Thanksgiving will soon be here, and you’ve probably already decided on your menu. With Covid mostly out of mind now, if not totally defeated, many families have expanded Thanksgiving plans and invitations, and the wine, spirits and liquor industries are predicting Americans will “splurge” on holiday beverages this year in celebration of a return to normalcy.
So, you’ll want some great wines to go with the big meal. You might consider ditching the “standard” stuff — Bold Cabernet Sauvignon and oaky Chardonnay — to expand your horizons. Here are some ideas!
Vouvray/Chenin Blanc: These are among the best wines in the world for Turkey. Vouvrays are Chenin Blanc-based wines from France, and come in a variety of styles, from dry to off-dry, semi-sweet and sweet. South Africa makes great Chenin Blancs, too, which they call “Steen”: try Raats Family, Indaba or Cederberg. And Napa’s Pine Ridge makes a wonderful SPARKLING mixture of Chenin Blanc and Viognier that I recommend highly.
Rose: If you’re having ham by any chance, try pairing it with Mulderbosch Rose, from South Africa, made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. And if you’re not, it’s a great aperitif wine! Or, Contempo 2020 from Chile’s Cachapoal Valley, or Corbieres Domaine Sainte-Eugenie from France. Domestically, try Josh Cellars from California. Goes great with cranberries, stuffing, relishes, everything!
Gewurztraminer: This somewhat spicy white wine is a nice change from all those Chardonnays or Pinot Grigios you’re offered at dinner parties. California’s Fetzer Vineyards makes a nice off-dry version. Dependable, inexpensive “authentic” Alsatians come from France’s Trimbach or Hugel et Fils.
Pinot Noir: Lotsa folk say this is a great pairing with turkey – its bright cherry flavors and gentle tannins and acidity work well with Thanksgiving treats. Check out Chalone Vineyard Monterey, Bannock Brae from New Zealand or just about any Pinot from Willamette Valley in Oregon. From France, try Francois d’Allaines Bourgogne Rouge or Bouchard Pere et Fils.
Beaujolais: This underappreciated and often-dissed wine is a great choice if you’re not a white drinker but still want wine with your bird. The Gamay grape makes easy-to-drink wines that are fruity but dry and go nicely with most things on the menu. You’ll likely find a good, reliable Beaujolais selection at your retailer including Georges Dubeouf and Louis Jadot. If you want to go up-market a bit, look for Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly or G. Duscombes/Morgon.