Saturday, November 18, 2006

Boxed Wine at Turkey Training Camp

The San Francisco Chronicle has always been marvelously open to including boxed wines in it's food and wine pages. Yesterday Stacy Finz included a box, the 2005 Black Box Wines Monterey County Chardonnay, among six wines chosen by the Chronicle's wine writer, W. Blake Gray for sampling at the SF Chronicle's Turkey Training Camp. The five Chronicle readers who participated in the camp favored the Riesling, and were apparently underwhelmed by the Black Box Chard.

Riesling wins trainees' favor
Stacy Finz, Chronicle Staff Writer

. . .
We figured that while we had them here, we'd use them as guinea pigs to test wine that our expert W. Blake Gray chose to pair with our menu of turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, vegetables and cranberry sauce.

With all those textures and flavors, finding the right wine is not easy. So Gray chose six:
  • 2005 Chateau Ste. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica Columbia Valley Riesling ($20)
  • 2004 Castle Rock Lake County Sauvignon Blanc ($10)
  • 2005 Black Box Wines Monterey County Chardonnay ($22 for a 3-liter box)
  • NV Gallo Family Vineyards Twin Valley California White Zinfandel ($5)
  • 2004 Frog's Leap Napa Valley Zinfandel ($25)
  • NV Fox Creek Vixen McLaren Vale Sparkling Shiraz ($20)
He selected wines he thought would most complement the food, but were still affordable enough for entertaining large crowds. He chose the Riesling and White Zin because their sweetness balances well with Thanksgiving fare, the Sauvignon Blanc because it goes well with green vegetables, and the Chardonnay because of its value. The Zinfandel was a symbolic choice -- America's traditional holiday deserves the grape that's most associated with the United States. The sparkling Shiraz is both a fun wine and a great Thanksgiving pairing, and Aussies drink it with their turkey.

Gray suggests serving a few different varietals at dinner so there is something for everyone.

As members of our training camp sampled the meal they had slaved over, they swirled and sipped the wines. We didn't tell them what they were drinking, hid the boxed wine and disguised the bottles in brown paper bags.

Unequivocally they picked the Riesling as their top choice.

. . .

And no one seemed too impressed with the boxed Chardonnay. But at that price they may rethink it.

TURKEY TRAINING CAMP / Riesling wins trainees' favor

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