Turkey Day Wines

Not sure what Thanksgiving wine to serve?  You’re not alone.  You can do a little research ahead of time and decide on the grape, or grapes which might go best with your meal.  When the wine clerk asks if you need any help, you can say that you’re looking for a nice all purpose Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir for Thanksgiving dinner.  This way you’ll appear to know at least something about wine and not be so easily steered to the overstocked bottle they need to move.  If you don’t care and just want to get in and out as quickly as possible, tell the clerk specifically what foods you’ll have on your table and and ask for some suggestions in your price range.

If you’re stubborn like me, you can try to go it alone, looking at food pairing suggestions on the labels at the price point that best fits your budget.  If the store is big enough, you might also snag one of the store’s newsletters (if they have one) to see what’s on sale and to read reviews of recommended wines in stock.   When asked if you need any help, you can say that you’re just browsing.  If you really get frustrated and can’t find what you want, but aren’t yet ready to ask for help, eavesdrop on the conversations the wine clerks are having with other customers.  If the price is right, clandestinely grab a few of the suggested bottles, as if you had come to the choice all on your own, and go to the check out with your pride and dignity intact.

So what am I serving on Thanksgiving?  I am proud to say that I’m not serving Pinot Noir.  I liked the movie Sideways, but I’ve not had a decent bottle for under $15 in quite some time.   What’s more, Pinot Noir is better with gamier type fair, and we usually cook turkey breasts, not the whole bird and prepare a complicated stuffing/dressing with many sides, some creamy, some tangy with green vegetables both steamed and fried.  Pinot Noir just doesn’t compliment all of these flavors very well.  On the other hand, light whites, fresh rosés and medium-bodied Tempranillos do, and that’s what I’m planning to serve.  By the way, Tempranillo goes especially well with cheese grits, a traditional southern side.

Here’s what I’m serving on Turkey Day.  All of these wines retail for U.S. $12 or less:

2006 El Coto Rioja Crianza, a Spanish red made from the Tempranillo grape.

2007 Sipp Mac Pinot Blanc – a dry light white from the Alsace region of Northern France.  Should pair well with anything on your Thanksgiving table, even fried okra with tomato relish.

2009 Jean-Luc Colombo Rosé Cape Bleue – light and dry with cherry and strawberry notes.  A nice complement to the bird and whatever else you’re serving be it collard greens or brussel sprouts.

If you can’t find these wines, stick with something light and unoaked.  Steer clear of big tannic red wines. The French rosés will tend to be a little drier, but you can go with a New World pink. Resist the box wine and the cheap stuff, even if it looks inviting. You don’t want anything too sweet with your main course.  However, if you want a dessert wine, go with a fortified wine like sherry or port or try a Canadian Ice wine, delicious if you can find one.  Late Harvest Rieslings work too.

Happy Thanksgiving and Cheers!

One Response

  1. Can I come for Thanksgiving? I’d love to try tempranillo with cheese grits–yum!

    You should offer some raw oysters with that pinot blanc…

    PS thanks for stopping by and reading my blog post about Wine Blogging Wednesday over on my Wine Predator blog.

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