Thanksgiving Day or “Turkey Day” is a holiday that is looked forward to for family gatherings, parades and football games, maybe not in that particular order. If you haven’t yet completed your shopping for meals and accessories, there’s a good chance that beverage choices have been left to chance, or are still undecided. Well, with the exception of the “jock” in the family that always has the garage refrigerator stocked with beer !
But you may be undecided on what to serve your family and guests for wines before, during and after dinner. Thats where this article will hopefully come to the rescue.
First I would like to address the standard “Real men drink beer watching football” statement. Guy’s, that may be true, but more and more the “real men” and I’m talking those players you idolize, are not only drinking great wines, they are vineyard owners too. So while watching Thanksgiving football, why not pop a cork of Drew Bledsoe’s 2008 Doubleback Cabernet Sauvignon, or the Packers Charles Woodson;s 2008 Twenty Four Cabernet Sauvignon. Just sayin.
Now before talking about all the “usual choices:, let’s talk about the one that can start the morning off, and breeze right into the dinner itself if need be, the Sparkling Wine. You can start off serving mimosa’s while doing all the prep work, and watch how much fun it is remembering if you added all the ingredients to the pies. Or if you would rather, pop the cork on a great bottle or two of Gloria Ferrer’s “Brut or Cuvee” sparkling wines , one of my favorites ever. Giggles and smiles can and will last for hours.
Now the subject of what wine to serve with your turkey dinner, and all the fiixin’s. It’s really the fixings that are not often considered when choosing wines to accompany a turkey, even though these are what really gives your mouth more different experiences. Think of the flavors in your stuffing, the gravy, sweet potato, etc. These are all flavors that really should be matched with your choices of wines.
Another plain fact is something I always give for an answer when asked “what wine should I serve with ___? My answer is always the same, what ever wine you enjoy drinking that tastes good to you with that meat, fish, or whatever. However, I will always add that certain wines bring out and change the way different foods will taste.
So, let’s start with the statement “white wine with white meat, red wine with red meat. This does not apply to serving wine with turkey.
Yes, white wines do pair well with the turkey, which no matter what you do, is a dry or dryer white meat. Whites that will “moisten the mouth” with every bite of breast (meat that is), are Pinot Gris, from King Estate Winery in Oregon,Riesling, Gewürztraminer and my personal favorite, a crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, such as a Kim Crawford. Also, a good Chardonnay from California such as LaCrema could also work fine with your meal plan.
However, serving red wine makes perfect sense on your palate as well as to accompany the associated flavors on your Thanksgiving table. Reds that offer ripe berry flavors and subtle smoothness, with a hint of white pepper, like a bottle of Willamette Valley Vineyards ’09 Estate Pinot Noir, or maybe a bottle of “Old Vine Zinfandel” from St Francis Winery in Sonoma, CA.
Now everyone fears the sound coming from the kitchen (or maybe not), of “Did everybody save room for dessert?” Whatever the choices are, think a bottle or two of “Ice wine” or a “Late Harvest Riesling” to top off a fantastic Thanksgiving meal. And if there is any chocolate on the desert menu, well, it’s a given that a great Port will bring smiles to some faces. If you can get your hands on a bottle of St. Francis new 10 year Tawny Port, you will have a happy room.
Finally let me just say that having choices is always the best plan for any function, large or small. As everyone has an opinion we all have different tastes too. So if your budget allows, have a variety to offer, and don’t run out.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and cheers to you all.