Sandy Wasserman writes the blog Pulling Corks and Forks and the Scottsdale Burger Examiner. We loved his stuff so much, we asked him to write a guest post to help our viewers with one of the most complicated questions of the year: what to drink with your Thanksgiving dinner. Enjoy his post and check out more of his suggestions on his blog.
As Thanksgiving fast approaches we all know what we’re eating on the 4th Thursday of November, but do we know what wine we’re drinking with your turkey, stuffing, cranberries & pumpkin pie. Fear not foodies I’m here to help you in your search for wines that will complement your turkey day. As with most food and wine pairings the key is .. balance. You don’t want a wine that is too big, sweet, oaky, dry, etc.,etc. as too much of one thing may over power your food and when it doesn’t taste as good as it should, some how the food and cooking are quick to get the blame. That being said for your white wine choice may I recommend a Riesling. I know what you’re saying “Riesling, I thought you said not to sweet and Rieslings are sweet”. Rieslings get a bad reputation as being a sweet wine, and true some are fruitier or sweeter. A lot of Rieslings tend to be well balanced with fruit, acidity and some minerality. I would look for a Riesling from say Australia and specifically the Clare Valley(Jim Barry comes to mind) or from California say Smith Madrone from a top Spring Mtn. Chances are you won’t be able find Smith Madrone as they make very little and have a great Riesling reputation. If you do see it, grab it. If not J. Wilkes makes a good Riesling as does Loredona. Also if you go for a German Riesling 3 that comes to mind is Dr. L from Dr. Loosen from the Mosel region or Markus Molitor or Schloss Vollrads. All Rieslings mentioned should retail for under $25.
For you red wine I suggest a Pinot Noir that again is well balanced. Oregon, California or Burgundy makes Pinot Noir the best and choices now days are almost endless. From California I recommend Angeline or Truchard. If you’re a fan of Oregon pinots Willamette Valley Vineyards does some good Pinot Noirs as does O’Reilys, Torii Mor, Foris & Witness Tree.
For Burgundy I would stick with Louis Jadot or Vincent Girardin. Pinot Noirs grapes tend to be harder to grow and are tougher to turn into wine, so be prepared to pay more for a good Pinot Noir. I would pay at least $12-$15 for your run of the mill Pinot and some mentioned could run upwards of $30 or more.
Another red wine to consider is Beaujolais from France which is the Gamay grape. Similar to Pinot Noir, Gamay is lighter and a little bit fruitier. Beaujolais Nouveau is that of the most recent harvest and get’s released the week before Thanksgiving by French law. Georges Duboeuf is the most famous of Beaujolais producers. Most Noveau’s are not around for long so act quickly if this your holiday wine. Beaujolais Villages are good if Noveau is sold out. You may see some Gamay from California released sooner to take advantage of the hoopla that comes with Nouveau Beaujolais.
If turkey is not your main course consider a Syrah or Shiraz from the Rhone region of France, Washington, California or Australia would be a good choice.
As with most wine buying I suggest frequenting a retailer that has a knowledgeable staff that can assist you with other recommendations, price points and may offer you a taste of something allowing you to try before you buy. Some of the wines listed above are from smaller producer and may be only found in certain retailers in your area. Don’t be afraid to ask your retailer for help as well, as they want to see you satisfied & like to share their knowledge and what they’ve tasted. Happy shopping, eating & drinking.