Drink Local This Thanksgiving

As Thanksgiving is just around the bend, we all have bird on the brain. Below are some of my favorite New York selections from my favorite producers of the Finger Lakes and Long Island who ascribe to all the quality-driven principles anyone could expect and who work with a drive and energy focused on making New York State great. Any would be a clever bottle to bring to a Thanksgiving Feast. Cheers!

Onabay Vineyards, Blanc de Blancs Brut

North Fork of Long Island

This wine has aromas of green apples, lemon verbena, and honey blossoms. On the palate, these aromas are joined by refreshing and mouth-filling Bosc pears and Fuji apples that lead to a crisp and refreshing finish. Made from 100% hand-picked Chardonnay grapes picked two to three weeks earlier than the Chardonnay grapes destined for still wines allows the wine to retain all of the nervous acidity and minerality made possible by the the Peconic Bay’s cool maritime climate. It is made in the traditional method, with a second fermentation taking place in the bottle and benefits from contact with the lees that allows the acidity of the wine to soften just enough to achieve an elegant balance. The very modest level of sugar in the dosage that is added back during disgorgement ensures that the wine remains crisp and refreshing on the palate. Onabay is an 18-year-old vineyard that is part of a larger, historic farm run by the Anderson Family.

Anthony Nappa “Bordo,” Cabernet Franc 2012

North Fork of Long Island

Named “Bordo,” after the traditional Italian name for Cabernet Franc, this medium-bodied wine is made in a rustic, Italian style. Clean-fruited and fermented wild, with a nose that reminds one of Bourgeuil, this charmer shows raspberries, licorice, graphite, and summer garden herbs on the nose and palate. Serve cool, with heavily-herbed turkey and charred greens.

Channing Daughters “Mosaico” 2010

South Fork of Long Island

A rare treasure from the South Fork. Decant and serve this white (almost orange) wine with savory squash, toasted nuts, and richly-sauced turkey. From local Long Island vineyards, Mosaico, a field blend of six different grapes, has lovely flavors of citrus fruits and melon. Great mineral notes add interest, while a balanced acidity and a spice-tinged finish round things out.

Shinn Estate Red NV

North Fork, Long Island

This red quaffing wine shows delicious North Fork fruit characteristics. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah, it has bright red fruit and refreshing acidity, with flavors of red cherries, licorice and telltale graphite minerality. It has soft tannins, making this red smooth, soft, refreshing, and elegant. An easy choice for roast turkey and savory sides.

Eminence Road “Elizabeth’s Vineyard” Cabernet Franc 2011

Finger Lakes

From the only natural producer in the Finger Lakes, this Cabernet Franc is a stand-out. Earthy, foresty, floral, and even a little funky on the nose, air helps the wine open to a charming, stony, red-fruited wine. More delicate and appropriate to the cooler climate of upstate New York, this wine is ideal for sliced meats, stinky cheeses, and poultry. It is recommended to decant for an hour or two. The vines for this wine are 15-years-old on average; Elizabeth’s vineyard is located on the east side of Seneca Lake, a warmer slope for the Finger Lakes. A great selection for charred Brussels sprouts and a turkey with a darker, well-herbed sauce.

Red Newt “Tango Oaks” Riesling 2011

Cayuga Lake, Finger Lakes

Tango Oaks Vineyard is located less than one half mile from Red Newt Cellars on Cayuga Lake. The first crop hails from a recent vineyard planting on a fruit growing site that dates back centuries. This off-dry Riesling is racy and bright, with aromas of citrus and orange blossom on the nose, and a perfectly-balanced palate, with hints of nectarine and quince. The vibrant interplay of sweetness and acidity creates an intriguing wine to pair with sweeter sides, like sweet potatoes (sans marshmallows), or roasted butternut squash.

Ravines Cellars Dry Riesling 2012

Keuka Lake, Finger Lakes

The tell-tale Finger Lakes acidity and crunchy minerals are bounteous with this zippy offering from long-standing Ravines Cellars, located on the slopes of the eastern shore of Keuka Lake. Tart green apple is the dominant flavor, with Asian spice notes rounding the end. For a lighter, stuffed turkey breast, and classic stuffing and sausages.

Bellwether “Sawmill Creek” Pinot Noir 2011

Finger Lakes

A light-bodied, paler Pinot Noir crafted with inspiration; it was fermented with 1/4th whole cluster fruit, yielding an earthy back note to a red-fruited palate. Strawberry and cranberry dominate. A silky texture and balanced elements provide a good base for a pairing with roast goose, turkey, or even salmon. The winery is a new venture of Kris Matthewson, assistant winemaker at Atwater Estate Vineyards and husband of Caitlin Matthewson, whose family owns Bellwether Cidery.

Fox Run Gewurztraminer 2012

Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes

Not for the faint of heart, this wine has a perfume that virtually leaps from the glass. Look for aromas evoking rose petals, exotic spices, and tropical fruits. This wine is particularly rich and mouth-coating. Serve well-chilled and another more exotic choice for sweeter sides and an apple cider glazed turkey, perhaps.

Anthony Road Pinot Noir 2011

Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes

Johannes Reinhardt, a German native, remains perhaps the most meticulous winemakers in the Finger Lakes region; the Pinot Noir is only made in the best of years. This is a fine Pinot Noir coming from the cool Finger Lakes. This bottling is rounded, fleshy, and fine. Mixed black and red berried fruit combine on a broad-stroked palate layered with proper acidity. Versatile at the table, try with baked fish or roast turkey. This is a classic.

Red Tail Ridge Winery Blaufränkisch 2010

Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes

Gaining popularity among New York winemakers, the vigorous, dark-skinned Blaufränkisch has really found its footing along the slopes of the Finger Lakes. Purple and blueberry aromas jump from the glass, rounded by black pepper spice on the palate, with hints of clove and black berries on the end. T