Thanksgiving… one of my favorite holidays of the year for its meaning, as well as the delicious food and the wine that rightfully flows, the pleasure of being reunited and sharing a delicious meal with the people you care the most. This is a very Epicurean way of life. We all derive the greatest amount of pleasure possible, yet doing so moderately in order to avoid those unfortunate gastric discomforts. Therefore, according to Epicurus: “With whom a person eats is of greater importance than what is eaten.” – and I could not agree more. I comply with this rule wholeheartedly, but I also make sure that the food and the wine being served will emphasize the epicurean joy shared in my home. Conveniently, this brings me to write this post just a few days before Thanksgiving, and talk about Thanksgiving wines.
Choosing the right wine for a Thanksgiving dinner can be very difficult, perhaps even impossible. With such variety of food on the table, one kind of wine could certainly not work with everything. So I say the more the merrier! Why not serve different wines? Simply make sure to pick lighter wines. Thanksgiving can be a long meal and people will have a tendency to overeat and get into a food coma. So lighter is better for the stamina.
Now remember that pairing wines with food is a matter of personal preference, so you may use this post as a general guide and a first step before making your own wine pairing decisions.
Sparklers – Sparkling wines are a great way to start off the evening. Nothing says party like a nice refreshing bubbly. Easy does it, you can serve a flute of Champagne (or two) as your guests arrive. It is the perfect accompaniment to appetizers, just make sure it is brut (dry).
Whites – Avoid the Chardonnays as they are far too oaky and intense. These alternative choices should give you the perfect mix of spice and fruit.
• Viognier, powerful flower and fruit aromas
• Chenin Blanc, full-bodied fruity palate and floral aromas
• Sauvignon Blanc, crisp, elegant, and fresh, serve slightly chilled for great result
• Riesling or Gewürztraminer, vibrant and refreshing, yet a little “thicker” than the rest
Reds – Red wine has always been a classic choice for turkey, but don’t serve Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot as they would most certainly overpower the meat. The following wine selection will complement your meal nicely and leave you wanting more:
• Zinfandel, conveniently features spicy and peppery qualities
• Syrah, powerfully flavoured and full-bodied with hint of chocolate and espresso
• Pinot Noir, famous for its various berry flavors and ‘farmyard’ aromas
• Beaujolais, for its dry, light and fruity character
Dessert – Time to unbuckle that belt because it is time for dessert! From the traditional pumpkin pie to the apple crisp, you will need something light and sweet to keep up with those festive winter fruits and warm spices.
• Muscat, ranging from white to dark red, it features a sweet floral aroma
• Port, younger will give you more fruit while older port will feature a nuttier taste
• Sauternes, delightful and sweet with a hint of vanilla, serve in small quantities
• Riesling or Gewürztraminer, as mentioned above but you can go sweet this time
• Asti Spumante, a sparkling white Italian wine, sweet and low in alcohol content
So… Gobble! Gobble! Have a WINE-derful Thanksgiving celebration and don’t forget to share your wine pairing success ;)
For a more specific Thanksgiving wine guide, visit Steve Jacobson’s latest recommendations: “Giving Thanks… for Wine“.
Wine quote: “Wine always tastes better when shared with the people you love.” – Wine Ponder. (enjoy more famous excerpts by visiting our wine quotes page.)