When it comes to planning Thanksgiving Day dinner, Americans know what side dishes and desserts will accompany their turkey feasts. Sweet potatoes. Stuffing. Pumpkin pie. But when it comes to selecting the perfect wine to complement their festive meal, the choice can be more complicated.
Wines from the Bucelas region in Portugal are a great option for those looking to satisfy a wide range of wine drinkers. The medium-bodied whites have a light, fruity flavor with lemon overtones that goes well with both turkey and a variety of vegetable dishes. The reds, which range from dark and fruity to young and rich, are known for being lighter in body and easy to drink. Whether serving a Bucelas red, white or both, a Thanksgiving host can be assured they will have a wine to satisfy a variety of tastes and palates.
The Bucelas lies just north of Lisbon along the Tejo River and is part of Portugal’s Lisbon wine region. Cool air from the Atlantic travels up the river and into the valley surrounding Bucelas, tempering the climate. The mountains provide protection from dampening fog while concentrating the summer heat, helping the grapes grow to their fullest flavor potential.
The region has earned the highest wine classification as a Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC), and is noted for its cool fermentation white wine production. The quality and characteristics of Bucelas wines were officially established in 1908, but the region has had an international reputation for centuries. Shakespeare praised the merits of Bucelas as early as 1594 and the Duke of Wellington was so pleased with the region’s wines that he sent a bottle to England’s King George III.
Known as the prince of Portuguese white wines, this dry white is primarily made from the crisply-flavored Arinto grape. As they age, Bucelas whites take on a deep golden hue and mature into a wine with overtones of wood and fruit. These well-rounded, dry wines have long been served with traditional Portuguese dishes and are used to make top-quality sparkling wines.
While known for its excellent whites, Bucelas also produces a wide variety of red wines. Some are dark and full of tannins with hints of fruits like black cherry. Others are young, light-bodied and easy to drink.
Some popular Bucelas wines that can be found in the United States include the Quinta da Romeira Arinto Bucelas 2005, which sells for about $16, and the Companhia Das Quintas Branco Morgado de Sta Catherina 2004, which can be found at about $15 a bottle.