Choosing the Perfect Wine for Thanksgiving Dinner
Wondering what wines to serve with Thanksgiving dinner? Here are my suggestions. Many of these will also pair quite well with holiday meals right up until New Year’s Eve.
Begin the gathering with an aperitif, a glass of sparkling wine or Champagne. We recently tasted the Alma Negra Misterio Ros’ sparkling wine from Argentina at a tasting event in my home and were so impressed with the flavors of strawberry and cassis in this Malbec rose’. Another favorite is the Roderer Estate Brut Rose. Or try Domaine Carneros Brut or Blanc de Blancs, all from California and made in the traditional Champagne method.
Serve both red and white wine to accommodate guests; preferences, or taste both with different foods on the menu.
New World Riesling: a fresh, dry Riesling gifted in minerality and stone fruit flavors will accent the various spices in your menu. Riesling can handle everything from salty appetizers to a maple-y glaze on the turkey. Its high acidity will balance all the richness, plus a touch of sweetness to go with the sweet potatoes and cranberry relish. Try the 2011 Eroica Riesling from Chateau Ste Michelle (Washington State).
Viognier (the official grape variety of Virginia), its classic aromas of honeysuckle and peach with a citrusy finish, is an excellent companion to Thanksgiving flavors. Two favorites from Virginia: Breaux Vineyards Viognier and King Family Vineyards Viognier. Or try this Viognier from Chile — the 2012 Tabal Viognier Reserve, with its citrus, peach flavors and crisp minerality. It pairs well with creamy polenta, but it would complement mashed or sweet potatoes as well.
Loire Chenin Blanc (France): A dry or off-dry Chenin Blanc will marry well with pecans and cranberries.
California Chardonnay: A rich, powerful Chardonnay will play nicely alongside a bite of sweet potatoes topped with ample butter, or the butter and cream in your mashed potatoes. One with ample acidity will upgrade even the driest turkey.
Pinot Noir is a traditional favorite for Thanksgiving. Its subtle earthy undertones and fruit features go well with the traditional flavors of turkey and stuffing. Try these Oregon Pinots: Erath’s Willamette Valley or Adelsheim Vineyard.Another from Oregon is Hawks View 2009 Pinot Noir — The wine’s intense cherry fruit layers nicely with the plummy sweetness of the turkey day flavors like cranberry, while the wine’s racy acidity and pillowy tannins enrich the intense spices of your dishes.
Rioja Tempranillo (Spain) with its leathery smoke and oak will elevate similar flavors in your turkey and in the gravy made from the greasy, smoky pan drippings.
Rather than a Red burgundy, try Beaujolais. The Marcel Lapierre Morgon Beaujolais Cru (Gamay grape) exhibits flavors of tart red cherry, fresh cranberry and dried herbs. The body of Beaujolais is on the lighter side with bright acidity, low tannin structure and very earth driven flavors balanced with a very creamy texture. This unique lighter structure and balanced fruit allows the flavors of root vegetables that are part of your menu to be experienced in their purity without either the vegetables or wine dominating the experience.
Cote-R’tie an earthy Rh’ne made from Syrah will complement the sausage or oysters in your breadcrumb stuffing, if that is your recipe.
McLaren Vale Shiraz: An Australian Shiraz (also Syrah grape) thick in jammy cassis and spicy raspberry will stand up to sweet-and-sour flavors.
Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving!!