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Merlot Masters The Thanksgiving Wine Challenge

KENWOOD (SONOMA VALLEY), Calif., Nov. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Thanksgiving is almost here and with it the challenge of selecting a wine to go with the Thanksgiving feast. So what red wine will complement the turkey, the stuffing, the cranberry sauce and the other traditional Thanksgiving dishes? The surprising answer is Merlot.

Merlot's character and style pair deliciously with most Thanksgiving dishes. Generous fruit and modest structure enable Merlot to match the flavor of the turkey without overwhelming it, as powerful reds like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah do, or being overwhelmed by it, as often happens with delicate reds like Pinot Noir. The fresh, ripe raspberry and black cherry fruit of Merlot echoes cranberry sauce's bright fruit, and the smooth style of Merlot works well with both turkey stuffing and Thanksgiving side dishes.

Sonoma County produces outstanding Merlots and Kenwood Vineyards Merlots combine Sonoma County quality, fine value and ready availability. The Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Merlot's forward fruit and polished texture make it ideal for Thanksgiving. For those who prefer a Merlot with a bit more concentration and structure, the Kenwood Vineyards Jack London Vineyard Merlot – from the famed author's Beauty Ranch overlooking Sonoma Valley – would be a tasty Thanksgiving choice.

As one would expect of a winery with wines worthy of Thanksgiving, Kenwood Vineyards also knows about Thanksgiving foods. Kenwood Vineyards Chef Robin Lehnhoff-McCray suggests this flavorful Thanksgiving side dish to accompany the turkey.

Sweet Potatoes and Maple Rosemary Pecans
(Serves 6-8)

2/3 cup roughly chopped pecans
3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large diced pieces
salt and pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 Tbs. maple syrup
1 Tbs. fresh rosemary leaves
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

Heat oven to 450 degrees F. and place rack at mid level. While oven heats, place pecans on a baking dish and toast them until they smell nutty and are slightly darker – approximately 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper and toss to coat. Roast in oven until golden brown and tender when pierced with a knife – approximately 40-45 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it begins to foam, stir in maple syrup, rosemary and cayenne pepper, and cook briefly – approximately 1 minute. Serve sweet potatoes with a drizzle of maple butter and a smattering of pecans.

Established in 1970 in the beautiful Sonoma Valley, Kenwood Vineyards produces premium wines that showcase Sonoma County's world class vineyards.

Celebrate responsibly.

SOURCE Kenwood Vineyards

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