Gervasi red wines
Gervasi Pinot Noir or Zinfandel can be paired with turkey.
When the holidays roll around, I'm always being asked about food and wine pairings. That's because many of the traditional holiday staples fall notoriously outside the range of the usual rules. Yes, it's easy to see that the Christmas standing rib roast beef demands a strong, full-body red, but it's not so clear what goes well with the Thanksgiving turkey or the New Year's Day roast pork. Toss in the ever-increasing alternate entrees such as roast chicken, capon, duck, or venison, and you may be scratching your head over what to uncork.
Recently, I stopped by one of the most recent new additions to Ohio's quickly growing group of serious wineries, the Gervasi Vineyard & Italian Bistro in North Canton. What I quickly discovered in their “Marketplace” Shop was a rather wide range of solutions to this problem. With turkey day quickly approaching, I decided to try a couple of their bottlings which I think will pair well with roast foul.
Turkey is an unusual match because it is comprised of both white and dark meat; the makes the normal “white with white, red with red” rule impossible to apply. However, after a lot of years of experimenting, I've found that you should just forget the rules where this bird is concerned, and drink what you like. Generally, if I'm drinking white wine, I prefer drier, flintier versions such as true Chablis or Cotes du Rhone. For reds, I usually select spicier, lighter-bodied wines such as true Burgundy, Pinot Noir or California Zinfandel.
A word here about the winery. Gervasi is very new, having only planted its first vines in 2009, and opened for business in March of 2010. Needless to say, they haven't yet grown any grapes suitable for commercial winemaking, so they buy their fruit or juice from outside sources. For that reason, at the moment you're not really getting “Ohio” wines, but California or New York juice, or grapes from other regions, that are bottled and cellared in Canton.
Gervasi offers both an interesting Zinfandel blend and an Americanized version of Pinot Noir. Neither carried a vintage date, and both use proprietary names derived from Italian words, plus the grape variety, on the label. “Velluto” is their current Pinot Noir, a very dry yet fruity light to mid-body wine that I think will go perfectly with the white meat, either turkey or chicken. The wine has a lovely color, and is not overly acidic. The Zinfandel is called “Primitivo”, and is made from old vine grapes. Consequently, it is much darker in color and deeper in complexity and body. I would suggest this with turkey dark meat, game like venison or duck, and probably even with a good beef roast, although I think it would match better with a tenderloin roast than standing rib.
Both wines, and several other serious reds and whites, are available directly through the winery shop, which is open every day but Monday. Gervasi Vineyard & Italian Bistro is located at 1700 55th Street NE, just south of Walsh University and the new Glen Oak High School campus. Here is a link to their web site: