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Best wines to serve on Thanksgiving Day

19.11.2015

Best wines to serve on Thanksgiving Day

Pinot noir is generally thought to be the best red to serve with traditional holiday fixins. Every year I have friends ask me what wine they should serve or take to the biggest feast of year, Thanksgiving dinner.

It may seem like a simple question but Thanksgiving can be complicated, and I’m not talking about family dynamics here. I’m referring to how the menagerie of foods served at this traditional feast will get along with wine; savory sauces, salty meats, tart cranberries, sweet potatoes and all kinds of starches.

It can be a bit confusing to the palate, so a general rule of thumb is to go for wines with more acidity and fruit.

That’s one reason why Beaujolais Nouveau is popular. Made from gamay grapes, this young red French wine is fun rather than fancy, released the third Thursday of each November to worldwide fanfare. You’ll see the festive labels in almost every grocery and liquor store with prices in the $15 range. Put a little chill on it before serving.

Over the years, I’ve probably bought cases of this for the holidays, however, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I feel more drawn to grapes grown on U.S. soil.

Pinot noir is generally thought to be the best red to serve with traditional holiday fixins. Most are herbaceous and spicy with fruits like cherry and cranberry. Sounds like Thanksgiving to me!

For a “wow” wine pick Domaine Serene Eventad Reserve 2012 ($70) from Oregon: cloves, baking spice and cherry. In the more affordable range give Carneros Highway ($22) a try. It’s young, fruity and could sit comfortably on your Thanksgiving table.

 

Sorry cabernet fans, save your big bad boys for another occasion and pull out a jammy, spicy zinfandel if you want a bolder red.

I have a friend who is in a long-term relationship with chardonnay. In fact, when she dies I’m certain there will be a bottle or two in her casket. While chardonnay is the white wine of preference for many, a heavy, buttery bottle may be too much. Try something unoaked, like Antler Hill ($30) from Russian River Valley: fresh, tropical fruit and delicious green apple. Winemakers at the historic Biltmore Estates make this one.

An even better choice for white wine lovers at Thanksgiving is an aromatic gewurztraminer from Washington or Oregon. These typically have spices like clove and luscious fresh fruit.

However, in my humble opinion, the most perfect wine for this holiday meal, from start to finish, is Champagne or sparkling wine. With effervescence, fruit, acid and a bit of biscuit, this wine really has it all. Not to mention it looks so lovely on the table and is so much fun to sip. I’m giddy just thinking about it.

At the end of the day, no matter if the turkey is dry or the wine isn’t perfect, it’s the spirit of the holiday that’s most important, expressing gratitude and making memories with your family and friends. Cheers!

 

 

Gina Birch, Special to The News-Press November 17, 2015

Gina Birch is a longtime, local radio/TV personality who has a passion for wine, and has traveled the world to quench her thirst. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook for more wine musings.

http://www.news-press.com/story/life/food/2015/11/17/best-wines-your-thanksgiving-table-pinot-champagne-beaujolais/75837154/?from=global&sessionKey=&autologin=

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