December 2007                              


Wines of the month - Paul DeRose

Wines for the Birds

While sitting here rolling over what topic I might write about this month, I couldn’t help but think about wines that go with turkey, since I wrote this just days before Thanksgiving. On second thought, it may not be too late to generalize the discussion and talk about wines that go with birds, since turkey, goose, chicken, game hen, duck and even pheasant, if you want to get a little more exotic, are traditional holiday choices. Since a variety of side dishes often accompany the bird, I have tried to recommend wines that are not only good with birds, but also go well with the fixin’s. The characteristics of such wines are fruit forward with crisp acidity (think green apples or cranberries) and enough body to stand up to a cornucopia of flavors while still being quaffable (not too heavy). This corresponds to grape varieties, such as Gewurztraminer, Riesling or Chenin Blanc in whites and Beaujolais (Gamay grape), Pinot Noir, Zinfandel or Syrah/Shiraz in reds.

Listed below are some reasonably priced recommendations, at least a few of which I intend to drink myself over the upcoming holidays. Tasting notes for some of these can be found at Please send comments or questions to


Trimbach Gewurztraminer (Alsace) $ 16 *

Kanu Chenin Blanc (South Africa) $ 10 *

Bollig Lehnert Piesporter Goldtropfchen Kabinett (Germany) $ 18 *


2005 Morgon (Beaujolais, any producer will do) $ 12-20 *

A to Z Pinot Noir (Oregon) $ 20 *

Sebastiani Pinot Noir (Sonoma) $ 16 *

Red Bicyclette Syrah (France) $ 10 *

Columbia Crest Grand Estates Syrah (Washington) $ 10 *

* indicates available in Montgomery County