by Anthony F Alvarez
It’s that time of the year again when family and friends come together to give thanks and enjoy fellowship. If it is your turn to host the festivities, you may be considering what wines to serve to best accompany your feast. I hope to assist you in this decision-making. Traditionally, Thanksgiving dinner consists of turkey, dressing, cranberries, green bean casseroles, mashed potatoes and much more. But I have noticed in recent years, that more and more people are moving to other meal options: Thanksgiving briskets in Texas, roasted whole chickens in Illinois, whole roasted salmon in Oregon or perhaps a roasted pig in Florida. Side dishes are changing too. This can make it difficult to suggest wines in today’s Thanksgiving environment. The one thing I am sure of is that the Pilgrims toasted their celebration with a nice glass of vino.
To begin the celebration, I can think of no better option than bubbles. Whether it is Champagne, Prosecco or a Spanish Cava, sparkling wines are becoming more mainstream in consumer purchasing. Generally used as an aperitif, sparkling wines (especially dry wines) tend to promote an appetite. Other options t begin your celebration with are a dry Riesling, a dry Pinot Blanc, a Spanish Albarino, a dry Provence Rose, or maybe, just maybe, a wonderful Austrian Gruner Veltliner. If you must pour a Red wine, make it a light one. Options for red wine would be a Red Sancerre, Beaujolais/Burgundy or even a sparkling Shiraz from Australia.
Moving to the dinner table, the field breaks wide open. It all depends on the feast. So let’s skip straight to the dessert table. We’ll get back to the main dinner soon.
Options for desserts are many, buy you cannot beat some of the old traditional selections. For myself, prior to grabbing the cigar, I so enjoy a Tawny Port. Pricing for aged ports can become very expensive quickly, so I would stick to a Tawny or Ruby Port in the $20 or below range. A 40 year Tawny could set you back $100. Other selections include a French Sauternes, German or Canadian Icewine, an Italian Moscato d’Asti, or if you really have a sweet tooth and are serving Chocolate, there is nothing better than an Italian Brachetto. Yum!
Let’s get back to dinner. Traditionally, this is the realm of Burgundy, white and red, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. If you are anywhere close to my age, the table from yesteryear may have also had a Riesling or a wine wrapped in a wicker basket. Today, your options are plentiful. I recommend visiting The Vineyard Wine Market or your favorite wine merchant and ask for assistance in pairing your planned meal with the perfect wine. We are all here to help.
With that being said, I will tell you what will be on my table this Thanksgiving. Never to far from my childhood memories of Thanksgiving is a Riesling, but a dry Riesling. This wine is the perfect compliment to any salad or light vegetable you may be serving. For the main course, I will enjoy a wonderful Anderson Valley, California Pinot Noir. Check them out they’re awesome. Additional selections will include a slightly oaky and buttery Chardonnay from Burgundy or Napa Valley and a Syrah from the French Northern Rhone or from Washington State. Last but definitely not least, a Cabernet from the mountains surrounding Napa Valley will top off the menu.
Most of all enjoy your day, football, food, friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving!