With Thanksgiving right around the corner there is one question on everyone’s mind: What wine to have at Thanksgiving (of course)?
Here is a round-up of helpful articles for the you. Enjoy the Wine Life!
Choosing the Perfect Wine for Thanksgiving
Choosing wines to enjoy with Thanksgiving dinner is easy. Why? Because it’s hard to make a bad choice. Simply picking your favorite wines to share with your guests on this special day will make them thankful. Or, let us give you some ideas. Because your guest list is as diverse as the dishes you plan on serving, we have supplied you with advice for red wines, white wines, rosés and sparkling wines to serve. You may prefer to serve all whites or all reds, or a few selections of each. You may want to start the evening with a sparkling wine and carry it all the way through the meal. And, don’t forget how delicious rosés can be. Also, this is the time to serve your wines “family style,” the way you serve your meal — just open your selections and let your guests help themselves to the tastes they like. Whatever you choose, we wish you the best Thanksgiving ever.
Because there are so many good wine and food pairings for Thanksgiving dinner, just select the type of wine you favor — and let us offer options to please every palate….
How to Pick a Wine for Thanksgiving
Choose more than one wine for your Thanksgiving meal. That way your guests will have a choice of what to drink, and you can impress them as a connoisseur. Joe Bastianich, restauranteur and authority on Italian wines, presents his tips for Thanksgiving libations.
1. Know your guests. Ask them about their wine preferences if you are unfamiliar with their tastes.
2. Organize the meal around two white wines and one red.
3. Start the first course with a blended white (a wine that uses more than one type of grape). Stick to a fresh, light wine for the beginning of the meal, such as La Grain, a light red by Hofstatter, from Alto Adige.
4. Move through heavier wines as the meal progresses.
5. Avoid structured wines, like Amarone or Barolo. Avoid wines that are too chewy, over the top, or have too much tannin.
6. Choose a wine that goes well with fowl ‘ either red or white ‘ and is earthy, barnyardy and food-friendly.
7. Serve the wine in the appropriate glasses; it will heighten the enjoyment and taste of the wine.
8. Wow your guests with sparkling wines before the meal and dessert wines afterward, instead of the usual red and white. They’re not as expensive as you think.
* Supply one-quarter to one-half bottle of wine per guest.
* For the Thanksgiving meal, you want a wine with a palate sensation of a longer length on the finish.
* Tunina is an excellent northern Italian white, as are any of the crisp, clean wines from Friuli.
* Great chiantis were produced in 1997. A few in the $12 to $18 range include Castella di Ama and Querciabella.
Don’t let your guests drive home drunk.
Wine for Thanksgiving: Principles and Recommendations
What wine shall we have for Thanksgiving? Assuming a gathering of friends but not of wine snobs, you want good wines that will complement the food but not be the star attraction. Anyway, star attraction wines – well aged clarets, cabernets, or burgundies – don’t mesh well with Thanksgiving Day. Granted, roast turkey would go well with most wines. Turkey is not as much of a blank canvas as roast chicken, as it has stronger flavors and firmer texture, but it still will work well with most wines. Instead, the problem children are all the other stuff we eat at Thanksgiving. A lot of strong flavors (both sweet and savory) – herbed stuffing, yams with those little marshmallows, cranberry in some form, and (lord help us) jello molds. No fine claret or burgundy should have to compete with little marshmallows.
If you’re not into the Professor’s page, WineSnoop serves up this set of recommendations (its a couple years old but the only thing that changes are the vintages of wine, not the advice)
WINESNOOP’S THANKSGIVING WINE RECOMMENDATIONS
It’s difficult to select the perfect wine for Thanksgiving dinner since complex flavors and textures, e.g., white and dark turkey, stuffing (of who knows what ingredients), rich gravy, candied yams, tart cranberries, rich sweet desserts, and many other side dishes all scream for different wines. It’s even more complex if you add a ham or prime rib to your Thanksgiving table…
Some General Recommendations:
1. There’s no perfect wine to match every element of the meal, so don’t over-study.
2. Thanksgiving is typically about quantity, not elegance; so don’t use the best, oldest, or most expensive wines in your cellar. Subtleties will be lost in the festivities.
