Want to know the secret of pairing wine with your Thanksgiving turkey dinner? The real secret that some people don’t want you to know?
Well here it is – the real secret is that there is no secret at all to pairing wine with a turkey dinner. Yes, you are encouraged to serve and enjoy whatever your favorite wine may be. The reason for this is quite simple. When you consider the many disparate flavors on your plate – turkey (white and dark meat), stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, veg, etc. – you will quickly realize that no wine will pair with everything there and just about any wine will pair with something. So why not just drink what you enjoy?
Having said that, there are several very different types of wine that some folks are adamant about having with their Thanksgiving feast, so it might be a good idea to take a look at these to assist you in your choice. No need to break the bank here. Thanksgiving is about family and friends enjoying time together. It is not necessarily the meal to show off your collection of first growths. So, all of the wines mentioned here are under $20 a bottle.
Just as some people prefer white meat and others prefer dark meat, there are some people who prefer white wine with turkey dinner and others who favor red. Both are acceptable. Let’s begin with a couple of whites. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is justly popular. The wine is dry and crisp but extremely refreshing with intense flavors that simply burst in your mouth. A bottle (or two) of The Better Half Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc fits the bill perfectly and is sure to be appreciated by your guests. If you prefer Chardonnay, Fly By North Coast Chardonnay provides pleasant Meyer lemon, honey and pineapple notes that are sure to bring out the juiciness of your festive bird.
If red wine is your tipple of preference, you may wish to pour the Domaine des Farondes Bourgogne Pinot Noir. Burgundy is the traditional heartland of great Pinot Noir and this one is truly a steal at the price. Another choice might a lovely simple red such as Vignobles Bulliat Beaujolais Villages (in-stores only). The pronounced red fruit and blackcurrant flavors are instantly appealing and work so well with turkey. For those who insist on bigger, bolder reds Zinfandel is a popular choice and a great example would be Hilt & Blade Lodi Zinfandel which recently received 91 points from Wine Enthusiast.
Being limited to five recommendations is simply not enough, so let’s explore a few more suggestions, still under the $20 threshold. There are those zealous souls who insist that Gewurztraminer is the only wine to enjoy with your Thanksgiving repast and it’s certainly an interesting choice. The spiritual home for this unique grape variety is Alsace, which produces some of the greatest white wines in the world. So how about Zinck Portrait Gewurztraminer with its aromatic hints of roses and lychee? Dry rosé wines are suddenly popular all over America and are certainly an inspired choice for a turkey pairing, so consider the Domaine Gueguen Pinot Noir Rosé from Burgundy. Lastly, as Thanksgiving is a celebration why not serve your guests the wine of celebration – a sparkling wine? People often forget that besides being a great aperitif sparkling wine also pairs well with many types of food. A good choice would be the always reliable Graham Beck Brut or if you prefer pink bubbly Graham Beck Brut Rosé from the Western Cape in South Africa. A fresh yeasty blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the wine shows great finesse and has a rich creamy complexity.
So, there you have it – a few choice suggestions to pair with your turkey dinner. The thing to remember most of all is that wine is there to be enjoyed, and that a good meal and the company of family and friends adds immeasurably to the joie de vivre, so don’t worry too much about whatever wine you choose.
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