Just thinking about next week excites my inner foodie. This grand affair we all know as Thanksgiving Day. The feast shared by our ancestors has continued for generations and I think it’s safe to assume, has no end in sight. Some of us, talents in the kitchen, prefer to host this meal in our home. While others, enjoy traveling and enjoying the hard work produced by friends and family. One of my favorite parts of this feast takes much longer to produce than the average meal. You guessed it- wine! In a past life, I peddled this scarlet water to some of the finest establishments in West Texas. Serving the largest territory among my peers, I had a lot of time to think on the road. Part of my training, was to learn about the relationship between food and wine and to taste different wines. Yes, the research was exhausting and time consuming, but someone had to do it. I learned about flavor profiles, texture and acidity just to name a few. So, without further ado, here is a wine pairing guide for Thanksgiving. Oh, you might want to make-up your guest room…just in case.
A wine mentor once told me, “balance acidity with acidity.” This advice has stuck with me for years and it hasn’t let me down so far. A sparkling white can actually take you through the entire meal. Appetizers tend to be fatty or salty and this is easily balanced with the crisp effervescence. Sparkling white wines also stand up well with turkey and dressing providing a little punch of flavor against the richness of the dressing. Last but not least, dessert. This affair comes in all shapes, sizes and flavors. Don’t be fooled by this bubbly (sort of girlie) drink. If you want to offset the sweet decadence before you- a little acidity goes along way. A crisp, lemony, grassy New Zealand sauvignon blanc is also a great choice if you want to offer a contrast to the sometimes-heavy side dishes.
Zinfandel (go big or go home)
Probably one of the biggest wines you will come up against is a BIG-RED-ZIN. Not for sissies, this wine can sweep you off your feet if you aren’t expecting it. Big flavor and lots of alcohol. Nothing says Thanksgiving like a big glass of jammy, peppery, full-bodied zinfandel. Dark meat turkey and cranberry sauce provide a lovely backdrop to this scene stealer.
Ahh, rosé. Delicate, soft but not understated. Rosé tends to exhibit a lean, fruitiness with hints of citrus or berry and moderate acidity. The type of rosé will depend on the profile, but you can’t go wrong with a pinot noir rosé or syrah rosé in my opinion. This wine pairs really well with turkey and mashed potatoes.
When you think of thanksgiving food profiles, herbs probably come to mind. Syrah is a great partner for herb-infused dressing, white and dark meat as well. This wine can exhibit a bold berry punch that finishes on a peppery note making it a complex wine capable of tying the whole meal together.