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Thanksgiving Wines – Pairing Strategies

Thanksgiving! It's the one day of the year when more often the not, wine will show up on American supper tables. Choosing which wines will best complement your menu and impress your visitors whom have individual taste inclinations is inherently somewhat difficult.

Turkey is a standout amongst the most flexible of meats with regards to wine. The white meat is light enough to deal with white wines, yet sufficiently delightful to deal with lighter more sensitive reds. The dark meat can compliment intense reds.

The villain, as it's been said, is in the subtle elements. For this reason, wine pairings can be complicated by all the heavenly side dishes, type of stuffing or dressing, the sauce and every one of the trimmings that make Thanksgiving family gatherings remarkable.

So instead of simply prescribing a couple of particular wines, we've assembled a few strategies to follow in arranging your holiday wine pairings. Look at the T-U-R-K-E-Y techniques below. Either may accommodate your situation, budget and visitors' taste inclinations. As usual, you'll know whether it's a perfect pairing when the wine improves the taste of your dish and the meal improves the wine taste.

Six T-U-R-K-E-Y Wine Pairing Strategies

T – Toast with Bubbles-Champagne in pink.

Champagne or sparkling wine works amazingly well with Thanksgiving dishes from turkey to cranberry sauce to stuffing, so it very well may be enjoyes throughout the feast. Brut is the driest of the sparkling wines, with no distinguishable sweetness. Rosé-style sparkling wines are somewhat a better pairing and great compliment. In our opinion, a pink sparkling wine is the best choice, like a dry sparkling Shiraz. Prosecco is additionally an excellent choice for the more budget inclined and to some degree better than some of the sparkling wines


Whatever your choice, you can serve sparkling wine throughout dinner. It will morph with your entire menu to produce a spectacular pairing. Be sure to have plenty on hand and make sure to serve it thoroughly chilled,

U – Unique Wine with Each Course

Wine Assortment

In the case you're getting ready for a gathering of six to eight visitors, you could open a different wine for each course. You may start with a toast and a celebratory glass of sparkeling wine, as Prosecco. and after that move to in any still wines. Generally speaking, the progression of wines throughout the meal will be from white to red, from lighter-bodied to full-bodied, from dry to sweet (i.e. dessert wines).

A fascinating decision during this season is the new Beaujolais Nouveau from France, which is released each year on November 15. Fruity and tasty, Beaujolais Nouveau is intended to be served immediately. It doesn't age well and is splendidly made to be consumed sooner rather than later. Broker Joes and most of all shapes and sizes wine shops will convey Beaujolais Nouveau at an exceptionally unobtrusive cost.

Concerning which wines to present with which course, there are no set in stone type rules. Just make certain the wine and the dish don't battle each other with one overwhelming the other. Here are a couple of reliable blending thoughts:

Wine Pairings with Turkey and Dressing: Cabernet Franc, White Burgundy/Bordeaux Blanc/Pouilly Fuisse, Chardonnay with low or no oak,a dry Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Beaujolais Grand Cru, Beaujolais Nouveau, Merlot, Pinot Noir or a fruity Zinfandel.

Wine Pairings with Light Side Dishes (like green beans): For something different and delicious, try Albariño or Grüner Veltliner.

Wine Pairings with Cranberry Sauce: Prosecco or a crisp tasting Dry Rosé, the two of which combine with the tangy and tart cranberry sauce.

R – Red and White

Red and White Wines in a Glass. A good and straightforward strategy for Thanksgiving wine is to choose a decent white and a decent red, allowing your visitors the freedom to experiment.

For reds, search for delicate tannins that will respect and mix with your dishes, similar to Pinot Noir, Syrah, a fruity Zinfandel, Merlot, Beaujolais Nouveaux or a (more costly) Beaujolais Grand Cru will enchant most red wine lovers without overwhelming the lighter turkey flavors.

For a white wine, look for a wine with well-balanced acidity. Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, an unoaked or low-oak Chardonnay, or Viognier are all good choices for those who prefer traditional white wines. Non-traditional white wines that will work nicely are Albariño and Grüner Veltliner.

K – Know Your Guests It’s always fine to serve a wine just because you know your guests love it. New wine drinkers, for instance, often prefer “sweeter” wines. While that may not be your first choice, it is always okay to simply consider what your guests would most enjoy and stick with that, unless it really clashes with your meal. In that case, try selecting wines in a similar style that work with your menu. Then it becomes a good opportunity to introduce your guests to something new but similar to what they’ve always enjoyed.

E – Ending on a Sweet Note

All things considered, what pairs with traditional thanksgiving desserts like like Pumpkin or Pecan Pie? We recommend a glass of fortified sweet Moscato, Port or Sherry (invigorated wines like Pedro Ximénez or a Cream Sherry). Any "late harvest" wine will be sweet too. More costly sweet wine choices include Sauternes or Hungarian Tokai wines. The essential thought is to pick a wine that is as sweet or better than the treat itself. The basic idea is to choose a wine that is as sweet or sweeter than the dessert itself. Otherwise, even a very good wine will come off as bitter or ‘sour’ by comparison. The exception to the rule seems to be sparkling wine or champagne… which pair beautifully with chocolate and most other sweet desserts.

Y – Your Guests Get to Choose!

This is a sure winner! A dear friend and syndicated wine columnist, Jerry Mead, many years ago explained his favorite Thanksgiving wine strategy, as follows:

There was a time when I too (it was a very long time ago) tried to select a wine each year that I thought most likely to work well for everyone, with everything on the table, at a traditional turkey dinner.

Then I got smart. For at least the past 25 years I have been the hero of every family holiday dinner. You too can be a hero if you follow this sage (no play on words intended) advice.

Give every guest at least two wine glasses (even if you have to buy a little additional stemware). Then place on the table at least three different wines, all different in style and color, and let your guests try the different wines with different foods and flavors. Be prepared to declare the first bottle emptied to be the best wine.”

If you’re selecting three or four wines, we suggest:

A Dry White: This could be a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc (Fume Blanc), Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, or even a dry Chenin Blanc. If you live in the Midwest or East, Seyval Blanc or Vignoles are more likely to be available.

A Semi-Sweet Wine: Think Riesling, Gewürztraminer, some Rosés and White Zinfandel. These will please beginning wine drinkers who tend to prefer very fruity and slightly sweet flavors, and may actually work best with some of the sweet flavored foods.

A Friendly Red: First choice is probably Pinot Noir, but also Gamay, many Merlots and the Beaujolais Nouveaux which are released in mid-November each year.

For a fourth wine, you might add a full-bodied red Syrah, Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon.

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