Have Fun Pairing Wine With Thanksgiving Dinner

November 18, 2011

With the oven full, all burners fired up, and friends and family running around, it's time to remove one possible source of holiday anxiety and just have fun pairing wine with Thanksgiving dinner. There is no one perfect wine to match every dish on the table, whether you have all the traditional fixings or more unique dishes that reflect your heritage, diet, or preference. So what follows are some wines with versatility. Stock up on a few bottles from each category or, better yet, assign your guests the task of bringing a bottle to round out your selection. You'll have ample arrows in your wine quiver, plus you and your guests may discover something new that becomes a tradition at the holiday table or even year-round.

Sparkling Wine
What is more festive than bubbles? Not only are sparkling wines a great way to greet your guests at the door, they are also fantastic food wines. The bubbles and zest inherent in sparkling wines have a cleansing and refreshing effect on your palate as you transition from each distinct taste on your crowded holiday plate.

It's not just for summertime sipping. Dry rosé not only has the added benefit of looking pretty on the table, but is great with poultry and vegetables.

While Nouveau gets all the attention this time of year, I like to beat the drum for Beaujolais-Villages and Cru Beaujolais. Though made from the Gamay grape (like Nouveau), these are more serious expressions of Beaujolais that are wonderful with a slight chill and will convert any fan of lighter-style reds. Made from the best sites in the region, Cru Beaujolais has enough brawn to handle duck and even beef.

Any Crisp, Dry White
You can't go wrong with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from any part of globe. I'm also fond of Gruner Veltliner from Austria, especially when you can get it in a cool one liter bottle, which makes it extra-sharable. Both are very good with green salads.

Whatever You Like To Drink
Zinfandel? Cabernet? Chardonnay? Saving a special bottle to share? Relax and enjoy the wines that make you happy. But be sure to try a few sips from everything on the table. With such an array of flavors on hand and within arm's reach, it's a great opportunity to sharpen your experience with food and wine pairings.

What wines will be on your holiday table?


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