Wines for Your Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving can be D. R. A. M. A. Trying to choose “the perfect wine” to go with your Thanksgiving feast can
?add to that drama. Trying to find a single wine to please everyone from grandmother to the newly minted drinking-age college boyfriend your daughter has brought home is a challenge. With all the meal preparations required, quite frankly, don’t you always have enough to worry about planning this holiday meal? Stuff the bird before cooking or after? Cranberry sauce with whole berries or none? Sweet potato soufflé or candied yams casserole? And let’s not even get into the seating arrangements that must be con- sidered ensuring that a family kerfuffle doesn’t erupt … again … seconds before the bird even hits the table. Thus, turning your Thanksgiving into your own Bravo reality TV series. Why stress yourself out with what wine to serve?

One tip I give to quickly calm down those responsible for securing the wine for the Thanksgiving meal: Pick one red and white wine. It’s so simple it often gets overlooked. You will invariably have guests at the table who will pull a face and whine dramatically: “I only like white” or “I only like red.” Serving at least one type of each will put a cure at least to that issue.

But, of course, you can go all out and turn Thanksgiving into an opportunity to try multiple wines in one setting. This can be fun and wine will rarely be wasted because of the number of people who will be trying them, if you host a large Thanksgiving meal for family and friends. It is also a chance to explore bottles you might not normally try and discuss.

Another way to totally obviate the pressure of choosing the right wine is to ask each guest to bring a different type of grape varietal (one brings a Chardonnay, one a Merlot and so forth). You can also assign each guest to bring a bottle from a different region. This will result in your own informal private wine dinner right at the Thanksgiving table.

However, if you choose to select the wines yourself, here are a few recommendations for food friendly wines that will pair well with multiple dishes and please the cast of characters seated at your table this year. When the curtain closes on the meal you’ll be able take a bow for your role as “Grace Under Thanksgiving Wine Pressure.” Cheers!

Choose your favorite Champagne or for a French sparkling wine that is reasonably priced. Try the Blanc de Blanc from Duc De Raybaud available at local Whole Foods, under $17.

A less dry Riesling will go well with salty, sweet, and spicy foods. Its apple/citrus flavors and balanced acidity won’t over power your turkey. And, it will go with the pumpkin pie. Try Bonny Doon’s California Riesling or Rosemount Estate Diamond Traminer (Australia), approximately $10.

Pinot Gris
This floral white wine has a hint of smoke, apples and creamy texture with all the character of a chardonnay but has more fruit flavors. Try King Estate Pinot Gris, $12, or J Russian River Pinot Gris, $17, approximately.

White Blend
Try Perrin Cote Du Rhone Blanc, 2011 under $17. The Vioginer and Grenache Blanc take the leading role as the predominate grapes in this blend. Marsanne and Roussanne play supporting roles which makes this wine’s lemon flavors and floral notes heavenly at this price point.

Pinot Noir
DeLoach Russian River Pinot Noir $21, has cherry and plum flavors that pair well with herbed stuffing and dark meat without overpower- ing the rest of your dishes.

Kunde Syrah costs approximately $16. Syrah can be light or tannic with a lot of structure. This light style Syrah, aka Shiraz, has peppery notes and a spicy edge along with lightness.

Markham Merlot from California is very smooth and food friendly. If a crown roast or lamb will be served at your Thanksgiving meal. It has structure but is fruit-forward. It is also velvety with chocolate notes.

Sherry is a fortified wine and as such is higher in alcohol usually around 15 percent. It can be drunk with the meal, as a dessert wine, or after dinner. Try Tio Pepe Fino with its pale golden color. It has fresh bread and almond aromas. The palate is very dry and complex.

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