We are a little over a week away from Thanksgiving and I am so excited I can hardly stand it. How is your planning coming along? Any interest in checking another item off the list ahead of time (first item to check off the list shared on Monday HERE)? Wine is one of the critically important elements of Thanksgiving dinner but so easy to forget or brush off as something to pick up when you are on that last minute run to the store. I would argue however that making a good selection will enhance the beautiful dinner you spent so much time cooking and make your guests especially thankful for the chance to gather around your table.
The great part about this holiday and more specifically this meal is the wide range of sipping options that will compliment it. I’m going to assume a lot of you are eating turkey or some form of white/light meat and if you happen to be celebrating in a part of the country where temperatures are already frigid you are probably gravitating towards red. I am too. For that reason I am going to focus on reds, they are harder to pair with light meats, but know that most whites or roses will totally work.
Thanksgiving Red Wine Recommendations
Beaujolais – This French region produces light red wines from the Gamay grape which is low in tannins and high in acidity, both great characteristics to allow the food to shine. It is a beautiful ruby red with a hint of purple and boasts juicy ripe notes of raspberry, blueberry and cranberry (ummm hello, turkey + wine with cranberry notes = match made in heaven). Key to this wine is buying Cru Beaujolais, which means the grapes all come from within a small area (Cru is the word for vineyard/group of vineyards in French). This allows the flavors to really sing in the glass. There are 10 Crus of Beaujolais, all with slightly different flavor profiles, so look for one of the following on your bottle to know you are getting something good. Best served slightly chilled (58 degrees if you’re fancy, throw it in the fridge for 10 minutes before serving, like me, if you’re not fancy).
10 Crus of Beaujolais
Cote de Brouilly
Pinot Noir – Pinot Noir is such an interesting wine. The taste can be drastically different depending on where the grapes were grown so you really need to do your research (aka drink wine from all these places) to know your preference. Regardless of what area of the world it comes from the truth is you really can’t go wrong pouring Pinot for Thanksgiving dinner. The wine has just enough structure from medium tannins and acidity to hold up to whatever you are serving. I have highlighted the flavor profiles of four major Pinot regions below, I am going with California Pinot this year. Again, best served cool to the touch (same as above).
Burgundy (old world) – tart cherry, rustic, earthy, mossy
Oregon (new world) – cranberries and earth, rustic
California (new world) – black cherry and raspberry, oak, tobacco
New Zealand (new world) – cherry, baking spice, dirt