It’s that time of year again – time to loosen the waist bands and sit down for Thanksgiving dinner. Turkey, stuffing, cranberries, yams, pumpkin pie – there are so many flavours happening. Is there a wine that can complement such a diverse spread? The answer? Of course there is! In fact, there are several that will work nicely with the Thanksgiving meal. I have selected a few from around the world; some may be familiar, others more unusual. However, all these wines share something in common; they will be delicious with your holiday feast!
As I mentioned in a previous blog, dry Rosé is a terrific food wine and will be delightful with your meal. It is light enough so that it won’t overwhelm the more subtle flavours of the turkey while having fruity flavours and great structure to stand up to exuberant side dishes. It’s a wine that goes well with a wide range of food.
Riesling is another wonderful choice for the Thanksgiving table. With all the sweetness in the meal, an off-dry Riesling is a perfect match. Don’t be afraid – I’m not talking about a sickly sweet wine, but one with just a hint of sweetness that will work with the candied yams and fruit-based accompaniments on the table. German “Kabinett” wine is a terrific example of this style of wine. If off-dry wines are not to your taste, a dry Riesling will also work nicely. You might try a Riesling from France’s Alsace region or one from Germany. Look for labels that are marked “Trocken” - meaning dry. Ontario also produces some delectable Riesling, both dry and off-dry.
Spanish Albariño is less known than Riesling, but it is another excellent white wine choice. It’s easy to enjoy and pairs well with turkey and all of the trimmings thanks to its crisp and refreshing qualities. It will not overpower the meal, nor will be overpowered. Its delectable citrus edge will heighten the flavours of your feast.
Viognier, another lesser known white wine, is worth a try. It’s slightly weightier that other white wines; perfumed and assertive, but not too powerful. Notes of ripe peach and apricot as well as orange marmalade and honeysuckle will complement your turkey and accentuate the other components on your Thanksgiving table.
Now for the reds.
Pinot Noir, a traditional favourite, is a “crossover wine” that partners well with both the lighter and milder taste of turkey and the bolder flavours of the side dishes. It comes in several styles from light and earthy to medium weight and fruity, depending on where in the world it is produced.
The Gamay grape also produces a lighter style red wine and some interesting examples are being made right here in Ontario. I’m also fond of Cru Beaujolais, which originates from one of 10 villages in the Beaujolais region of France. It’s a fruity, somewhat earthy, wine and will pair seamlessly with your Thanksgiving meal. Gamay also tends to be underpriced for the quality it offers.
My last red wine selection is Zinfandel, a good choice for those wanting a fuller-bodied red wine. It is rich, spicy, and mouth-filling. But do stay clear of the huge, overly alcoholic Zins. They will crush whatever meal you serve.
I would love to hear from you after you have recovered from Thanksgiving. What did you choose to go with your meal? Did you try something new or stick with the tried-and-true?
Wishing you a wonderful holiday with family and friends!