Thanksgiving week: Wine with Jesse Becker, MS

22 Nov

I met Master Sommelier Jesse Becker when he was working at Omaha’s Boiler Room restaurant. Not only does he know his stuff — he’s got the rare and prestigious professional certification awarded by The Court of Master Sommeliers — he’s a super nice guy. Now he’s living in San Francisco, where he runs Périphérique Wine Merchants with his wife, Beth. Jesse will be back on the floor at the Boiler Room on the evening of New Year’s Eve.

I asked Jesse via Twitter to share his Thanksgiving wine recommendations with Omavore readers, and he went above and beyond.

Jesse’s main tip: “Keep it fresh, keep it light and not too boozy.”

He chose two routes: American wine, which makes sense for a truly American holiday, and what he calls “perfect pairings.”

His pick for an American white wine is the 2010 Matthiasson white, a blend of Sauvignon blanc, Ribolla gialla, Semillon, and Friulano. ($35, pictured at left.) Matthaisson is a small family winery just outside of Yountville, in Northern California. The wine, he says, is “just delicious.”

For an American red, Jesse chose Doug Nalle’s low-alcohol Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma, California. “Doug’s 2009 Nalle Zinfandel ($36) is just 13.6% alcohol and has refreshing acidity and lots of nice strawberry fruit,” Jesse said.

Jesse’s “perfect pairing” wines for Thanksgiving are matched with the traditional menu. He chose two with a little more fruit, he said, because they can handle lots of different foods.

His perfect pairing white is a German Reisling that’s low in alcohol and has just a bit of sweetness.  The 2009 Karthauserhof Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Kabinett ($23.99) is a crowd pleaser. “You can drink it all afternoon or evening,” he said. “It’s perfect for a long family meal, and its sweetness works with all the sweet dishes of a traditional Thansgiving meal including sweet potatoes and grandma’s Jell-O salad.”

For a perfect pairing red, Jesse likes Beaujolais. The 2010 Jean-Paul Brun Domaine des Terres Dorees Fleurie Beaujolais ($22.99, pictured at right) is another low alcohol wine with lots of crowd-pleasing fruit, he said. It’s what he’ll be drinking at his own Thanksgiving feast.

Images courtesy Matthiasson and


One Response to “Thanksgiving week: Wine with Jesse Becker, MS”

  1. JesseBeckerMS November 22, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    Nice post Sarah! Happy Thanksgiving and see you New Year’s Eve!

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