3. Many “experts” say “serve American wines on this American holiday”. In theory, that’s nice, but the WineSnoop suggests that you also invite some complementary foreigners for some amazing palate sensations!
4. It’s nice to serve several different wines so people can mix and match them with the myriad of food flavors and textures for a wonderful cornucopia.
5. Lighter, lively, uncomplicated wines work best with this heavy meal, so everyone’s not asleep by 3 o’clock….
Turkey goes amazingly well with both white and red wines. The best whites include refreshing, tangy, fruity whites with at least medium weight and nice aromatics, such as Viognier and Chenin Blanc. These are typically low in tannin and see little or no oak in their making. Some Sauvignon Blancs work, especially if they are low in oak and blended with other fruitier grape varietals to tone down the tartness. Stay away from overly oaked, “flabby” (low acidity) Chardonnays which might match nicely with turkey and buttery mashed potatoes, but not much else. If Chardonnay is a must, choose a “fresh” one, with higher acidity…
…The best reds to match with turkey include Syrahs (soft, succulent, spicy), and Zinfandels (luscious raspberry aromas, jammy flavors, rich, spicy). Young, medium-bodied reds like Beaujolais (tangy, ripe, spicy with a bit of mineral notes) and Pinot Noirs (with good fruit, suppleness, complexity, fragrance, and bright, clean finish) can complement turkey (and often ham). Beaujolais should be chilled slightly. Cabernets are usually too big, tannic and tart to match with turkey. The sugars in the food can make the tannins in cabs taste bitter…
Ham is salty, and side dishes (e.g., yams) are contra-salty. So you need fresh white wines (i.e., good acidity), with a hint of sweetness, yet dry in the finish. Best choices include California Dry Rieslings, Dry Gewurztraminer, and light/fruity German Rieslings with slate, spice, mineral and honey notes, mild sweetness, and snappy finish. Also good would be fruity Rosés (as well as Beaujolais mentioned above) with nice aromatics and dry finish, to counter the saltiness. But don’t serve Cabernets which compound saltiness!…
FOR PRIME RIB and OTHER HEARTY MEATS
Beef dishes typically match up best with big cabernets with lotsa, lotsa, lotsa fruit, oak, and chewy tannins. But if you’re serving beef with your Thanksgiving meal, the “smorgasbord ” of accompanying side dish flavors dictates a cab with softer tannins, nice ripe fruit flavors, and some smoky and/or chocolate notes…
It’s difficult to find U.S. wines that work well with all those tarts and pies and puddings, but two standouts are listed below. Also, try some of the incredible Aussie imports or a Port….
Finally, StarChefs.com gives both recipes AND wine recommendations to go with them on Thanksgiving…
Taking Sides: Wines for Thanksgiving
By Kylene Keith and Merrill Maiano
If ever there were a food lover’s holiday, Thanksgiving would be it. Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie-we get hungry just thinking about it. Of course, a Thanksgiving meal wouldn’t be complete without a little something to wash it all down. With so many dishes, it might seem daunting to pair just one wine with everything. Luckily, you don’t have to. Instead of trying to match the multitude of flavors present in a Thanksgiving meal with one type of wine, we suggest having a variety of wines at the table. Think about the dominant flavors in each side dish and what wine would complement them. We’ve provided a few of our favorite recipes to help inspire you.
Ris Lacoste’s 1789 Sausage Stuffing
The pork sausage, bacon, and ham in this dish need a wine that will accentuate those meaty, smoky flavors. However, you don’t want a wine that is too powerful and overwhelming for the rest of the dinner. A red Spanish Rioja would be a great match because the spicy, smoky nuances are supported by ripe fruit flavors. The long period of oak maturation that Riojas endure make them complex and inviting wines for a Thanksgiving meal that incorporates exotic spices and stronger flavors.