Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and my thoughts turn toward wine and what to pair with what we will eat. While I find the science of wine fascinating, it is no secret that I also look to wine as a muse. Wine can bring us together, whether in sharing its mysteries or collaborating in discovery.
I sought suggestions for holiday wines from several women I deeply respect, friends and colleagues alike, running some very special retail wine programs on the North Shore. They have a similar affinity for wine—appreciating the science and technique while being drawn to the secrets wine keeps, the discoveries, the stories, the labors of love.
When it comes to pairing wine with food, it can help to look to the weight of the dish, the acidity, the richness; is it salty, or sweet? Seek balance. A delicate dish prefers a delicate wine, and a rich dish calls for a wine with gusto, which implies not necessarily heaviness, but also tannin and acid. Above all else, experiment, explore, enjoy—and without doubt, a visit to any of these shops will fill you with a bit of our passion, and is sure to delight your palate.
Lucille Wine Shop and Tasting Room
Vigneau-Cheveau, sparkling Chenin Blanc, $26
At Lucille Wine Shop and Tasting Room in Lynn, owner Sarah Marshall has France on her mind with Vigneau-Cheveau’s sparkling Chenin Blanc from Vouvray in the Loire Valley. It has well-integrated acidity and a long-lasting effervescence, and with a touch of citrus and honey, it is simply divine.
The Cheese Shop of Salem
Les Vignerons d’Estézargues, Côtes du Rhône, $19
At The Cheese Shop of Salem, wine director Susan Ulbrich selected a white, aromatic blend of Grenache, Viognier, and Roussanne from Les Vignerons d’Estézargues in France’s Côtes du Rhône region. Refined and perfumed, it is both floral and fruity, with bright minerality and well-balanced acidity.
Cantina della Volta, Rosato Lambrusco, $36
Samanta Ettore, owner of Wine••Sense in Andover, suggests a sparkling rosé from Italy. Cantina della Volta’s rosato Lambrusco, made with the grape Lambrusco di Sorbara, is a pink-hued beauty, both dry and fruity, rustic and elegant, with texture and a solid backbone.
Lighthouse Fine Wine and Spirits
Denavolo, Dinavolino Vino Blanco, $25
In Beverly, Katrina Sullivan is in charge of fine wines at Lighthouse Wine and Spirits. She proposes an orange wine (whose color comes from extra skin contact during grape fermentation) made with white varietals Trebbiano and Malvasia from Italian producer La Stoppa in Emilia-Romagna. Bold, with grace, it behaves like a red.
Helen's Bottle Shop
Matthias Warnung, Feldstück, $22
Owner Alexis Harwood of Helen’s Bottle Shop in Manchester brings Austrian Chardonnay to the table from Matthias Warnung in the Niederösterreich region. Meticulously crafted, this is a wine of depth and intrigue, with all the weight expected from a Chardonnay—rich, but aged without excessive oak.
Ashbourne, Pinotage/Cinsault, $18
Kathleen Erickson, owner of Savour in Gloucester, takes us to the Western Cape in South Africa, where a unique blend of two historical varietals, Pinotage and Cinsault, from Hamilton Russell, brings lush aromatics, a touch of spice, and well-integrated tannins to a wine with beautiful fruit.
Sea and Cellar
Folk Machine, Pinot Noir, $23
Lindsay Porter opened the tiny and charming Sea and Cellar this summer at Dock Square in Rockport with her husband, John, whose family owns the restaurant Roy Moore’s next door. She suggests Folk Machine’s Pinot Noir from the Central Coast of California, which boosts silky tannins, soft fruit, and savory acidity, alongside a lovely perfume.
Seaview Farm and Farmstand
Sybille Kuntz, Riesling, $26
Finally, Seaview Farm and Farmstand, also in Rockport, just a half mile out of town, opened their wine room as part of the farmstand this summer, too, and hired me as their wine curator. I would put a Riesling from Sybille Kuntz in Germany’s Mosel region on the holiday table any day. Dry, with great acidity, it also has the kind of peripatetic sweetness that teases and tempts, and keeps you coming back for more.