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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Wine Tips

If turkey was the only dish eaten at Thanksgiving, it would be easy to choose the perfect wine! But many other dishes accompany the turkey in this traditional feast, and it’s all those side dishes, plus regional and family preferences, that can make wine pairings for Thanksgiving dinner so difficult. So here are some options for a variety of wines that will make your guests happy:

Go with a bubbly for the perfect starter. Think about a Cava from Spain, a Prosecco from Italy, or a sparkler from California. These are good choices because they are light, crisp, and dry, and they prepare the palate and the appetite for the meal to come without being heavy or filling. Look for the word “Brut” (dry) on the label.

For white wine lovers, a dry to off-dry Riesling is ideal. Its natural acidity makes it the perfect food wine. Choose a Riesling from Germany or the French region of Alsace. If Riesling just doesn’t fit the bill, Chardonnay is a classic option, but make sure it’s “naked” (unoaked), as oak can interfere with the tastes of the foods. (However, if there is sage in your dressing, this is a good reason to consider a red wine instead; sage can make white wines taste bitter.) More white options? Consider a Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer, or Viognier.

Rosé is not just for spring and summer! The red fruit and berry flavors of a crisp, dry rosé make it an excellent food wine—it’s superb with baked ham. Look to the Tavel rosés from the Rhône Valley of France; they are dry and usually more full-bodied than most rosés, made mostly from Grenache.

Red wine lovers can’t go wrong with light- to medium-bodied wines such as Pinot Noir, Chianti Classico, or Beaujolais. A New Zealand Pinot Noir, with its herbaceous palate, can hold up to the sage in your dressing. Chianti Classico is soft and fruity. If you decide to serve a Beaujolais, chill it slightly to enhance the fruit a little. Want a red that is a little more full-bodied? Consider a Cabernet Franc, such as a Chinon from France’s Loire Valley, an Argentine Malbec, or a California Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.

Finally, with dessert, be sure that the wine you serve is sweeter than the dessert , and that the weight of the wine should match the weight of the dessert. What goes well with the iconic pumpkin pie? Try a late harvest Riesling, a tawny port, a cream sherry, or a Madeira.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Grape Girl Debbie

Do you have a wine related question? Mailto:

Debbie Jones, CSW
Grape Crush Senior Wine Consultant

Since November 2010, Debbie Jones has been the Senior Wine Consultant for Grape Crush Productions. Debbie is an integral part to the development of our wine tasting programs and ensures all of our amazing volunteers are well educated on the wonderful wines that they help pour at our events. Whether at our private tastings or major community events, she's always eager to share her love for wine with others. An Atlanta native, she holds the Certified Specialist of Wine credential from the Society of Wine Educators and has been actively involved for years in wine and food events throughout the city.

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