The Truth About Wine and Thanksgiving cover

The Truth About Wine and Thanksgiving


Sure, they'll tell you the wine to serve is Gewerztraminer because it's spicy character will work well with the roast turkey and maybe even with that stuffing. Some will tell you to go with the Pinot Noir. So what's the right answer?? Read on, and discover a surprisingly simple way to conquer this dilemma!

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The Truth About Wine and Thanksgiving

No Right Answer

No wine "GOES" with Thanksgiving Dinner. Give up the ghost. Don't try to match a wine with this stupendous meal. The task is without reward.

Sure, they'll tell you the wine to serve is Gewürztraminer because it's spicy character will work well with the roast turkey and maybe even with that stuffing. It might.

Some will tell you to go with the Pinot Noir. This wine, not being too big and massive and having any number of aromas and flavors associated with it, can be said to pair up nicely not only with the Bird and stuffing but maybe even with the Cranberry sauce. Whatever.

The Turkey

The Turkey

Image Courtesy Fermentation Wine Blog

The Problem

See, the problem is this: If you are serving a traditional American Thanksgiving Dinner you are going to have so many different dishes on the table

there's no way one wine will work with everything, including the Turkey, stuffing of many different types, the mashed potatoes, the green beans, the cranberry sauce, the rolls, the Brussels sprouts, the salads of various historic appellation and who know what else.

And what the hell are you going to serve to go with that "fantasia" mix of marshmallow, little oranges, coconut and God knows what else?

No Problem!

But it's all good and here's why:

Because no one wine truly works with this meal, you are at liberty to pull out ANY WINE YOU WANT, serve it and make it work! That means the wine can match the mood, the people, the season…anything. It means you can pull out that wine you've been saving to impress your new boyfriend or the wine you want to pawn off on the unsuspected.

Bottom line: Thanksgiving is the Black Hole of wine…EVERYTHING CAN GET SUCKED DOWN INTO ITS CULINARY VORTEX!

Plenty of Options

Plenty of Options

Image Courtesy Flickr User louis bennett

(CC BY-SA 2.0)

My Choices

Me? In 2009, I served a Mayo Family Winery Cabernet, a 2002 Failla Pinot and Chardonnay and a Bucklin Old Hill Ranch Grenache (very rare!!).

Besides these highly coveted bottlings, we sampled some Wiliam Selyem Pinots, and chards, an Adrian Fog Pinot or two, a few Napa Cabs, a Port or two and who knows what else. And the good thing is that it's just not possible that whatever wine is being poured won't match with something that is on the Thanksgiving table.


And for those of you wondering, the answer is "YES".

Cocktails are perfectly suited for this Holiday. My recommendation, however, is to do what I do: as soon as the guest arrives ask them, specifically, "what cocktail can I mix for you?"

I tend to think the Bloody Mary is a nice midafternoon/Pre-Feast drink. The Sazerac, being an American concoction and having two my favorite spirits among its ingredients, is also a fine choice. But really, any cocktail will do. There's nothing wrong with assuring your guests have a tiny little buzz on as they enjoy this wonderful holiday and its lovely traditions.

The Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary

Image Courtesy Flickr User William Clifford (williac)

(CC BY 2.0)

Please Yourself!

So there it is. Don't waste any time trying to match the wine to the food. It won't go well. Choose the wine based on what you want to drink.


Originally posted to Fermentation Wine Blog

(CC BY 3.0)