Whether you are travelling long distances or hosting the meal at your house; cooking the turkey, or going out to eat; cramming family and friends at the table, or enjoying the holiday (peacefully) alone; one question remains the same: Which wines do I choose?
First and foremost, there are no hard and fast rules here. The most important part of any wine experience is that you enjoy the wine, and that will be slightly different for everyone. That being said, a well-designed pairing will complement the flavors and aromas in the food and the wine, and make them both taste even better!
As a general guideline- lighter-bodied, livelier wines with a well-balanced acidity will match up better with the traditional Thanksgiving feast than those that are heavier, richer, and more intense. Full-bodied wines with strong tannins will coat your palate and overwhelm the food, rather than accentuate and support the flavors of the dish.
For white wines, look for varietals that are bright, tangy, and fruity. Try a Riesling from Germany or Washington- both dry or sweet styles will work. Rieslings have a spicy, fruity flavor with great acidity to cut through sweet dishes like yams or sweet potatoes. Another great option is Gewurtztraminer. The German word gewurtz means “spiced”, and the spice notes along with the bright acidity will make a great complement for herb-based stuffing and turkey with gravy.
For reds, Pinot Noir is the traditional go-to favorite, and for good reason! Light-bodied with soft tannins and delicate red fruit flavors, it’s a perfect match for turkey (and all poultry) and most dishes. For some subtle earthy and mushroom notes, try one from Willamette Valley, Oregon. For a more full-bodied, jammier alternative, without being too rich and structured, opt for a Zinfandel or Syrah.
Rosé wines are another great choice that is crisp, light, and fruity. This is also a convenient option for those that can’t decide between white and red, or if you want to appeal to a large group of guests. Try a light, floral one from the Provence region in the South of France.
The most important thing to remember is to enjoy your food, your wine, and your company. Let’s all count our blessings, and say Cheers!