Three Rules For Thanksgiving Wine Pairings

October 29, 2018

It’s that time of year when the bloggers, wine writers, and food writers compose their annual Thanksgiving posts or columns.


We are no different. But we will keep this short and sweet, and even give you a ‘new’  varietal we really think you should seek out for your big Thanksgiving meal...


First Rule -- Drink What You Like!


Wine is personal. Wine is subjective. If you like a big heavy oaky Cabernet Sauvignon with your meals, even Turkey, serve a Cab. Who are we to say what you should like and not like?  Keep in mind though, if you are presenting wine to a group of family or friends they may want other options. 



Second Rule -- Consider The “Expert” Advice


All Holiday meals are different. Listening to an ‘expert’ tell you what wine to serve just on face value is not good enough. Look into the ‘why’ this wine will work with your meal and then decide. 


Here are a few of our ideas for what we think will go with most meals --


1. Bubbles -- whether Champagne, Cremant, Cava, Prosecco or some other brand, well made bubbles pair well with just about any food.  Why?  The bubbles act as a palate cleanser each time you sip it, making the food more enjoyable. And, more importantly, they are delicious.  The hottest new ‘thing’ in the wine world is Rosé Bubbles.  Not only do you get the deliciousness of the bubble but also the red fruit flavors of rosé.  Michigan winemaker Larry Mawby from Traverse City makes fantastic bubbles under two labels -- ‘M. Lawrence’ and ‘L. Mawby’.  Just sayin’!


2. Riesling --  the ‘noble’ grape of Riesling is a great option because it is made anywhere from bone dry to super sweet.   We suggest a semi-dry Riesling to pair with the meal. The acidity of the Riesling pairs well with a lot of different foods and the slight touch of sweetness is always a crowd pleaser.  


3. Pinot Noir -- light bodied, acidic, bright red fruit flavors . . . enough said.  Pinot is always a strong option at Thanksgiving, especially for the red wine drinkers on the crowd.


4. Beaujolais -- much like Pinot Noir, its light in body and light in tannins, but more ‘earthy” in taste with richer fruit flavors. Choose a ‘Cru’ Beaujolais for your best options.


5. Chardonnay -- we are talking oaked Chard from California or even Burgundy. If your Thanksgiving meal tends to be rich in flavors, oaky Chard can be a good accompaniment. 



Third (and last) Rule -- Try Something a Little Different, Like Barbera from Piedmont


Barbera [bar-BEH-rah], the most planted red grape in Italy’s Piedmont region, produces some of the juiciest, most food-friendly wines in the country. It can yield fresh, easygoing expressions as well as full-bodied, elegant wines that can age up to 15 years.


Though Barbera is planted throughout Italy, the best examples hail from Piedmont’s Barbera d’Asti, Barbera d’Alba and the recently created Nizza denominations.


Because of it’s great acidity and light tannins, as well as its red and black fruit flavors, we think Barbera should be your choice this Thanksgiving to serve at dinner. And, they are generally really reasonably priced.  You will not find them at your local general grocery store, but fine wine retailers will certainly have some to choose from.



Be sure to enjoy your Thanksgiving meals!  We hope this little advice column helped in some way . . . 




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