Just for BB&W: The Mother of All Thanksgiving Wine-Pairing Suggestions From Wine.com

Gwendolyn Osborn Wine.com’s in-house wine expert put together some tips for turkey day wine sipping, as well as some pairing suggestions for those classic Thanksgiving dishes.

General Tips:

Thanksgiving brings a myriad of dishes to the table. This diversity of flavors calls for a versatile wine, one that can stand up to the foods on the table, but not overwhelm them.

 

A few rules of thumb on choosing good Thanksgiving wine:

 

You need acidity!

Acidity is a must for pairing food and wine so look for whites and red that are known for having good, crisp acidity to match your food.

Go for big fruit!

A wine with big fruit will match well with both spicy stuffing and sweet potato soufflé.

Avoid green and herbal notes in both red and white wines – these aromas and flavors may offset some of your favorite dishes.

Avoid high tannins in your red and too much oak in your white.

Tannins needs protein and fat, which means your sweet potatoes will have that red tasting a bit too bitter or metallic. Too much oak in your Chardonnay may also change the flavors of your food.

Specific Food Pairings:

Ham: Ham is salty, and sometimes sweet. To match that salt you need some good acidity to bring out the fruit in the wine. Try Riesling, Pinot Gris (particularly from Alsace), Gruner Veltliner or Gewurtztraminer. For reds, try Cru Beaujolais or a fruit-forward Zinfandel. And remember, the sweeter the glaze, the sweeter the wine should be!

Turkey: Turkey, on its own, is a bit boring… which is why we throw stuffing and cranberry sauce all over it at Thanksgiving. That said, there are wines that pair well with the lean protein style of Turkey. For whites, try an un-oaked Chardonnay or Oregon Pinot Gris. Reds deserve a decadent Pinot Noir.

 

Holiday Desserts

Holiday desserts often mean PIE. Whether it be pumpkin, pecan or apple, all three will have some sweet spice. We love a good Beaumes-de-Venise or icewine on the lighter side for our apple pie, and a delicious “sticky” Muscat from Australia for our Pumpkin and Pecan pies.

 

Wine suggestions:
A few wines that can stand up to your “table of many flavors,” are:Riesling: Riesling is full of both acidity and juicy fruit. It has powerful aromatics, but a light body, which will not overpower your food. Our favorites include:
Michelle Eroica Riesling 2010
Pacific Rim Riesling 2010
Trimbach Riesling 2009
White Blends: it’s a general category, and not every white wine will fit, but some blends, particularly those that include aromatic grapes, are great matches for the Thanksgiving meal.

Our favorites
Layers White 2010
Hugel Gentil 2010
Conundrum 2011
Beaujolais: Not just Beaujolais Nouveau, this region creates delicious wines comparable to Burgundy. Look for one of the ten CRU Beaujolais for a fresh, fruit-driven, low tannin red wine. The excellent acidity, juicy fruit and low tannin content make this a great match for Turkey Day.

Other top picks:
Dubeouf Fleurie Domaine des Quatre Vents 2010
Henry Fessy Morgon 2009
Pinot Noir: One of our favorite varieties to have on the table. Pinot has great fruit, low tannins and a silky smooth texture. This is an all-around great food wine and one loved by many. So many to choose from but for Thanksgiving, we love:
Artesa Estate Reserve Pinot Noir 2007
Chehalem 3 Vineyard Pinot Noir 2009
Ritual Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir 2010
Grenache and Rhone Blends: Another good low-tannin, big fruit grape: Grenache. Often blended with heftier grapes Syrah & Mourvedre, Grenache-dominant blends hold up well to a diverse array of foods, particularly the affordable and food-friendly wines of Cotes-du-Rhone. Some bottles to try include:
Perrin et Fils Vinsobres Les Cornuds 2007
Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2010
Alsace: The region of Alsace, which includes the two above categories of wine, produces some of the best white wines for your Thanksgiving table. You cannot go wrong with a bottle from Alsace.

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