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!

Thanksgiving - Give a Red Wine a Try

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The common belief is that a white wine should be served with the traditional Thanksgiving turkey.  And, with a white meat, a white wine would be the appropriate pairing. But, there is probably more on your plate than a piece of white-meat turkey.

Along with that serving of turkey, which may include dark meat, you’ll probably have a generous helping of a rich gravy along with stuffing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and a bunch of other rich sides.  If this is the case, then a white wine will get lost among all those other big flavors. 

Some red wine options include:

  • 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.
  • Carignan - This red wine is a bit higher in tannins and acid, and has flavors of dark and black fruits, pepper, licorice, and spicy, savory aromas.
  • Rhône Blends - Rhône wines focus on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes, producing medium-bodied blends.
  • Zinfandel - This medium bodied red wine can really work with a Thanksgiving meal. It has characteristics that include plummy, jammy flavors with spicy or peppery notes.

Avoid highly tannic red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah which can get lost in the presence of all the fruit, sugar, and salt on the Thanksgiving table.

But, as always, ensure that you drink what you like. That's most important. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Cheers!

What Wine Goes Best with a Traditional Thanksgiving Meal?

If you are serving the traditional turkey dinner  this Thanksgiving, you might think that serving a white wine is the right thing to do. While Most white wines do go well with turkey, there are plenty of other options. 

Traditional white wine choices include:

  • Gewürztraminer - One of the Thanksgiving favorites. This is a highly aromatic wine with floral touches and spice notes such as cloves and nutmeg.
  • Riesling - This has spicy, fruity flavors with touches of peaches or apricots and a floral fragrance that compliments the meal well.
  • Sauvignon Blanc - Light and crisp, with grassy or herbaceous flavors and higher acidity.  This wine goes well with all the rich foods on the table.
  • Pinot Grigio (Pinot Gris) - Light and zesty with flavors of lemon, melon and peach.
  • Chardonnay - A common choice, but it's best to go with the lighter and fruiter un-oaked versions that work best with all the flavors on the Thanksgiving table.

Also, don't forget that sparkling wines go well with almost any meal and are a natural pairing with turkey. And, a dry rosé will work quite nicely with your turkey meal as well.

But turkey, by itself, is a pretty neutral meat.  And therefore, you should actually focus on pairing your wines with all the fixings that go along with the turkey. It may be a bit surprising, but a red wine will often work exceptionally well with your meal.  Just as cranberry sauce goes well with the turkey, a fruity red wine is also a great choice.

Some red wine options include:

  • 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.
  • Carignan - This red wine is a bit higher in tannins and acid, and has flavors of dark and black fruits, pepper, licorice, and spicy, savory aromas.
  • Rhône Blends - Rhône wines focus on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes, producing medium-bodied blends.
  • Zinfandel - This medium bodied red wine can really work with a Thanksgiving meal. It has characteristics that include plummy, jammy flavors with spicy or peppery notes.

Avoid the dry and highly tannic red wines (e.g., Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah) which can get lost in the presence of all the fruit, sugar, and salt on the Thanksgiving table.

But, as always, ensure that you drink what you like. That's most important. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Cheers!

Try a Different Wine this Year with Your Turkey

As American's approach Thanksgiving, we have our traditions. And, tradition often dictates what wines will be served with our Thanksgiving meal.  

Conventional wisdom says that with the traditional turkey you must serve a white wine.  And white wines do go well with turkey.  Traditional white wine choices include:

  • Gewürztraminer - One of the Thanksgiving favorites. This is a highly aromatic wine with floral touches and spice notes such as cloves and nutmeg.
  • Riesling - This has spicy, fruity flavors with touches of peaches or apricots and a floral fragrance that compliments the meal well.
  • Sauvignon Blanc - Light and crisp, with grassy or herbaceous flavors and higher acidity.  This wine goes well with all the rich foods on the table.
  • Pinot Grigio - Light and zesty with flavors of lemon, melon and peach.
  • Chardonnay - A common choice, but best to go with the lighter and fruiter un-oaked versions that work best with all the flavors on the Thanksgiving table.

And, rosé and sparkling wines are also natural pairings with turkey. 

But turkey, by itself, is a pretty neutral meat.  And therefore, you can pair your wines just as easily with all the fixings that go along with the turkey. And red wines will often work exceptionally well with your meal.  Just as cranberry sauce goes on the table, a nice fruity red wine is a great choice:

  • Beaujolais - Light, dry and fresh with fruity flavors. And you can serve it slightly chilled.
  • Pinot Noir - Another lighter red with flavors of cherry, raspberry and strawberry. If you are in the French wine isle, this is called a red Burgundy. And this too can be served slightly chilled.
  • Carignan - This red wine is a bit higher in tannins and acid, with flavors of dark and black fruits, pepper, licorice, and spicy, savory aromas.
  • Rhône Blends - Rhône wines focus on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes, producing medium-bodied spicy blends.
  • Zinfandel - Here's a red wine that can really work with a Thanksgiving meal. Lots of intense, plummy, jammy flavors with spicy or peppery notes.

One note with the red wines, avoid the dry and tannic ones (e.g., Cabernet Sauvignon) which can get lost in the presence of all the fruit, sugar, and salt on the Thanksgiving table.

So this year try at least one non-traditional wine with your Thanksgiving meal. But, most importantly, drink what you enjoy most!  Cheers!