When pairing to all the flavors at a Thanksgiving dinner there are many strategies – mine is to find wines that will pair to the widest range of foods – from sweet to savory, light and fresh to creamy and rich!
Lighter wines with good minerality, plenty of fruit and good acid have the broadest pairing flexibility; sparkling also helps keep the palette refreshed. But, as in all things drink what you like; you are always better off drinking a wine you like than a wine you are supposed to like.
Thanksgiving Wine Picks:
Greeting your guests with a glass of champagne will automatically put them into a celebratory mood.
JACQUES CHAPUT BRUT CHAMPAGNE NV $24.99 Reg $39.99 SAVE $15
80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay aged at least 24 months on lees. Light golden color. Fruity nose combining apple and raspberry notes white blossom and citrus. Intense on the palate with soft full fruit and a good length. Crisp and clean with a long finish. This Champagne is Excellent as an aperitif, but could also accompany your meal perfectly.
Rose is a profoundly food friendly wine. Light and refreshing with a generous fruit and mineral it makes a great aperitif before dinner and will pairing easily with broad range of foods.
CLOS ALIVU ROSE 2016 $19.99
A profoundly delicious Rose’ from one of Corsica’s top producers. Made from a local variety very reminiscent of Sangiovese, this rose’ is pale salmon in color, bone dry and possesses amazing delicacy and complexity. A subtle salinity graces the wild herbs and spring berries on the nose while the palate is citrusy and utterly delicious on a long finish. Of the ilk of Provence’s top offerings!
Lighter styled Riesling with lower alcohol, good acid and a touch of sweetness is a perfect default wine for Thanksgiving.
Made by Gilles Nicault with help from Sommelier Erik Liedholm, this wine shares the same lineage as the famous Poets Leap but made in a softer, lighter more “Kabinett style”. Loads of citrus, lime, orange blossom and apricot. Crazy delicious, a perfect aperitif – this is perfect wine for your holiday gathering. Great accompaniment for appetizers or turkey.
Gewürztraminer is an excellent option for it has a natural affinity for the holiday spices and it’s off dry character allows it to pair with a wide range of dishes. A personal favorite is the Gundlach Bundschu out of Sonoma.
GUNDLACH BUNDSCHU GEWURZTRAMINER 2012 $9.99
A beautiful expression of 158 years of Gewurztraminer expertise, this pairs with everything from Asian cuisine, to Thanksgiving turkey! An entirely varietal wine, aged in a majority of stainless steel, this smoothly textured experience begins in peach and apricot with balanced acidity, dry as a bone. It entices with rounded creaminess and inviting floral and lemon highlights. 92 pts WE
5. Pinot Gris
Pinot Grigio is often dismissed as being unsophisticated, but it can be a wine of great elegance and complexity.
J Vineyards’ version of this variety is crisp with bright fruit and a kiss of minerality. J Pinot Gris combines the best of both New World and Old World styles. They draw fruit from a combination of warm and cool climates for a blend of citrus and tropical notes with a notable fleshiness and firm acidic backbone.
Many people know only of Beaujolais Nouveau, but many a Cru Beaujolais can have the complexity of a Burgundy. Morgon especially is one of my favorite of the Cru’s.
Planted in 1935, this single vineyard wine is rich and structured. At this stage, it is dominated by firm tannins as much as by the perfumed juicy black fruits. As the wine softens with age, this generous fruitiness will come through to give a deliciously ripe wine. 94 pts WE
7. Pinot Noir
With Oregon’s Willamette Valley right down the road Pinot Noir is a staple on my Thanksgiving Table.
This Pinot Noir is a combination of barrels from three estate vineyards. Ruby garnet in color with a striking aroma of freshly ground nutmeg, Marionberry, and wood spices. The palate exudes grace with red fruit flavors that finish with a hint of toasted oak. The lively acidity is balanced by finely-textured tannins and a firm, long finish. 91 pts Wine Enthusiast
If you really want to impress your guests open a bottle of Chateaunuef-du-pape.
Relatively open knit and ready to go, the 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape Les Hauts de Barville offers outstanding notes of cherries, spring flowers, spice and Provenl garrigue in a full bodied, rounded, already hard to resist style. It is a killer wine to drink over the coming 4-6 years.
Italian wines are probably the most food friendly wines on the planet.
SIMONE SCALETTA ‘SAN PIETRO’ BAROLO 2011 $29.99
Aromas of oak, coconut and baked plum lead the way. The extracted palate offers stewed plum, steeped cherry, oak extract and dark spices alongside chewy tannins.
My favorite wine for Thanksgiving is Barbera. Also from Piedmont Barbera has that wonderful mix of Fruit, Acid and minerality that make it a perfect wine for food.
“A tasty, entry level wine, the 2013 Barbera d’Asti Ca’ di Pian is juicy and flamboyant from the very first taste. Blackberry jam, creme de cassis, chocolate, violets, lavender and sweet spice meld together in a deep, unctuous wine to drink now and over the next few years. This is a screaming value from La Spinetta.” 90 pts Vinous