Wine during Thanksgiving can be a bit of a challenge because there are so many side dishes to go along with the turkey and ham. While there is not a single wine that can perfectly pair with your meal, I am going to give you some common and not so common pairings that might make your trip to your wine shop a little easier.
Most people look for Chardonnay to go with their Thanksgiving meal and it is a solid choice, especially if you are eating a smoked turkey. The buttery flavors of a good, oak-aged chardonnay really accent the smoke flavoring of the turkey as well as bring out more fruit flavors within the wine. Flowers Chardonnay ($41.69) would be an amazing match, while the Arbor Crest Connor Lee Vineyard Chardonnay ($14.99) and Sonoma-Cutrer Sonoma County ($20.92) would be lighter styles that would also be wonderful.
For those of you feeling adventurous with your whites, Alsacian Pinot Blanc, like the Trimbach Pinot Blanc ($14.69), has enough acidity to really hold up to the food and has some bright fruit notes backed by a smokey, slightly mineral background that would be perfect for most courses. Also, for those of you who prefer something a little sweeter, Vouvray can be a great choice. Domaine Pichot Vouvray ($14.59) has a wonderful peach, pear and orange palate that will not only hold up to turkey, but also a spiral cut ham and fruit salad. At a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, these are the white wines I would bring.
But what if you are a red wine drinker? Well I got you covered there too. A Cabernet Sauvignon would be too powerful and overwhelm the meal, as do most red wines unless if you eschewed the bird and went to beef. For my Thanksgiving table, I would either have a Cru Beaujolais, like the Georges Du Boeuf Morgon Jean Descombes ($17.99) or a Pinot Noir, like Ken Wright Savoya Vineyard Pinot Noir ($48.59). Cru Beaujolais is not as sweet as the Beaujolais Nouveau but still has enough fruit to accent most of the dishes. If you have never had this style of Beaujolais, it is far more successful and will shock all your wine snob friends who turn up their nose at the idea of Beaujolais while still being a soft, smooth red wine that even Grandma would enjoy. I have a not-so-secret love affair with Pinot Noir and there are several different styles to match what you are having.
Does your recipe call for mushrooms in the dressing and the gravy? Try an Oregon Pinot, like the Ken Wright or Argyle Willamette ($24.39) and the earthiness of both dishes will enhance the flavors of the food and wine. Have a bunch of big red wine drinkers at the table? Try a Pinot from the Santa Barbara area, like the Byron Pinot Noir ($19.92) or the Cambria Julie’s Vineyard Pinot Noir ($18.21) to get a much fuller, richer style of wine sure to satisfy most palates.
I hope this gives you an idea of what kind of wines might work for your Thanksgiving table but there are no hard-and-fast rules. If you like Cabernet Sauvignon with you turkey, enjoy the wine. In the end it is all about being thankful for what we have. Have a great Thanksgiving!
Note: No samples were given and prices are based on information obtained from Goody Goody.