Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather around a table with friends and family to enjoy the seasons best foods. It is also the perfect to try a new wine, and if you aren’t sure which wines pair best with which foods, don’t feel bad; many people do not know how to choose the right wine to serve Thanksgiving dinner. We have a suggestion for you. Why not serve several? No, you don’t need to buy out the local liquor store, but having several choices for your guests gives them the opportunity to try a wine they’ve never had before, and maybe find a new favorite.
Start with a crisp, dry white wine such as Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Sauvignon Blanc to serve with your appetizers. Dry white wines contains residual sugar that is less than one percent, perfect for those who do not enjoy sweet wines. Since some Rieslings can be sweet, make sure it says "Kabinett" on the label if you want a dry wine. Dry white wines tend to be light and refreshing, and complement hors d’oeuvres such as baked Brie, baked ham and cheese rollups, or sourdough slices with seafood dip.
For your main course, you should have a few options available. For a person new to red wine, a Beaujolais Nouveau, released on November 15th every year, is a wonderful way to make the transition from white to red. This highly drinkable wine has less tannins due to the short fermentation time (6 - 8 weeks), and a whole berry fermentation technique which preserves the fresh, fruity quality of this wine without extracting bitter tannins from the grape skins. Flaunted as the “quintessential food wine” by some, this adaptable wine pairs just as well with turkey and ham as it does with roast beef, veal, or lamb.
Last but certainly not least, are your dessert wines. A dessert consisting of milk chocolate is complemented by a sweet Riesling or Muscato, and dark chocolate pairs with Merlot or Petit Syrah. If your dessert contains semisweet chocolate (think warm, gooey, chocolate chip cookies) Pinot Noir is a great choice.
In a good relationship, each member brings out the best in one another. Likewise, the key to a great food and wine pairings are that each item makes the other taste better; the wine brings out the flavors of the food, and the food makes the wine taste even better. If you accomplish that, you’ve found yourself the perfect match.
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