White wines to welcome the merrymaking season

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For Digital First Media

You may have noticed my absence the past couple of weeks. That’s due to my travels on the Left Coast recording 3 upcoming TuneIn Radio shows from Redding, located 250 miles north of San Francisco to the Central Coast, which is midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
And, in upcoming columns, you’ll hear about the wineries I visited along with the usual photo of yours truly with my radio guests. Many of the photos you see are “selfies” so what better way to begin a holiday wine column than by slipping into my gadget geek mode and telling you about the brilliant Vivitar 40” Smartphone Selfie Monopod with Bluetooth Enabled Remote. It extends to 40 inches, has a Bluetooth button which is not attached to the handle for easier snapping and is available for $14.99 (amazon.com). I love it because it’s far cheaper than hiring a photographer or bringing my wife along (although she did accompany me to California).
OK, so those winter festivities are sneaking up on us which means Silverstone to the rescue with the appropriate libations to take us from Turkey Day to Ball Dropping night. This week and next I’ll focus on wines suited to Thanksgiving, although, as you already know, I’m not convinced that you need a specific wine for a particular food. I’ve been banging on for years about how subjective that marriage can be. All of the wines I will list really do rock!
This week I’ll focus on the white wines.
Bellenda Prosecco San Fermo DOCG (approximately $19.99) will kick start any festive occasion with its spirited and enticing effervescence. My old chum Granny Smith pops out in the flavor with other yummy summer fruits in this Italian charmer. An ideal guest greeter regardless of their taste in wine.
Two splendid white wines from South Africa magically appeared in my glass this past month and both are from old vines, which produce more character and complexity than the younger plantings.
Raats Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2013, Stellenbosch (approximately $24.99). The vines used for this wine from the Stellenbosch region are reaching their half century and it shows in the juice they produce. The under-hyped Chenin Blanc is full of fresh fruit flavors but with a full mouth feel from some barrel aging and the magic from those aged vines. A rare gem indeed from this grape variety and an experience you shouldn’t miss.
Simonsig Avec Chene Chenin Blanc 2013, Stellenbosch (approximately $34.99). These vineyards are 30 years old. My co-host on my show, Jill Weber, would no doubt rave about this wine’s minerality whereas I am more focused on raisin and pear notes which were so obvious from the first sip. Yes, it’s pricey for a Chenin but given the age of the vines and the limited number of bottles produced, don’t be a humbug and end the year with one heck of a white wine.
If you really want to impress your friends you can pour them two wines from Macedonia. This week a white wine.
One of my favorite white wine grapes from the Finger Lakes in New York state is the Rkatsiteli. It originally grew in Georgia, the one that was formerly a Soviet controlled nation. And what a pleasure to discover a version made in Macedonia. Stobi Rkaciteli 2014 (approximately $18) is a wonderful alternative to Pinot Gris (or Pinot Grigio) as it is a light white wine aged in stainless steel to keep the fresh fruit flavors in tact, and, in this case, they have a refreshing lemony flavor with a very attractive clean and inviting taste, ideal for sipping while mingling prior to dinner time.
Next week I’ll share my choice of reds with you, along with a superb snack and an after dinner game.

Scott Seaton, left, director and conductor of North State Symphony Orchestra, is featured in Phillip Silverston’e TuneIn Radio podcast series. Photo by Linda Silverstone

Scott Seaton, left, director and conductor of North State Symphony Orchestra, is featured in Phillip Silverston’e TuneIn Radio podcast series.
Photo by Linda Silverstone

Phillip Silverstone’s column appears each week in this publication. “Time Out With Phillip Silverstone” is a weekly podcast heard on TuneIn Radio anytime and anywhere worldwide either on the free TuneIn app for all smart phones and tablets (Search: Phillip Silverstone) or online at: http://bit.ly/1gY2Ht4 “Follow” the show for weekly updates. You can also LIKE Phillip on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Phillipsilverstone and follow him on Twitter: @wining


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