With Thanksgiving right around the corner, this month’s turkey recipe offers a different, and delicious, take on the bird that we all love to share at this time of year. The brining, stuffing and prosciutto treatments to a turkey breast are all interesting enhancements which will all be improved when paired with the right wine. All of the different flavors in this dish require a versatile wine which can highlight the food without overpowering it. Grenache is just such a wine.
Grenache is a medium bodied red wine which typically exhibits nice fruit, restrained spice and herbal notes and moderate tannins and acid with medium to high alcohol. The fruit flavors and aromas in the wine, which often trend toward ripe red berries, go very well with the cranberries and orange zest in the dish. The moderate spice and herbs perceptible in Grenache match well with the pepper, garlic, herbs and olives while the acid and tannins stand up nicely to the richness from the gravy and the meats. I especially like the moistness of the properly brined turkey breast contrasted by the crispiness of the prosciutto draped in the velvety cloak of the gravy, and then all pulled together by the moderate texture and depth of this wine.
Grenache is successfully grown in many regions globally and it thrives in areas with plenty of heat such as Spain, Southern France, Southern Italy, Australia and certain parts of Napa and Sonoma Counties. South America is producing an increasing amount of the grapes, which typically go by their Spanish name there, which is “Garnacha.” This grape’s versatility makes it excellent for blending and some wonderfully complex wines that include Grenache can be found around the world. A widely recognized blend here in the states is some form of the traditional “GSM” grapes, modeled after the wines of the Rhone region of France. “GSM” refers to Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, three grape varietals which complement each other exceptionally well, and which would also pair very nicely with this month’s recipe.
In this season of giving thanks, grab a couple bottles of wine, gather your family and friends around a meal, and raise a toast to all that we have to be grateful for. Cheers!
Jeff James is the founder and co-owner, with his wife Judy, of Stony Point Vineyard and James Family Cellars. Their Cotati vineyard and winery have consistently produced award-winning wines. Jeff can be reached at info@JamesFamilyCellars.com or www.JamesFamilyCellars.com