Love it or hate it, the holidays are upon us already. Thanksgiving kicks things off, and whether you’ve got your latest flame by your side for the first time this year or you’re hoping to lock eyes with the cute friend your cousin invited – a nice bottle of vino may be just the thing to make for a dazzling holiday. Got a date on the horizon? How about a leftover potluck? A sophisticated and interesting wine can bring some zing to a slightly stale stuffing – and, at the very least, give you something to talk about.
Thanksgiving dinner has so many flavors and textures; wine pairing can feel like a daunting task. Keep lightness in mind as many of the traditional dishes can sit heavy. You want wines with a lot of acidity, effervescence, or tannin to help clean your palate and provide balance. If you think about it, it’s not unlike perusing JDate profiles! So many wonderful options make locating the right one seem impossible. However, if you keep an open mind and try new things you’ll learn a lot on your way to finding the perfect pairing!
Light & Lively
Sippable sparklers to kick-start your meal or accompany you the whole way. These pair with everything from white meat, gravy, and stuffing to pumpkin pie.
Crémant du Jura (NV), Benoit Mulin et Stéphane Tissot – Crémant refers to wines made in a Champagne style, but not from the designated Champagne growing and production area. These are often a perfect substitute with toasty bread crust notes, very dry mineral finish, and a lot of effervescence. This one in particular is made from Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc grapes, and comes from the region of Jura. It is notable for its almond notes along with a lovely bouquet of fresh pear and flowers.
Mazzolino, Brut Rosé Cruasé NV – 100 percent Pinot Noir, this sparkling rosé has a wonderful effervescence and satisfying foam. Toast and strawberry notes, it’s almost creamy, but finishes perfectly dry and clean.
These are perfect palette cleansers and pretty partners to delicate poultry, salads and mashed potatoes.
Nardello, Soave Classico Meridies – Clean and balanced Soave with emphasis on the minerality. Look for delicate lemon aromas, but mostly wet stones and a salinity that keeps you coming back for more.
One Woman, Sauvignon Blanc – A subtly snappy classic Sauvignon with all the classics notes of lemongrass and tropical fruit, but a restrained quality that makes it a pleasant pairing wine and never abrasive. The sea-salty finish is a tasty reminder that this comes from NY’s North Fork, Long Island region.
More than Meets the White
Complex and richly aromatic, these white wines will capture the attention of even the most dedicated red wine drinkers, plus they can stand up to all kinds of flavors from sweet potatoes to roasted vegetables.
Piedmont Wine Project Asinel – An exciting new project from the 19th generation of one of Piedmont’s most historic winemaking families. This blend is one of the few of its kind in a region traditionally known for noble monovarietal wine. It combines indigenous Arneis, Cortese and Moscato d’Asti for an incredibly floral bouquet with some stone fruit notes. It’s long on the palate, but finishes dry with beautiful balance.
Formation Chardonnay – A California Chardonnay from Monterey, it’s got all of the lush ripe yellow fruit you expect from the area and just a touch of oak. Graceful and clean.
Of course you want some nice warm reds at the table, and Thanksgiving cuisine calls for them, especially dark meat, spicy gravies and elaborate casseroles. Here’s a selection to get your red fix without overkill.
Barone Villagrande, Etna Rosso – A blend of three types of Nerello, all grown on vineyards atop the still active Mount Etna in Sicily. Altitude and rain, temperature fluctuations and “black rain” bestow an aspect of maturity on even fresh young wines from this region. Lovely red fruit and a touch of heat.
Le Roc, La Folle Noire D’Ambat – Made from the somewhat obscure Negrette grape, this wine hails from the Côtes du Frontonnais appellation in southwest France. Dark and somewhat foreboding, it is reminiscent of wild blueberries, blackberries and black pepper. Medium-weight and long finish, it has autumnal written all over it and a brambly little tannin.
Dessert wines are a world of discovery. Take whatever treacly preconceptions you may harbor and toss them out the window. Cheese and dessert truly come to life when accompanied by bright, fresh and delicately sweet wines.
Ca del Baio Moscato d’Asti – Feather light notes of peach and white flowers, a delightful fizz and delicate sweetness makes this wine way too easy to drink. Try it with creamy white cheeses, creamy desserts and pies… or just guzzle on its own.
Fattoria Aldobrandesca Aleatico – Close your eyes and inhale wild strawberry and dried rose. Deep red and full of snappy fruit, it’s great with chocolate.