Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and that means it’s time to start sweating about what wines to include with your festive meal. Right? Wrong. There’s no need to sweat about Thanksgiving wine pairings. First of all, this year, you probably won’t have millions of people at your house, and the few guests you’ll have will be very forgiving. Second, given all the amazing flavors associated with Thanksgiving, you can choose many different wines that will work beautifully. Finally, you don’t have to obsess with a perfect pairing for each dish. Nobody eats each dish individually. Instead, we amass all the dishes on our plate and switch between them. Thanksgiving is really a smorgasbord of flavors. With all of this said, lighter, livelier, and lower-alcohol wines are better fits for a festive meal than heavier, more complicated ones. We’ll talk about all of this in the wine-pairing Thanksgiving tips below.
Thanksgiving Tips: Put Sparkling Front and Center
Sparkling Wine (or Champaign) is so festive that you’ll want to pour it even before people sit down for dinner. It immediately puts people in a celebratory mood. Equally important, when you’re eating a giant meal, heavy wines can weigh you down. A Sparkling Wine cleanses your palate with each sip, making you more ready for your next bite of delicious food. Sparkling wines brings a healthy dose of acidity while adding a joyful flair to the table. They’re lovely with fried or salty fare and make a good match with turkey and dressing too.
Thanksgiving Tips: With Whites, It’s All About the Acidity
The art of pairing whites is finding a wine with well-balanced acidity. The acidity holds up nicely even to the heaviest of dishes. My recommendations include Riesling (semi-dry to dry), Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer and Viognier. Also, these wines, similar to Sparkling Wine, are good palate cleansers.
Tips: Don’t Forget Rosés
Rosés, especially dry Rosés, pair beautifully with just about every dish in your Thanksgiving feast. They are light, refreshing and amazingly food friendly.
Tips: Find Reds that Support the Food
Reds should have reasonably tame tannins that will support but not overwhelm the flavors of the food. I recommend Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel. Pinot Noir is the food friendliest of all red wines, so it’s one that you should be sure to have. Pinot Noirs often have aromas and flavors of mushroom, cherry, strawberry and cranberry, making it a good match for Thanksgiving. Syrah and Zinfandel are bigger reds that will support the heavier dishes.
Tips: Port Goes Perfectly with Pie
When it comes to wine and pie pairings, fortified wines and late-harvest wines are excellent choices. Both categories offer the viscosity and sweetness to support the rich flavors and spices of pumpkin pie and pecan pie.
WineShop At Home has a beautiful new fortified wine, Cookie Cellars Macaron, made from the Portuguese grape called Touriga Nacional.
I hope I’ve given you some helpful tips to calmly, thoroughly enjoy the upcoming holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!
As an independent wine consultant with WineShop At Home, I absolutely enjoy bringing a taste of the Napa wine country home to you one sip at a time. Whether you simply love to drink wine, seek a special personalized wine gift, or are in search of a new wine jobs opportunity as a wine consultant, feel free to contact me for a truly unique wine tasting experience!
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