Thanksgiving is a day of appreciation and thanks for our great nation, cherished families, and dear friends.
We at Vino 100 especially look forward to enjoying the delicious meal, and more importantly, we eagerly anticipate helping you enhance your feast with the perfect wines to accompany your holiday menus. We are happy to offer recommendations that will pair deliciously with your dinner menu, with wine choices based on what you and your guests prefer - the flavor and body profiles you enjoy most.
In an ideal world, as a host, you will know what wines each of your guests will enjoy as they relate to the turkey and dressings you are serving. As this is rarely the case, we are happy to help you choose the perfect wines for your Thanksgiving feast, wines that pair with your specific recipes and that please a range of flavor profile preferences.
The way you prepare your turkey and accompanying menu selections is extremely important to the wines you choose. We have narrowed down some of the most common ways Thanksgiving turkey is prepared, pairing them with wine flavor profiles that fit each preparation. You should of course select wines that suit your preferred flavor profile.
Traditional Turkey. Baked with traditional seasonings and stuffed with a simple bread stuffing. The turkey has straight-forward flavors enhanced by the mild spices and seasonings in the stuffing. With this flavor profile look for a wine with a slight herbal personality, such as Sauvignon Blanc; a wine with fresh citric fruit, a touch of herbaceousness and is easily appreciated by many palates and your wallet. Or another choice would be an aromatic wine such as Riesling or Gewurztraminer; New Zealand is a great wine region for these wonderfully aromatic and well balanced wines.
Mediterranean Turkey. Prepared with the hearty flavors of sausage or chestnuts in the stuffing; some wines to consider with this preparation are Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, or Negro Amaro; the first a lighter wine, the latter two, full-bodied wines which pair well with the hearty flavors of the dressing.
Smoked Turkey. A popular way of preparing turkey in many areas of the country, if you are smoking your turkey you must consider what you are using to smoke the bird: apple wood, charcoal, hickory, mesquite, a honey baste. You must also consider your stuffing preparation when making your wine selections. Almost all of these recipes give you a choice of white or red wine. Better yet, offer both! A white to consider is a dry Riesling from the Alsace Region in France or the Clare Valley in Australia as the style of lemon-lime fruits with balanced acidity and pronounced mineral sense is a natural with food and reaches a range of palates. Others you might consider are whites from the Rhone Valley in France. All of these wines have a depth of flavor that pair nicely with the smoked aspect of the bird. The red wines to consider are Pinot Noir, or a long-standing American favorite, Beaujolais Nouveau. Beaujolais Nouveau is the first wine of the new vintage, with all the fanfare that goes with air shipments arriving in the market just a week before Thanksgiving. You may want to consider the traditional Beaujolais as an option as well; while they are less effervescent, they still have the fresh fruit appeal.
Deep Fried Turkey. Now, this is a turkey with a following, especially in the south and southwest. One method of preparation is Cajun style, seasoned with white peppercorns and a Cajun butter marinade. This recipe, needless to say, is for those who like turkey with a spicy kick. A good tip with hot or spicy dishes, or with dishes with a salty flavor, is to choose a wine with a touch of sweetness. A Gewurztraminer is a wine with a rich, slightly honeyed citrus personality along with great acid structure or a German Riesling offers sugar levels that pair very well. Another fried turkey recipe, much less spicy than the other, calls for seasoning with black pepper and a garlic basting. A rich white wine such as oak aged Chardonnay, or the pure and expressive non with apple or pear-like fruit and minerality may be more to your liking. You may consider a lighter red, such as a Pinot Noir or a Grenache from the Mediterranean coast of France or Spain with their bright, juicy raspberry fruit and light tannins will pair well with this flavor profile.
We are happy to offer you these tips in helping you to choose the ideal wines to pair with your Thanksgiving meal. They are no substitute, of course, for a visit to your local Vino 100 store, where you will be treated to a wide variety of wines that suit your taste preferences, and pair ideally with your planned menu. One last suggestion... Don't forget that pumpkin pies and other holiday desserts taste even more delicious with the perfect dessert wine!
Bon Appetit and Happy Thanksgiving!