Your gorgeous turkey is in the oven, the mashed potatoes are velvety smooth, the gravy is simmering on the stove, and your table is set to perfection. What’s missing? Ahh – you forgot the wine. Don’t let your Thanksgiving dinner be served with the White Zinfandel your “favorite” cousin brought. I have enlisted the help of my friend and Certified Sommelier, Rumesha Ahmed, for some tips to picking out the wine to compliment your Thanksgiving meal and most importantly, keep a smile on your face.
Holidays are all about the simple pleasures in life. Besides Thanksgiving, November brings to mind Beaujolais Nouveau, released on the third Thursday of November, it is a simple wine meant to be quaffed down in copious amounts. But it wont stand up to the complexity of your delicious turkey, so opt for Cru Beaujolais instead –made in the Burgundy region, from the Gamay grape, and held to the exacting standards of the 10 “Cru” appellations.
The Crus from Moulin-a-Vent and Morgon are my favorites, beautifully structured wines that lend themselves to turkey and sides with lots of character and easy drinkability. The sparkling acidity cuts through the creaminess of the dishes and low tannins allow it to be crowd pleaser across palates. Luckily, Cru Beajuolais are the best kept secrets in the wine industry, you can easily find many excellent options between $15-20.
California Grenache blend or Zinfandel
If you stay want to stay closer to home for your wine selection, and if your turkey has a heavier seasoning, opt for a California Grenache blend or Zinfandel (watch out for the higher alcohol concentration). These wines are fuller bodied and will pair well with darker meat or heavier sides. For Grenache blends, they are typically mixed with Syrah and Mourvedre to balance out the structure – the moderate acidity would offset the heavy dishes and the tannins would stand up to the meat. Zinfandels, especially from California, tend to be fruit forward, so pick with care. You are looking for a lush, rich texture but enough structure so it wont overwhelm the food or vice versa. Here are some of my favorites (Click to Purchase)
You will probably have the guest who only drinks white wine, never quite understood that concept, but nonetheless to each his own. To stay true to your quest to be a perfect host/hostess, here are some options for white wines that complement your Thanksgiving meal.
So there is your roadmap to finding the perfect Thanksgiving wine. And for your guests who bring the grocery store varietals, save them for after dinner when you are relaxed and your palate is compromised. Every wine has its time and place, cheers to your perfect Thanksgiving meal!!
Have any wine questions for the sommelier? – Ask Away