Picking a wine for Thanksgiving is no easy feat. One of the most anticipated events of the year, you’ve got a long day of drinking and eating ahead, a large family to please, and the inevitable competition coming from beer drinkers — this is a tough holiday for the noble bottle of wine! Hit it right though, and you’ll get everyone in the wine mood for the holiday season.
Don’t just pick one wine, get a mixed case and work through them as everyone else works through firsts, seconds, and thirds of the feast.
Before sitting down to eat, the obvious pour is one that will get everyone in the festive mood — otherwise known as fizz. Try a fruity and fanciful Prosecco like Adami Vigneto Giardino Brut Prosecco for something light; or go a little richer and more complex (especially if you want to impress the in-laws) with a Champagne, and you can get some of that Old World richness with the more affordable option of a Vouvray, such as Huet Vouvray Petillant Brut, which offers complexity and creaminess at a price point easier to keep flowing. If you want bubbles but have a few relatives who won’t easily switch out from beer, perhaps get a good bottle-fermented cider such as Angry Orchard’s Strawman.
Sparkling wine is a pretty great option for the sit-down lunch, too — bubbles go with almost anything. And if you are attempting the death-defying deep fried turkey this year, a sparkling wine will be your best friend (and probably offer cold relief from the fire hazard pot flaming outside). A little bit more structure and the defined red fruit notes you find in a sparkling rosé like Graham Beck Brut Rosé give you a good balance with the richness of a fried turkey.
Pink (even without the bubbles) is a great all-rounder for Thanksgiving. You’ll want to keep with dry rosé with a high acidity that offer a bit of palate cleansing to wash down the gravy and mash. A light and crisp rosé with delicate red fruit like JCB Cotes de Provence No5 is the perfect accompaniment with light and juicy turkey served with traditional Cranberry sauce, which echoes the tart red fruit in the bouquet and fresh mouth, and would also work beautifully with any seasonal crab starters; or try a more intense rosé like a Grenache from Spain such as Las Rocas de San Alejandro which pairs well with fuller flavoured stuffing or the darker turkey meat.
While pink is the safe mid-point between white and red, there are, however, many whites that will stand up to the job. Think dry, high-acid German Rieslings like Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Spatese Anrecht to cut beautifully through the dulcet sweet potato mash; or a more citrus-based and less conventional New York Riesling like Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling for an affordable imbibe to highlight the aromatics of zesty turkey stuffing; or try Smith Madrone Riesling 2010 Napa Riesling for more peachy aromatics to pair with a warmer, fruit-based stuffing. Other great peachy white varieties include Albariño and Viognier.
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