Family members and friends gathered around a table of turkey and its trimmings will be pleased with the 2008 Hogue Cellars Riesling.
Thanksgiving, our only holiday devoted to eating, generates more wine questions than any other day of the year. Fourth of July barbecue is easy — uncork a red wine. Memorial Day Shore dinner is a cinch — open a white.
The rainbow of flavors from the Thanksgiving Day menu of stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, green vegetables, carrots and turkey with gravy has some people reaching for red wines like zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and pinot noir, or whites like chardonnay and gewürztraminer. Yet all are too big for the menu. Riesling is a much better partner, and since this is an American holiday, the tasty, good-value Hogue Cellars will satisfy everyone and your budget, too.
Hogue Cellars is one of Washington State’s best value wineries. The Hogue family began as hop farmers in the Yakima Valley during World War II and expanded to vegetables and grapes in the ensuing decades. In 1979, 35-year old Mike Hogue planted six acres of riesling; three years later, he asked his older brother, Gary, to join him and his mother, Shyla, at a food fair where they made their first wine sales of $800, using a shoe box for the cash register. Today, Hogue Cellars produces more than 650,000 a year.
In August, I visited Hogue Cellars and spent a few days in the vineyards and tasting Hogue’s wines with Co Dinn, Hogue’s director of winemaking. Even though it was summer, Hogue’s Riesling made me think of fall’s food fair, the Thanksgiving Day table.
The delightful blend of floral, orange zest and citrus aromas in the 2008 Hogue Riesling sets the sensory stage for the multiple flavors of the holiday menu. Turkey’s subtleness is enhanced with lemon, lime and peach flavors of the wine, and the orange tang mixes well with the cranberry sauce and vegetables. Its clean acidity, pure fruit flavors and mild alcohol bring a counterbalance of lightness to the feeling of heaviness as the dinner progresses.
Along with the ménage of flavors, Thanksgiving Day can invites an array of palates to the table. The 2008 Hogue Riesling’s off-dry character will please those who like a touch of sweetness without being cloying or wine drinkers whose preference is dryness. Slicing these palate preferences is something the 2008 Hogue Riesling does as well as a skilled chef carving the turkey.
And the attractions extend to the price, allowing for extra bottles at the table and with the leftovers, too.
The 2008 Hogue Riesling retails for approximately $14.