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Pairing wine with the Thanksgiving meal should be a question on the Master Sommelier exam. The usual feast has so many elements and so many of them are sweet and/or tart, it is notoriously difficult for wine pairings. Really, there is no one wine that will go with your aunt Rita’s sweet potato casserole, your uncle Howie’s sausage and oyster stuffing and the experimental elBulli-inspired side dish your cousin Elena insists on bringing.

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OK, you could just throw up your hands and serve just one wine throughout the meal, whether from a box or a magnum. You could set up a bar with a dozen bottles so guests can pick and choose. Or you can do something in between, i.e., pick one or two whites and at least one red and let the wines duke it out with the flavors on your plate.  That’s my usual plan.

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Depending on how many people you’re having for the Thanksgiving feast, better buy at least two bottles  of each wine. I don’t know about your family, but the members of my tribe aren’t at all shy about pouring themselves more wine. Since this is not a one-hour meal but more of an all-day event, plan accordingly. And if you’re really worried about the wine matches, do a test run to make sure the bottles fit the flavor profile you have in mind.

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Leaving grapes to freeze on the vine seems like a recipe for stone cold failure. But under the right conditions, the grapes that come in from the (extreme) cold can produce delicious dessert wines that are a cool favorite for holiday pairings.

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What to call it? It depends on where you are. It's called eiswein in Austria and Germany, where it began; icewine, one word, in Canada, where it's become something of a signature wine; and ice wine, two words, in the United States, where vintners in New York state and few other regions are experimenting with the hard-to-make, easy-to-drink product.

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Whatever you call it, interest in the wine is heating up as producers experiment with new grapes and new winemaking styles — how about some sparkling ice wine with those gingerbread men? "The icewine category in Canada is continuing to evolve with new and innovative products entering the market each vintage," says Franco Timpano, director of marketing for Inniskillin, a leading producer of ice wine, selling roughly 5,000 9-liter cases annually in Canada and about the same amount in the United States. "We're seeing icewines made from varieties that we haven't typically seen." Typically, ice wines are made from riesling and cabernet franc, as well as Vidal, a winter-hardy French-American white hybrid grape developed by Jean Louis Vidal in the 1930s. But lately, Timpano's been seeing ice wines made from merlot, sauvignon blanc and cabernet sauvignon. Inniskillin has made a sparkling Vidal icewine and this year came out with a sparkling cabernet franc icewine available mostly in Canada and at duty-free stores.

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These releases reflect the views of the issuing entity and are not reviewed or edited by the Sacramento Bee staff. More information on PR Newswire can be found on their web site . You can contact the service with questions or concerns here .

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MONTEREY, Calif., Nov. 19, 2013 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Chalone Vineyard® announces the first commercial release in more than a decade of its popular Gavilan wine brand. The new Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, both from the superb 2012 vintage, are available at fine restaurants and wine shops around the country.

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According to Winemaker Robert Cook, "Long-time fans of Chalone Vineyard will be excited to see the reincarnation of our Gavilan label. These new wines are sourced entirely from the Chalone AVA with all of the fruit for the 2012s coming from our Chalone Vineyard Estate. The cornerstone of the 2012s is our Vista block which was planted to Dijon and Pommard clones back in 1998, 1999 and 2000. It produces wines that are forward, accessible and delicious." The brand takes its name from its location in the Gavilan Mountains, which run along the eastern border of Monterey County. The range contains several peaks over 3,000 feet and is home to Pinnacles National Park.  Chalone Vineyard is one of the most remarkable winery properties in not just Monterey County, but all of California. The land was first planted in 1919 and production under the Chalone Vineyard label began in 1960.

Wine To India



If you stress over finding the right wine to serve with a meal, Thanksgiving dinner is probably a nightmare. The roast turkey is the easy part -- just about any wine of sufficient weight will do the job. It's the side dishes -- a plethora of sweet, tart and savory flavors -- that get tricky.

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After years of trial and error, I've reached three conclusions. First, there's no point in getting stressed; there is no perfect pairing. Second, the best choice is a red wine with ample fruit that's not too oaky or high in alcohol. (You don't want to nod off at the table, do you?) And the third is that the most successful, food-friendly reds are pinot noir and wines made from Rhone grapes, such as syrah, grenache, mourvedre or a blend. Since Thanksgiving is an all-American holiday, I usually choose something domestic. (If you favor white wine, go with your favorite, but have some reds on hand for others.) If you're serving a crowd, especially folks who aren't terribly wine-savvy, you probably don't want to break out a bunch of bottles that cost $50 -- or even $25. But if it's a more intimate gathering, you might consider stretching the budget. So here are my recommendations for good buys ($20 or less), more expensive bottles ($21-$40) and splurges.

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Pinot noir Good buys: The 2012 SeaGlass Pinot Noir ($10), an amazing value from Santa Barbara County, offers pretty cherry and raspberry flavors and some spicy notes. The 2011 Francis Coppola "Silver Label" Pinot Noir ($18) is more structured, with ample fruit.

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A customer samples a glass of wine at Oinoscent wine bar in central Athens October 30, 2013.

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Winemakers are luring health-conscious, weight-watching consumers to shops with low-calorie wines that are 100 calories or less per glass.

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U.S. television talk show host Bethenny Frankel recently launched a line of eight wines ranging from Prosecco to a red blend under her SkinnyGirl brand. The wines are marketed as having just 100 calories for a 5-ounce (148 ml) serving and sell for $15.

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