Choosing Thanksgiving Dinner Wines
Thanksgiving is only a few days away and if you are the one who’s cooking dinner the last thing on your mind is choosing Thanksgiving dinner wines. Here’s a little information to help.
The traditional foods served in 1621 at Plymouth Rock have evolved over the centuries with the changing times and changing diets in the 21st Century. Now our menu consists of turkey or ham, stuffing, a variety of potatoes both sweet and savory, green been casseroles and other green vegetables all accompanied by the sweet/tart cranberry sauces and other sweet flavored sides.
The first thing that comes to mind is you may not know what kind of wine your guests prefer. To keep it all in perspective there is no one single wine that will be a perfect match for the variety of foods served for Thanksgiving dinner. No need to stress. Here is a little bit of a ‘need to know’ when pairing Thanksgiving dinner and wine if this is new to you.
- If you are out shopping for your wines and are overwhelmed by the many choices, don’t fret. Just ask a salesperson for help. They will be happy to answer your questions and will assist you in choosing the wines you and your guests will enjoy.
- The Thanksgiving holiday meal is best served with food-friendly white wines. They are often sparkling wines, and rose. For red wine lovers, choose a light-bodied red with mild tannins. Big, bold red wines with heavy tannins such as Cabernet Sauvignon, will overpower the turkey and the wine will not get the respect it deserves, nor will the turkey. Save the Cabernet for another day. There is a Beaujolais from France released in November that has mild tannins.
- Dessert is a big part of any holiday meal. Choose a sweeter wine to serve with dessert. Rieslings come in a variety of styles from dry to sweet. You can choose a dry style for dinner and and off-dry or sweet style for dessert.
Here are a few suggestions to help with wine selections for Thanksgiving dinner.
Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Sauvignon Blanc are very food-friendly. These white wines have floral aromas and fruity flavors with crisp acidity to compliment the many flavors on the dinner table. Rieslings from the Finger Lakes region in New York State are well balanced with fruity pear flavors and will compliment and pair well with Thanksgiving dinner.
Don’t be afraid to choose a sparkling wine. They are very affordable and food-friendly. One very affordable sparkler is a Valdobbiadene Prosecco which is low in alcohol. Prosecco is available in “brut” which is considered dry, “extra dry” which is lightly sweet, or “dry” which is a little sweeter than the extra-dry so you can choose a style for dinner and dessert.
For the red wine drinkers, Pinot Noir from Oregon or Washington State is a great pairing. The tannins are mild and will not overpower the turkey. Beaujolais Nouveau is a young fresh red wine with mild tannins that is released in November. This is often marketed as a wine for Thanksgiving. It is a relatively inexpensive wine but it’s light enough to enjoy with all the different flavors. However, there is a quality Cru Beaujolais made from the same gamay grape which is produced in the regions of Brouilly, Moulin-a-Vent, among other regions, that is a better value and for a real red wine lover, this will be a better selection.
If your guests ask what they could bring, you can recommend one of the above suggestions.