Share your love, but not your cellar (Annette’s Thanksgiving advice)

Anyone who is a wine lover usually learns early in life that Thanksgiving is not a time to share your cellar’s treasures. Oh sure, these are the friends and family, that you would donate your kidneys to, but let’s say you’ve selected one of your slumbering babies, carefully cradled it to the table,  announce the arrival of a very special addition to the feast as you carefully ease  the cork from the bottle. You pour yourself a taste, delighted that it’s superb, you pour it for your guests, only to realize you are alone in appreciation. Your sister claps a hand over her glass reminding you she is in training, your auntie tastes it and screws up her mouth declaring it “too sour” for her tastes,  mom tries to be supportive sipping carefully and nodding but when you aren’t looking refills her glass with Vodka.  Dad says “how can you afford fancy wines like this?” and your uncle says “this is like the one we had the Olive Garden last week – what was the name of that honey?”  Then there’s greedy cousin “hollow-leg” who fills his glass to the rim with your cellar nectar only because he’d never buy such an extravagant bottle for himself.   Oh yes, ’tis much better to keep your special bottle under wraps in the kitchen and supply your guests with  wines that conjure zero regret when you carry the bottles to the recycling bin.

Keeping wine gems tucked away assures you will not offend, and will keep your family relations in good form. Although I must say it was relief that I would never have to bring great wine to my in-laws celebrations.  Young and naïve, I thought everyone would have the same experience I did with wine. At 23 years old, I had discovered Burgundy.   It was such a revelation that so much character and flavor could be delivered in a paler, softer form.   I had exposed everyone who was not in the know!  I bought a bottle of 1978 Tollot-Beau Aloxe-Corton and brought it to my in-laws house. I poured everyone at the table waiting to see their amazed and surprised look as they tasted this wonderful wine.   My sister-in-law grimaced as she tasted it and then asked what all the fuss was about.  I quickly relieved her of drinking one more drop of this toxic elixir by pouring her wine into my glass.  I refilled her glass with Inglenook Rhine wine, fresh from the tap while she blotted Pinot Noir remnants from her tongue with her napkin.  She was saved from further punishment while I swilled and swooned.  I was never forgiven.

So what will I offer my loved ones at Thanksgiving this year? After all these years of conditioning my family, their favorite drink is Champagne.    I try to slip them good Cava and Prosecco during these recessionary times. They are definitely on to me.  They are willing to be duped if it’s Adami Prosecco as its fine bead and quaffability goes with almost any hors d’ouevre you can throw at it.  Since we usually have a sweeter Thanksgiving table (no brussel sprouts or wild rice) Gewurztraminer is a demanded favorite.  Last year’s Zind Humbrecht was a huge hit so I will be trying to hit that same level of distinctive fruit.  I love the lime leaf aroma and granny smith fruit of the Loosen Blue Slate. Red wine is a must for Brother-in-law Paul, so Pinot Noir will be on the table, this year Morin Chitry Rouge. Zinfandel used to be a great Thanksgiving choice but due to the evolution away from juicy and simple, to big, alcoholic and wooded, I haven’t had one on the table in a few years.  Seghesio would likely be the choice if I did decide to have Zinfandel.