How to Choose the Right Wine by Steve Deas
It seems like Thanksgiving brings on a higher level of angst around wine pairings than any other “Big-Deal Meal.” Maybe it’s the cornucopia of flavors. The turkey is at center stage, and if you are cooking the bird, you have control over the flavors, but then there are the side dishes, many of which arrive with friends and family. Great Aunt Sophie’s famous Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes and sis’ Bacon Brussel Sprouts are miles apart in taste and texture, not to mention desirability.
In our house, we will be serving a Dry Riesling from Alsace, France. There are many to choose from and they aren’t expensive. Why this wine? This is not a sweet Riesling, it’s dry with a good acid structure that will go well with the many different flavors on the table.
If you can’t find that in your local store, go for a Sauvignon Blanc. Look for one that has more citrus flavors, rather than herbal. The back label can help you sort that out. One (or both) of those will cover your white wine for the day.
For a red, we like a fruit-forward Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. This should be easy to find, as well. If you want a “bigger” wine, look for a Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. It’s the lush flavors in these wines that make them fit in with the turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce.
But, always remember, there are no wrong choices. Drink what you like! If you want to pop open a bottle of Champagne or pull the cork on a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, don’t let anyone stand in your way. It’s Thanksgiving and everyone should be enjoying the day, giving thanks for the bounty of the harvest and not worrying about the wine pairing nor the calories.