Friends, we are now at that time of year where holiday mayhem begins. That time of year where mental and physical exhaustion does battle with the fun of being with family and friends. Even though Christmas commercials started playing on TV the day after Halloween, we need to get past the most wine-challenged holiday we have – Thanksgiving!
I’m going to give a few pointers on what to look for and a few specific selections.
First, if you are looking for that one perfect wine that will pair well with all the different types of food that will be served….forget it. From turkey (three ways) to ham to five kinds of vegetables and ten different casseroles (including three different green bean and at least two variations on mac and cheese), one wine selection doesn’t stand a chance. If your group looks more like a gathering of the clans, just pick a couple of bottles each of white, red, and maybe rosé that won’t break the bank and let everybody pick their poison.
If your crowd is more subdued and and your table more like a nice dinner party than a cattle call, look for the better wines and champagnes.
Large group or small group, we still need to answer the question of what style wines work the best. For red wines, I suggest ones that are somewhat lighter in style that will not overpower the wide variety of food. That big powerful Cab you like will not work for turkey, so my red selections are all more acidic, lower in alcohol and basically “uncomplicated”. All fit in my Coin-Toss category. (See my website for my definitions of Big Boys, Coin – tossers and guzzlers).
The white wines I’ve selected are wines that also do not overwhelm. They will pair with the meats as well as the veggies….even Brussels sprouts! The rosé wines fit in this category too and can be a pleasant alternative or compromise between the reds and the whites.
Sparkling wines and champagnes should and do make a festive addition to Thanksgiving but should not be overlooked as a wine for the meal as well.
Ok….here we go….first let’s review the types of reds and whites to have and then I’ll give you my individual recommendations.
The red wine category are mainly “old world wines” Cabernet Franc, Beaujolais, and Burgundy. I’m also recommending some lighter Italian reds with grapes such as Nebbiolo and Vespolina. The domestic reds are a little too heavy in my view but you can certainly consider some of the west coast Pinot Noirs and I’ll add one or two ideas.
For the white wines, here is where the “ABC”: Anything But Chardonnay rule applies. These wines are either too flinty and steely or buttery and oaky to play nice at Thanksgiving. So my pick for white wine is Chenin Blanc, dry Riesling and Viognier as varietals, and a blended white from the Languedoc region of coastal France.
The rosé wines I’ve selected are ones that I think of as good food wines, not just something to slurp on the beach, and finally, the sparkling wines are a mix of real deal Champagnes and sparklers from places other than Champagne.
Ok….enough reading! Visit our website then select from the Thanksgiving wine menu at the top. Not all are created equal so you can browse through the various categories for a deeper dive or contact me for a personal recommendation.
Please remember, there are limited quantities of some of these wines so order early! To ensure you get what you want, order no later than Monday the 19th.
The Wine Guy