Thanksgiving Wine Pairing 2018
By Jimmy Quaile, Certified SommelierThe long-standing rule of matching wine and food â€“ red wine with meat and white wine with fish â€“ actually has a scientific explanation. Then again, I doubt too many people eat meat or fish without a compliment of side dishesâ€¦especially on such a gastronomic feast as Thanksgiving. Â So how do you pair the perfect wine for a meal that is a minefield of competing tastes and flavors? Eliminate the biggest one â€“ the turkey!
Thanksgiving turkey being fairly neutral in flavor will pair nicely with a lot of different wines: red, white, and rosÃ©. The real struggle is with the side dishes, and Thanksgiving dinner is more about the sides than the main dish (in my humble opinion). A simple way to go is to pick the side with the most distinct flavor since that will influence the rest of the food on the plate, and match that intensity with the intensity of the wine. Another idea is to look at the whole plate. For example, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and chunks of apples in the stuffing all have sweet elements that can make dry wines taste thin and bitter. The answer: a white wine with a touch of residual sugar or a low-tannin red wine. Now I know what youâ€™re thinking; â€œYou Sommeliers over-think this whole wine and food pairing thing!â€ â€“ and you may be right. You certainly can drink your favorite wine and leave it at that. But with just a little research or a few recommendations you have the chance to make even the wine something to be thankful for.