Image: Sunset Magazine
As Thanksgiving approaches, I can already taste the yams, potatoes, turkey and green beans. These traditional dishes vary immensely in tastes, weight and texture from pre-dinner olives to post-dinner pumpkin pie. I have a family of wine appreciators that range from drinking only reds or whites or not much at all. Picking a wine to suit such a variety of taste choices that will go well with so many different food choices can be a challenge but not insurmountable.
The best thing you can do is bring both red and white wine. The variation and quantity of food consumed at most Thanksgiving dinners certainly justifies two wines.
For a white wine, Chardonnay is a safe choice. It should please most wine drinkers, especially less experienced ones. Chardonnay is a strong enough wine to stand up to the types of food usually served at Thanksgiving. If you are willing to try something a bit different, go with Riesling or Gewurztraminer. Both of those wines will go especially well with the cranberry and yam flavors of a traditional Thanksgiving.
Sparkling wine is another good choice for the holiday. It will match well with the various rich flavors of the meal and can be served from appetizer to dessert. Both French and American sparkling wines are appropriate here, so don’t feel that you are limited to Champagne. California has some very good all-American sparkling wines for this all-American holiday.
If you are looking for a good choice for your red wine go with Zinfandel. The US produces many Zinfandels so it is an especially American wine. Zinfandel’s rich herbal nature goes well with savory stuffing.
Merlot is another good option for a red wine. It is a good medium to full bodied wine for autumn temperatures, and a popular wine. The rich berry flavors go well with the heavy meal as well. Merlot is the best choice if you want to please the red wine drinkers.
Beaujolais Nouveau is also an interesting choice if you want to go with something French for your red wine. This wine comes out mere days before Thanksgiving, so it is a very timely wine to choose. It is just about the youngest wine you could buy at this time of year. It has light berry flavors, and a fresh taste that should please everyone. It can even be served chilled, which may please the white wine lovers at the table. Beaujolais Nouveau is also a very inexpensive wine, leaving the budget open for you to buy even more of it.
Have fun with it. Pick a couple of wines and see how everyone likes your choices. Don’t be surprised if they sign you up again to pick the wines for your next Turkey Day!