I was considering some different cocktail options that would pair well with a Thanksgiving feast but honestly, there is enough going on in the kitchen come Turkey day so why complicate things? A great wine is the perfect pairing for any meal and all you need is a corkscrew to open and enjoy immediately! There are certain wines that pair really well with the Thanksgiving menu but when it comes down to it buy what you and your family like- there is no sense in having a great red wine (like the above Beaujolais) if no one drinks red wine! So read on and find something you and your Thanksgiving party might like!
My mom has made a tradition of going around the table at Thanksgiving, before we all dive into our loaded plates of food, to ask each of us what we are most thankful for. It’s a nice tradition, sharing sentiments of gratitude for the people in our lives and toasting to good health and happiness. These reflections we bring to the table on Thanksgiving are bitter sweet to me, as we share them so infrequently. Why not celebrate the good in our lives everyday, turkey or not? It’s something I’m working on- letting go of the bad- and being grateful for having great friends, a loving and supportive family, a cozy apartment, and a good job.
On that note I’d like to share some wine recommendations given to me by a rather new friend, a passionate chef and sommelier in training, whom I’ve greatly enjoyed getting to know. While he studies up, I’ve been regularly requesting wine recommendations and perfect pairings for meals I’ve been making. With Thanksgiving only a few days away, I asked him what wines would be good companions to a turkey feast, something that would bring to life all of those rich, creamy flavors, making every bite better! Bearing in mind that everyone has personal taste preferences, I also wanted to bring home a mix of reds and whites ensuring that everyone around the dinner table would be happy. So what to get? And more importantly what to get without breaking the bank?
His first recommendation was a Gamay, a French wine from the Beaujolais region. This light, fruity red was foreign territory to me so I did some research and it turns out that this it’s a classic time-tested pairing for Thanksgiving dinner. As with any wine, the grape is just one of the components that makes up the final product and wines from Beaujolais can differ greatly depending on what part of the region they’re from and how they are produced. I’m not even going to pretend to know or speak to these differences, but leave it to say that you should look for a cru Beaujolais- a wine from one of 10 villages in the region like Fleurie, Morgon, or Brouilly. You may have to venture outside the grocery store aisles to find a Gamay- I found a good selection and as always excellent service at Hausfrau Haven in Columbus. If you’re unable to find this type of wine he also recommended trying a classic Pinot Noir from the States. For more information on Beaujolais wines check out this great article. Serving tip for these lighter reds: be sure to stick the bottle in the fridge 10 minutes before serving- they’re best at around 54 degrees!
For whites I was directed to a try a Chardonnay, a medium-to full-bodied variety with a balance of bright acidity and rich mouthfeel (I just learned this word) that would complement the richness of the meal. I ended up with a 2013 Novellum Chardonnay as well as a Riesling, which until now I had written off as being too sweet. Apparently Rieslings are a very food-friendly wine and another great option for your Thanksgiving meal (or to drink while cooking!) It’s a wine I’m definitely going to give a second try, especially as it also pairs really well with spicy foods!
I hope you enjoy trying some of these wines this Thanksgiving, and more importantly, make sure to enjoy the company around you!