Thanksgiving Day is about more than giving thanks. It’s about more than family and food. It’s also about drinking wine for hours on end while you’re slaving away in a hot kitchen … and then having more to celebrate when the cleanup’s over and the leftovers are in the fridge.
OK, just kidding. Sort of.
Seriously, though, when you think about pairing wine with Thanksgiving dinner, there’s more to consider than the meal itself. Certain varieties do pair well with certain dishes that are common to the Thanksgiving table. For example, John Vego, senior wine manager at Buster’s Liquors & Wines, prefers to pull up to the table with a dry rosé. “Rosés are just so fresh and lively,” he says. “You don’t want to go heavy on the alcohol because it overpowers the food. I’ve been doing rosé with Thanksgiving dinner for 25 years.” John recommends searching out a wine with a light pink/salmon color for the best mix of fruit flavors. Two he suggests are the Hecht Bannier rosé from Cótes de Provence, available at Buster’s for $22.99, and the Miraval rosé (produced by Provence winery Chateau Miraval, famously owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie), $24.99.
For his part, Sisco Larson, manager of Joe’s Wines & Liquor in Midtown, recommends the big, expressive fruit of Beaujolais to pair with the fruit-based dishes on your table, such as cranberry sauce and anything with jam. Plus, “duck and Beaujolais is a classic French pairing,” he adds. Sisco does caution, however, to seek out traditional Beaujolais and to avoid Beaujolais Nouveau, which appears on shelves (coincidentally) each year in November. While Beaujolais Nouveau has its place, he says, it’s not on the Thanksgiving table. A Beaujolais he recommends is the Stephane Aviron Morgon Cóte du Py, available at Joe’s for $25.99.
Lindsay Smith, manager at Wine Market in East Memphis, likes to offer an option of white or red to Thanksgiving guests, based on personal preference. “Some of your guests will prefer white wine with their meal, while others might want to begin with white and then move to red wine later on,” Lindsay says. One white she recommends is the Hugel pinos gris from France’s Alsace region, available at Wine Market for $19.99. A red with wide appeal, she says, is the Illahe pinot noir, which hails from Oregon’s Willamette Valley and sells for $21.99. Lindsay also recommends different varieties for different Thanksgiving Day activities. Read on for more pairings from Lindsay that can take you from Thanksgiving morning straight through to the nightcap.
Thanksgiving 2015 Wine Picks by the Staff at Wine Market
“We love Thanksgiving at Wine Market,” Lindsay says. “It’s always so fun for us to help our customers choose the perfect wines for their holiday meals and to share with their loved ones. It can be overwhelming choosing what wines to pair with Thanksgiving, but our staff is here to help! We like to think of Turkey Day as an all-day-long celebration, with different types of wines to pair with different parts of your day.”
Start the Day with a Bubbly
“Bubbly is great for handing to guests as they arrive or for starting off your day of thanks with a toast,” Lindsay says. Two options her team recommends are the Argyle Brut from Oregon, $25.99, and the Marcel Martin Crémant de Loire from France, $24.99.
Kick Off Dinner with a White
“We picked two great value whites for your table,” Lindsay says. “The Hugel Pinot Gris (Alsace, France, $19.99) is a deliciously crisp wine with apple and pear fruitiness that pairs nicely with fall flavors. Riesling is a classic pairing with Thanksgiving, so we’ve also featured the Wine Market-exclusive Weinkeller Erbach Riesling from Germany ($12.99) that is just barely sweet and is sure to pair beautifully with turkey, cranberry sauce and dressing, or with hors d’oeuvres before you sit down to eat.”
Get Serious and Move to Reds
“We’ve picked three different reds of different styles and at three different price points to highlight for your Thanksgiving meal, so there’s something for everyone here,” Lindsay says. First, the Illahe Pinot Noir (Oregon, $21.99) is a lighter red that’s full of delicious, juicy, cherry fruit and baking spice aromas that show nicely with the autumnal flavors of the meal. Next, the Tranzind red blend by Klinker Brick (California, $17.99) is made mostly of zinfandel, blended with a little syrah, cabernet sauvignon and petite sirah. “This is a little bolder,” Lindsay says, “so it will easily stand up to the plethora of flavors on your table.” Finally, she recommends a Wine Market favorite, Xavier Gigondas (France, $39.99), a Rhone Valley red made primarily of syrah and grenache. “It’s decadent, earthy and full of blueberry and blackberry fruit,” Lindsay says. “It’s to die for, and will steal the show at your table.”
Pour a Port for a Delicious Finish
“Dessert wine is far underappreciated,” Lindsay says. “Port is a delicious, fortified wine made in Portugal that pairs perfectly with desserts like pies, cakes and cookies — or can even serve as dessert on its own! A little goes a long way, but port can be the perfect finish to your day of delicious foods and wines.” Lindsay and her team picked the Taylor Fladgate LBV 2009 (Portugal, $27.99) for its richness and bright raspberry fruitiness.
Special thanks to Lindsay Smith, manager of Wine Market, and her team for taking time to help us celebrate Thanksgiving from morning till night.
Adds Lindsay, “We can guarantee that many of these wines will be found on our own table when we celebrate Thanksgiving.” The same goes for us at StyleBlueprint! From all of us here, we wish you a happy and wonderful Thanksgiving filled with family, friends, great food and delicious wine.
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