Happy Holidays all! It may be a little early to be talking about the Holidays but that is what I wanted to cover in this months blog. Thanksgiving is my favorite time of year because I love to hop in the kitchen and prepare the feast for my family. It is an all day love affair for me and the family enjoys sitting around, sipping wine and being the official taste testers for me. The dinner I make is pretty traditional but there is a lot of seasoning that is used and a multitude of flavors going on. Once I get the meal situated my attention turns to what wines I am going to pair with all the goodness that is to come. It can be a bit of a tough task when you think of all the food outside of the turkey that will be on the table as well. Although the turkey may be the centerpiece of your meal the other dishes play a significant role and should be accounted for in your wine selection. Much of the food on the table has a fairly significant amount of fat and they wine/wines need to be able to pair well there. That being the case the thing to keep in mind is that you need wines that have enough acidity to handle the fat. Think of the mashed potatoes, gravy, mac’n cheese, stuffing, etc. The acid is needed to help cut through the fat and balance out the meal. At our table we tend to serve several wines ranging from white to red, sparkling to dessert. I will also say that I do not go for really heavy reds with Thanksgiving. Leave the Cabernet and Merlot off the table.
Reds to consider:
Pinot Noir- I love the Pinot Noir from the Williamette Valley for Thanksgiving. A tab bit more earthy and a little less fruit forward than California Pinot’s. If you wish to go California Pinot that will work as well.
Beaujolais- I am not a fan of the Beaujolais Nouveau because for me it is just too light for some of the heavier sides. I love Cru Beaujolais though. The Gamay grape hits all the right notes to make you dinner sing. If you are not familiar with these wines asked you local wine merchant for some recommendations.
Cotes du Rhone- I really enjoy wines for the Rhone Valley and I find them to be amazing with the Thanksgiving feast. Grenache and /or Syrah bring a spicy character to the party that just accents the meal so wonderfully. Look for wines that are 12.5 – 13.5 in alcohol if possible.
Riesling- Whether German or French, even from Washington, look for something that has good acidity. It can have sweetness to it but make sure the acidity is there. It is my favorite white for Thanksgiving.
Chardonnay- I am personally not a fan of the oaky, toasty style with thanksgiving but they do work well. I tend to look for unoaked if available but if I really want to splurge I go to a nice bottle of Chablis. I find good Chablis to be an amazing pairing.
Gewurztraminer- This may not be a wine that you see out there often but it just screams for this time of year and this kind of meal with its amazing aromas and spicy palate. Plus you get to spend time making fun of the people struggling to pronounce this gem of a wine. I tend to look for ones coming from Alsace.
Sparking- I have a bottle or two of Champagne out every Thanksgiving. I love Champagne and this is a holiday that has my loved ones around and that makes me want to bring the bubbles. With the influx of growers Champagne we can now find great quality and not have to break the bank. California sparkling will work just fine as well. Go with Brut or Extra Brut.
Port with the pies- If you want a nice dessert wine then I reach for port. For me it is just a natural pairing with pecan and pumpkin pie.
I hope this helps and Happy Holidays to you all.