Monday, November 21, 2011

What Wine To Buy for Thanksgiving...

It's that time of year again... yes, that time when you need to choose the perfect wine to serve or bring to the Thanksgiving meal.  With most American consumers feeling incredibly overwhelmed by the thousands of choices, where does one start?!  Below is a list of things I always suggest for one of the busiest and heaviest holiday meals:

Cling, Cling!
(Photo from Google Images)

1) Always bring something you (or your guests) like.  That means that if you enjoy a pre-mixed Sangria, buy it!  At least you know you'll enjoy it which is always what the holidays are about.  If you enjoy the dry, high alcohol, fruit forward Zinfandels from Lodi, then by all means, bring it along!  If you are passionate about the wine, then your friends and family will be as well.  It's an easy talking point throughout the meal, and you can explain why you prefer this wine so, so much.  

(Photo from Google Images)

I'm a true believer in that food-pairing "rules" are just mean for people to talk about something... but that being said, there are a few other suggestions I can offer up that have been found to be suitable for anything Thanksgiving:

The 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau by Georges Duboeuf
(Photo from Google Images)

2) Try a Beaujolais Nouveau.  There's a reason this wine goes on sale a week before the Thanksgiving holiday.  It's light, slightly red, typically fruit and an easy drinking wine before, during, or after the meal.  Plus, it's easy on the budget.  You shouldn't spend more than $20 for a 2011 Beaujolais Nouvea.  To see my notes on this wine, click here.

One of Cupcake's Rieslings
(Photos from Google Images)

3) A semi-sweet or off-dry Riesling.  I think Riesling is a perfect pairing for the Thanksgiving meal.  The problem with Thanksgiving is that you have an usual pairing of many different types of dishes - some things fatty, some things with very strong spicy flavors... you get the picture.  You need something that has enough acidity to carry through the meal, but will still complement most of what is on the table, especially if you intend to drink the wine during the meal!  Need some suggestions?  How about Cupcake's Riesling?  Cheateau Ste. Michelle?  Nimble Hill?  Or a Riesling from the "German section" in your local wine store?  These are some of my personal favorites!  And remember, a touch of sweetness goes GREAT with dinner!

Korbel's Brut Rose
(Photo from Google Images)

4) Get some bubbly!  Because honestly what is more fun?  No, but in all seriousness, the crisp acidity and carbonation in sparkling wines is a perfect choice when you have varying degrees of food dishes... aka Thanksgiving.  It's a refresher beverage.  I think Korbel is still the best deal out there when it comes to American bubbly - most of their sparkling wines are fruity, nicely carbonated, and real crowd pleasers.  Plus, Korbel offers a varying degree of selection from semi-sweet bubblies to very sweet to incredibly dry and yeasty.  Just ask your wine store personnel for some help!  (I always recommend one of their bruts, but know this is on the "drier" side of you are into sweet wines.)

Try to avoid things with defined flavors - like oaky Chardonnays!
(Photo from Google Images)

5) Steer clear of oaky Chardonnays or heavy Cabernets.  I know, I know - this is everyone's favorite (and keep in mind that Rule #1 trumps Rule #5).  But in reality, these are really not the best wines to choose for the Thanksgiving meal.  Their extreme flavor is really hard to match with this meal.  However, tomorrow, I will post a Chardonnay recipe that is meant to go with turkey!  In which case, all bets are off and the oaky Chardonnay is welcome!

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