Are you getting excited and maybe even a little hungry? We are! Thanksgiving will soon be upon us and while you might already have the menu pretty much defined, we’re sure there’s still a little room for manoeuvre when it comes to the wines you intend to serve.
So, with that in mind, we’d love to suggest three strains… our personal end of the year favorites. Uncork the flavor this November, with the perfect pairing for your Thanksgiving spread.
Thanksgiving Pairing Basics
Before we get into the details of naming the wines we believe best accompany a hearty Thanksgiving, we’d like to share some basic wine pairing notes to make sure your Thanksgiving meal hits all the right taste buds. If you decide not to opt for the wines we’ve selected, you can still follow these simple wine guidelines when making your own selection.
Keep things simple. Avoid trying to push the rules. It’s a classic time of the year and a classic celebration, so it’s a good idea to keep your wine selection classic to match. Remember that wines packed with red fruit flavors naturally mimic the tart quality of traditional cranberry sauce. They also blend beautifully with the autumn spice flavors of clove, allspice and cinnamon.
Wines that are lighter on the tannins and which are moderately acidic pair very well with the texture and intensity of turkey. Plainly speaking, this means that it’s a good idea to avoid rough tannin wines, like the Cabernet Sauvignon. However, it’s important not to go too light, as wines that are structured with a subtle earthiness tend to better complement the earthy, umami-rich nature and flavor of gravy. Yum!
Number One Choice: Zinfandel
An interesting fact about the amazingly bold and spicy Zinfandel is that it was once the most planted variety in California, prior to the Prohibition era, and when paired with a traditional Thanksgiving meal it tends to behave in the following manner…
It accentuates the flavors of typical Thanksgiving spices, including clove, cinnamon and allspice. It brings out the smoky nature of bacon, turkey and roast ham. It’s fairly rich, bold and heavy on the alcohol content, which is why it pairs particularly well with dark turkey meat.
Number Two Choice: Pinot Noir
If you’d rather go for a lighter wine, with a more fruity character, then drop the Zinfandel and opt for a classic Pinot Noir. As well as having a prestigious pedigree history that dates all the way back to Burgundy, France, the Pinot Noir is a friendly red. Some wine experts like to refer to it as the white wine of reds, because it’s so light and happy-go-lucky in nature.
If your Thanksgiving meal is fairly simple, seasoned with your basic salt and pepper finish, or if you plan on serving some creamy sides, like a buttery mashed potato, then a fruity Pinot Noir will be the perfect match. It stands up well against both white and dark turkey meat and it tends to noticeably accentuate the particular fruity flavor of cranberry sauce.
Number Three Choice: Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre
Can you go white at Thanksgiving? You most certainly can. In fact, if you happen to love the array of brussels sprouts, green beans, peas, cabbage, and other tasty greens, then it would be a good idea to pair with a light, herbal, palate-cleansing Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre.
Rather than accentuate the heavy, full-flavored richness of Thanksgiving meats and gravy, this lean, herbaceous white wine keeps your palate light and fresh, from the first course to the last.
Have we tempted you to tip the flavor scales in any one direction?