Wines that Pair Well with the Thankgiving Meal

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We are just days away now from the big Thanksgiving feast. And one of the most common questions is "What wine pairs best with the Thanksgiving meal?" 

As we learned last time, the trick is to pair your wine with the type of sides you are serving, not the turkey itself. Typically, along with the turkey, you are going to have stuffing and mashed potatoes and cover them all in a rich gravy.  And then you throw in the yams, cranberry sauce, a couple more casseroles and the vegetables and you end up with some big, rich favors on your plate.

If you really insist on a white wine, try a dry Riesling (look for 'Trocken' on the label) or a crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. But I say "Give a red wine a try."

Three of my favorites for Thanksgiving are:

  • Beaujolais - Light, dry and fresh with fruity flavors. And you can serve it chilled.
  • Pinot Noir - A light bodied red with flavors of cherry, raspberry and strawberry. In the French wine section at your store, this is called a red Burgundy. And this too can be served slightly chilled.
  • Rhône Blends - Rhône wines focus on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes, producing medium-bodied blends.

And the timing is also perfect for trying a Beaujolais Nouveau that was just released this past Thursday November 16th.

Regardless, don't stress over the wine. Enjoy it. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Cheers!

It's Beaujolais Nouveau Time!

Beaujolais Nouveau. Its name literally means 'new Beaujolais.' This wine is named for the village of Beaujeu in France, which is a small region just south of Burgundy.

On the third Thursday of each November, France releases Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the world.

The 'new' part of this wine is due to the fact that the grapes used to make this wine are picked from the vineyards just a couple of months prior to its release! That's compared to most wines that spend a year or more going through the fermentation and aging process before being bottled and shipped to market.  But Beaujolais Nouveau gets from the vineyard to you in about two months!

Word has it that this wine was originally produced for the harvest workers in France to immediately thank them for all their hard work just after harvest was complete. But now its production is somewhere between 30-60 million bottles so that the entire world can enjoy.

Although there are more than 100 Beaujolais Nouveau festivals held each year in the Beaujolais region, the 'Les Sarmentelles' multi-day festival is said to be the biggest and most famous for celebrating the release of Beaujolais Nouveau. The festival includes music, dancing, fireworks and, yes, plenty of wine.

This wine is produced entirely from handpicked Gamay grapes and because it is so new, it is very fresh and fruity. Many describe Beaujolais Nouveau as having flavors of candied cherries, strawberries, red plum, bananas and bubble gum.

Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be enjoyed young, not critiqued. So get a bottle soon and give it a slight chill. Then raise a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau to the French harvest workers. It's Beaujolais Nouveau time! Cheers!