s house for Thanksgiving. Fair Warning}


The Big O*

Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988), also known by the nickname the Big O, was an American singer-songwriter, best known for his trademark sunglasses, distinctive, powerful voice, complex compositions, and dark emotional ballads.
That was a nice intro. But there is more. Roy Orbison never gets old. Seriously. I was born 40 years and 70 miles away from Roy Orbison. His music was in my life from the very beginning. When I rediscovered him as an adult I was always in awe of his understated style and powerful voice. Here is a small sample for you to enjoy. I hope you all buy some Roy this week! Why Roy? Why not? I am planning an “Evening with Roy and Red Wine” event. Wines that are full of understated power and finesse. And a voice that can make even the hardest man cry.



Best place to be this holiday season:

Does it ever get old? Not to me. I am a unabashed Getty lover. Some of the world’s finest art and artifacts are here. I have seen a Van Gogh with my own eyes and learned all about the Post-War Modern Art movement of Japan. I have seen 200 year old bedroom sets, Baroque rooms the size of gymnasiums and 1000 year-old bibles. But the building itself might be the single greatest accomplishment in terms of modern architecture and preservation of the arts. Here are a few shots taken by your truly. An icon of the modern art world. I hope you get a chance to go. IT’S FREE, you only pay for parking. Bring as picnic or get lunch there. Bring your cameras [NO FLASH IN THE BUILDING!] and some soft shoes. See you there.

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The noble wines of SAUTERNES

OK, enough with the culture. Let’s talk about Sauternes. Here is a quick refresher on the wine area known as Sauternes. The noble dessert wine of Bordeaux, Sauternes starts out bright yellow and turns into a copper-colored wine later in life. The grape used is called Semillon, with a bit of Sauvignon Blanc in the mix, and they achieve great concentration because of Noble Rot. Click the link for more info. These were older vintages and they were cellared properly. I have been blessed by the wine gods to be able to taste these wines and talk about them. I truly enjoyed them. I know what you are thinking: “Pics or GTFO!”.  Very well then.

1970 Rieussec, with proper cake.
Well, this wine was amazing. Fresh and soft, we felt it tasted very young. The balance between alcohol, sugars, acid and body is a feat unto itself.

1976 Chateáteau d’Yquem. Forgive me for the mediocre quality of the photos. My hands are shaking from opening it! This was one of the best wines I have ever had the pleasure of sipping. A true experience of flavor, tradition and enjoyment. I said to myself “I didn’t know it could be like this!” IMG-20141109-01412

Yes, yes…Let me add a B&W photo so you can see the awesome color. WineJerk fail.IMG-20141109-01417

That’s all for now. Be excellent to each other. I leave you with a cute dog picture. Say hi to Spotty Pippen!

[*Not to be confused with Oscar Robertson]