Matching a single wine that compliments the multitude of flavors that make up a Thanksgiving menu
can be challenging. A good solution is to offer a red and white wine so that your guests may choose
the one they prefer. But there is such a thing as wine synergy, which means that when the certain
foods and wines are paired, both taste better. Just as we seem to always combine certain foods that
enhance one another and improve the overall taste. For example, serving shrimp with cocktail sauce
or sprinkling Parmesan cheese over pasta, the combination of flavors actually make the dish
complete. Applying this idea to wine and food pairing, will give you new, more exciting flavors,
textures, and aromas. So here are a few recommendations.
Red wine goes very well with a Thanksgiving menu. You may not want to
serve Cabernet because it is generally too tart and high in tannins to match
well with turkey, but you can serve a lighter red wine. In fact, red wine is
generally the classic choice for Thanksgiving because its light berry flavors
contrast well with the hardiness of the traditional meal.
Pinot Noir is a favorite because it pairs well with turkey. Pinot Noir has very
little tannin so it will not overwhelm the taste of the meal. Serve Pinot Noir
very lightly chilled. Putting the Pinot Noir in the refrigerator for about 20
minutes before serving it will bring out the fruit and will take away the 'bite' that
alcohol can give when served at room temperature.
Beaujolais Nouveau and turkey an ideal pair for holiday meal. France releases
its light, fruity Beaujolais Nouveau wine on the third Thursday of each
November, just a week before Thanksgiving. Connoisseurs may pooh-pooh the
wine's light flavor and texture, but those characteristics compliment roast
turkey and other Thanksgiving favorites without overpowering their flavors.
For a dry white wine, many people like Chardonnay with turkey. The oakiness
and intensity of some Chardonnays may not make it the best choice for the
Thanksgiving feast. Consider white wines that are more refreshing, tangy, and
fruity. Chenin Blanc is spicy and slightly with a high acidity and Sauvignon
Blanc is light and crisp, also with a high acidity.
If you like white wine with a little sweetness, such as White Zinfandel or many
of the German wines, try a Vouvray. This is a widely available and reasonably
priced wine from the Loire River region in France. Vouvray will have a nice fruit
taste with just a whisper of sweetness.
With Thanksgiving dessert favorites like pumpkin and apple pies, eating them
with wine is easier than you might think. Well-chilled late harvest Rieslings,
Gewürztraminer, and Semillon, as well as Ice Wine, are great
accompaniments to these desserts.
Moscato d' Asti, a semi-sparkling (frizzante) wine from the Piedmont region if
Italy, is an exceptional dessert wine and versatile enough to also have as an
aperitif. Moscato d'Asti is sweet, low in alcohol, and very aromatic. It is a
cannoli, and gelato. Don't confuse this wine with Asti Spumante which has a
more pronounced texture and flavor.
Vin Santo also goes very well with the pumpkin spice flavors and its acidity
balances the richness and creamy texture of the pie. Vin Santo has a nutty
character and is not overly sweet, so the flavor doesn't compete with the pie.
The Correct Temperature to Serve Wine
Serve sparkling wines well chilled , about 42 - 45 degrees F (6 -7 degrees C)
as an aperitif, with the first course or throughout the meal. Chill white wine to
45 -50 degrees F (7 -10 degrees C) and serve red and dessert wines at a cool