Selecting the wine you will serve at your Thanksgiving dinner should be as important a selection as which turkey you will buy and which sides you will serve.
Because there is such a variety of tastes, textures, and aromas in your Thanksgiving Day meal from the turkey to the stuffing to cranberries to sweet potatoes, more thought will be required when pairing with wine. Because we all have different tastes and preferences and everyone’s palate is at a different place, providing your guests with options may be the way to go!
I had the opportunity to speak with my favorite wine steward and good friend Lucia Matheny about her wine recommendations for the Thanksgiving holiday. The wines recommended by her and purchased by us for the upcoming holiday are as follows:
- Castle Rock, 2012 Pinot Noir, Central Coast, California
- Georges Dubceuf, 2011 Beaujolais-Villages, France
- Fetzer, 2012 Shaly Loam Gewurztraminer, California
- Dr. L, 2013 Riesling, Loosen Bros, Germany
- Stella Rosa, Rosso, Semi-Sweet Rosé, Italy
- Warre’s Warrior Porto, Port, Portugal
The number one recommendation by Lucia was Castle Rock, which is a favorite of ours as well. The Pinot Noir falls under the red wine family. The subtle earthy undertones of this wine make it a great match with turkey and stuffing, and many of the other dryer side dishes. It is a smooth wine with a silky texture and mild tannins. An excellent choice for your Thanksgiving meal!
The 2011 Beaujolais, according to Lucia is a fresh, festive wine that makes an excellent pairing. She highly recommended getting Beaujolais that you could get year round. Lucia said that although good in taste, the Beaujolais Nouveau may be a little too acidic for some folks as it is a very young wine. By this she means the Beaujolais Nouveau is made from this years grapes, which are pressed, fermented and bottled.
The Fetzer Gewurztraminer and the Riesling are both white wines that are sweet in taste but when paired with the spiciness of cloves and nutmeg found in your Thanksgiving fare will complement the meal. Riesling’s are also low in alcohol and their sweetness is a great match with ham. The Gewurztraminer is not as sweet as the Riesling but will work well with the variety of spicy, salty or sweet foods you may be serving. Rieslings are usually a top pick for any Thanksgiving table.
The Stella Rosa, a semi-sweet rosé wine with a bit of a fizz, would complement the meal as well. The fruity taste (strawberries and red berries) of the wine, the fact that it is food friendly and the sparkle washes the palate clean leaving you prepared to greet new flavors. Best served chilled!
The finale of your feast will be your desserts and choosing the appropriate wine to complement the end of the meal is as important. On Lucia’s recommendation, we selected Warre’s Warrior, a port wine, which works well with not only rich desserts, but also strong cheeses. The port, she said, can shine “on its own” or it can be a great match for your pumpkin and pecan pies.
All of the above wines should be readily available at your favorite wine merchant. They range in price from $10 – $18 per bottle depending on your market.
When all is said and done, choosing a Thanksgiving Day wine is truly about what you prefer and what your guests will enjoy. There are no hard and fast turkey pairing rules, just plenty of pairing options to experiment with and see what works best for you and your guests. Just remember not to turn wine pairing into a chore… have fun with it.
Whether you choose to select one wine or several to provide your guests with options, here’s to being thankful for family and friends and togetherness. Enjoy your wine journey!