By Certified Sommelier Jimmy Quaile
Ahh, Thanksgiving dinner, the ultimate culinary labor of love. You put so much care into your family’s holiday feast, let’s not short-shrift the wine because you’re not a “Connoisseur". There are several ways to go about this.
The simple route is to stick with the wine you always drink, although it may or may not pair well with turkey. It would be a shame to go to all that trouble and have the wine be an afterthought. You can be a little bit more festive without getting nuts.
I recommend starting with a bubbly! It sets the festive mood and matches every course from chips and dips to entrée to dessert. And who doesn’t like a good Champagne? In fact, it’s the perfect request for a favorite aunt or uncle. They might even think they’re getting off easy; and they are! There are sparkling wines at every price point from the bang-for-the-buck Cavas of Spain to the currently trending Proseccos of Italy, to the fancy shmancy Champagnes of France. I dare say you can find a bubbly version of nearly every grape nowadays.
Now let’s say you’re having a bigger party. “Bigger party” means more people to help out with the wine. At this point it's probably a good idea to give a little direction. “Aunt Lani is bringing Prosecco, would you like to bring another kind of wine, maybe a Riesling?” Crafty right?
If you’ve read this far I think you’re ready for the next step: actually putting together a group of wines that not only match your carefully and lovingly-prepared meal, but also pleases the widest range of guests from your Lactose intolerant cousin to your gluten-free niece. By all means, keep the bubbles and Riesling, but add a Beaujolais or Rhône blend. Beaujolais would be my choice. Different enough without being weird, fruity enough without being a fruit bomb, and available at most wine stores at a decent price. I suggest you go for a Beaujolais-Villages, or if your budget allows a Cru Beaujolais. A Rhône wine blends a few grapes...mainly Syrah and Grenache. Look for a Côtes du Rhône. Don’t worry about the name, the entire region produces wines that are a flat-out great value.
If you are like my family and have a dessert TABLE, you should consider a dessert wine: PORT! A real port is from Portugal, Ruby or Tawny; the perfect pairing with every dessert on the table. Ruby is the classic for all things chocolate and Tawny is the quintessential wine for fruit pies or cheese platter. Once opened, Port can last throughout the holiday season.
There you have it. Wines that please the masses yet pair well with the smorgasbord that is the traditional Thanksgiving plate.
Now write these down and come see me at Roger Wilco Pennsauken. I’ll guide you right to them. Happy Thanksgiving!
- Pommery Demi-Sec Champagne $34.99
- Segura Viudas Brut $9.98
- Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco $14.98
- Paul Anheuser Schlossböckeimer Riesling $15.99
- Gustave Lorentz Riesling $9.99
- Lauren Perrachon Beaujolais-Villages $14.98
- Famille Perrin Coudoulet de Beaucastel $21.98
- Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes-du-Rhône $12.98
- Warre’s Warrior Porto$16.99
- Donna Antonia Reserva Tawny $17.98