Ahhh, Thanksgiving—that magical time of year where it is completely acceptable to eat as much as your body will physically allow. There’s no need to buy any presents, you can pass out on the couch after dinner watching football, and best of all, there’s usually a plethora of wine options available for every minute of the festivities. If you’re planning on hosting this Thanksgiving, there’s a lot to do before your guests arrive, particularly, choosing the wine. But with all of this culinary chaos, how can you possibly choose wine that will go with all of the different flavors, textures, and aromas of Thanksgiving Day? Should you be daring and serve one wine from the hors d’oeuvres to the dessert, or select a variety to pair with each serving? The choice is yours, but we’ve nominated a few pairings that will help get your turkey day wine selections started.
Because there’s so much distraction on this day, we selected modestly priced bottles. Instead of spending even more money on the meal, you should save the expensive bottles for holidays where people can actually realize and appreciate how much it cost you. Because let’s face it, everyone is just thinking about the food.
To start off the day, along with your delicious Thanksgiving hors d’oeuvres, you should start with something light. It’s too early to fill up on the heavy stuff, so we recommend a light and zesty white such as a 2008 Erath Pinot Grigio ($13) or a 2010 Fairview Chenin Blanc ($12). Pinot Grigio will go especially well with your smoked salmon and deviled eggs. It won’t accentuate the overbearing fishy and egg flavors. You can also start out with something bubbly such as a Rosé Cava ($23). It’s very refreshing and is an excellent aperitif, but remember to go slow because bubbles can fill you up.
When all of the appetizers are gone, and everyone is ready to sit at the table, it’s time to bring out the heavier, darker wines. Pinot Noir is a traditional Thanksgiving favorite. Its earthy undertones tend to go perfectly with turkey and stuffing. We recommend a 2011 Matua Valley Pinot Noir ($12). If you want something a little more bold and intense, try a 2014 McManis Family Vineyard Zinfandel ($11). This bottle will go with just about anything at the table, even the brussels sprouts! It’s a hearty wine that accommodates spicy, bitter, and sweet flavors.
Now, it’s time for dessert. Even though it might not have been on the menu at the very First Thanksgiving, you’re probably going to have some sort of pie. Pumpkin Pie is a turkey day staple, so we had to mention this one. Due to its slightly spicy nature, we suggest a 2011 Gewurztraminer Grand Cru Sporen ($27). Its name looks impossible to pronounce, but this will complement every homemade pumpkin pie. For the apple and blueberry pie lovers, you need some Mas de Lavail 2007 Maury Blanc ($20). Fresh apples and blueberries call for some fresh wine. This bottle is slightly sweet with a very refreshing citrus flavor. After all those flavors, you need something to clean your palate. Though you’ll be absolutely stuffed, this bottle will leave you fresh and revived.
Now that you have your some wine options, you must remember that quantity is crucial. You never want to end up with a table full of food, dinner guests, and no more wine. So, avoid that horrific situation, and don’t skimp. Buy a bottle per person. That way, you can send some bottles off with the leftovers or save them to pair with your turkey/stuffing/cranberry sauce sandwich the next day.