Thanksgiving can be a high pressure event with all of the food prep, guest preferences, wine selections and seating arrangements, but it doesn't have to be! While turkey tends to take the spotlight, it's really the savory sides that demand the perfect pairings from a wine on Thanksgiving Day. The white and dark meat of the roasted bird are pretty easy to please when it comes to finding the right wine; however, the herb-filled stuffing, cranberry sauce or relish, and roasted veggies can put the pairing pressure on finding the right wine. We'll try to pare down the preparations by offering up a starting point for our top Thanksgiving wine picks and pairings.
If you are looking for a well-priced, easy to find Napa Valley Cab for your Thanksgiving Day gatherings, then check out the 2010 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon. Packing some serious blackberry, currant and dark cherry fruit with tobacco and cedar tones on the nose. More fruit expands to the palate with solid structure, integrated tannins, an easy going elegance that swing right through the fairly lengthy finish. This medium bodied Cab is a top pick red wine for Thanksgiving as it is food-friendly, well-distributed, enjoys a terrific price to quality ratio and promises to go easy on the wallet.
This wine is for the white wine adventurer, those that are willing to go outside of the standard varietal wine box. A terrific Torrontes to pair with your Thanksgiving Day medley, the 2011 Crios de Susana Balbo Torrontes brings awesome aromatics, in the form of white, fleshy fruit, citrus and a decent dose of florality. This Torrontes shows a medium body with a solid core of tropical fruit on the palate. Mouth-watering acidity (a huge plus for the pairing department) shows plenty of liveliness on the palate and makes for a natural pairing with a variety of savory Thanksgiving Day stuffing options.
The 2009 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir from Sonoma's Russian River Valley brings delicious, well-concentrated berry fruit and warm spice to the forefront. The aromas are dominated by bright raspberry and cherry with a touch of pumpkin pie spice - cinnamon, clove and plenty of oak-driven vanilla. The palate is engaging with ripe, high-profile fruit, zippy acidity and enviable balance. This Pinot Noir is well integrated from first sip to lingering finish and perfect for pairing with Turkey Day traditions from mushroom-themed sauces to cranberry relish and herbaceous stuffing to the gravy-covered turkey meat. Pinot Noir in general, is one of the most forgiving red wines when it comes to food pairing problems and remains one of the best picks for a red wine tasting partner on Thanksgiving Day.
This is a well made Russian River Valley Chardonnay, showcasing all encompassing citrus, green apple and tropical fruit tones on the nose with just a sprinkle of vanilla. The palate profile reveals a fairly full-body, with decadent, creamy textures, and an abundance of rich, ripe fruit. Solid acidity, a well grounded dose of minerality and expressive elegance all work together to make this a must-try Thanksgiving Chardonnay.
German Rieslings remain one of the most versatile, food-affectionate white wines around. They are the consummate host for any Thanksgiving meal, by welcoming both those that enjoy wine regularly and those that rarely imbibe with their off-dry styles, inviting, aromatic nose and distinct ability to partner with a variety of dishes. This Dr. Loosen Spaltlese is no exception, expect a rush of ripe apple and vanilla spice on the nose with a swirl of honeyed peach paving the way to a full-fruit palate profile. This Riesling is well concentrated, with consistent waves of peach and pear planted firmly on a slate of mineral tones and vibrant acidity. Thanksgiving Day meals call for a wine that can go from start to finish without a hiccup over stuffing, herbs and a variety of sauces and gravies. This is one German Riesling that can go the distance!
The 2011 Simi Sauvignon Blanc brings bright citrus zest and daring minerality to the summer table. With subtle straw color coordination in the glass and plenty of lemon-lime aromas floating out of the glass mixed with an elegant florality, a touch of herbal tones, and down to earth mineral notes, this well-priced Sauvignon Blanc snags attention from the get-go. On the palate, you can expect more definition from the citrus nose - well defined lemon zest, grapefruit and delicious acidity leave clean lines, balance and a crisp, well-run finish. The herbal undertones make this Sauvignon Blanc particularly adept at handling the herb-filled flavors that line the Thanksgiving Day table.
Grgich Hill's 2009 Zinfandel is a terrific all-American red wine for Thanksgiving Day pairings, thanks in part to its decisive fruit character, meat pairing versatility and overall balance. With plenty of blackberry, raspberry and strawberry fruit and a dash of peppery spice this Zin brings a medium-bodied wine with pliable tannins to the table. e.
The Graham's Six Grapes Reserve Port is a young, dynamic blend of six grape varietals that showcases rich, concentrated aromatics and engaging fruit intensity on the palate. A welcome introduction to the world of fortified wines, this particular entry-level port from Graham's brings layers of flavor including dark cherry and chocolate with an undergirding of warm spice and a nutty nuance. Port is perfect for this time of year with a mix of darker chocolates, nuts, blue cheese and berry-based desserts. Think Thanksgiving pies from pecan to pumpkin and Bourbon chocolate chip pie to cherry tart. Ports make a top notch finish to the Thanksgiving meal.
This California rosé brings a blend of Mourvèdre, Grenache and Counoise grapes to the mix, a perfect Turkey Day compromise between white wine and red wine buyers. Expect dark pink tones with some seriously amped up aromatics - florals, strawberry, watermelon and warm spices with an earthy edge to it. The palate explodes with cherry and strawberry, bright acidity and a decent dose of minerality on the finish. Rosé wines offer a unique, extremely food-friendly pairing option, well-equipped to handle the various herbs, seasonings and food profiles that a traditional Thanksgiving table will throw its way.
If you are looking to shake things up, then you might want to consider this bright pink sparkler from Spain. You will find a good dose of citrus on the nose and buckets of strawberry mingling with raspberry on the effervescent palate. Good acidity, a surprising finish and a great price make this Brut Rose a perfect pick wine for any occasion.