Just about this time every year the Thanksgiving wine recommendations come out from every wine publication, wine shop and blogger around… so why should I be any different?! Red Zin, Pinot Noir and Riesling always seem to get the nod and sure those varietals will work with your Turkey. But when you take all the feasible food combinations involving mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, candied yams, stuffing, corn soufflé, sautéed onions, and various Turkey preparations there are few wines that won’t work alongside this kind of feast! So let’s get into some selections that are off the beaten path.
To start the holiday out right I have one word for you… Bubbles! As you probably can tell from my previous posts I am a big fan of fitting the Bubbly into your game plan whenever possible. With the emergence of Cava, Prosecco and Sparking Wine from various regions, you no longer have to spend a lot of dough on those expensive Champagnes. In fact, a dry Prosecco, such as the one from La Marca, would be a wonderful companion to the appetizers that preclude the big meal.
If you have stepped foot in your local wine shop recently, I’m sure you’ve seen the funky red and orange label wines engulfing the front display area which can mean only one thing…the Georges Duboef Beaujolais Nouveau has arrived! I find the older I get, the more I appreciate the fun and fresh style of these wines and have gotten over the commercial hype. And guess what, it is a fantastic Thanksgiving wine! All those ripe and vibrant berry components can only enhance the savory flavors that you worked so hard to elicit from your Thanksgiving culinary masterpiece.
Staying in France, the wines from the 2007 Southern Rhone region are drinking beautifully right now. The depth and concentration of the fruit combined with the approachability of these wines make them a perfect pairing to a well basted, juicy bird. These wines are solid across the board from this vintage and offer great versatility in terms of quality and price. So grab a $10-20 bottle of Cotes du Rhone or Cotes du Rhone Villages, or up your game to a Chateauneuf du Pape. Regardless, these Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre (the main grapes used in the region) blends will certainly be the buzz at your Thanksgiving table.
If Reds aren’t the wine of choice for your family, then look no further than the Chenin Blanc grape. When young they can be delightfully crisp and aromatic with apple and melon flavors, yet with age they gain a honeyed and sweeter characteristic. One of my favorites is from Pine Ridge in California where it’s made in the younger style and blended with Viogner. However, the most prestigious wines utilizing the Chenin Blanc grape are still produced in the Vouvray region of France. While the more expensive ones can be really impressive, even most $8-12 options will make a delicious accompaniment.
However you choose to celebrate your Thanksgiving this year, remember to not only eat and drink well but to enjoy the memorable moments that come along with the day. For without the friends and family that share our company, then Thanksgiving is just another Thursday night dinner with a football game in the background. Enjoy!