Are you scared of wine on Thanksgiving?
If not, you probably havenā€™t been reading enough wine columns!
One of the biggest canards about wine writing is the annual
Thanksgiving article. For some reason, bland, boring turkey is touted as
a difficult food for wine. Then of course there’s the tart or sickly
sweet cranberry sauce, the lumpy gravy, and the oysters in the stuffing.
And everyone knows those tiny marshmallows on top of the sweet potato
casserole are just murder on your palate.
The Keepers of the Keys to the Kingdom (a.k.a., wine
columnists) waste their ink and our time every November reinforcing this
supposed fear of wine on Turkey Day with their vinous dicta of what not
to drink with this or that item on the menu.
Come off it folks. With so many different flavors on the
table, any wine is going to pair well with something. We may need to be
careful about what we eat just before taking a sip, but if there’s a
theme to wine with Thanksgiving dinner, it should be, “Open One of
I typically enjoy a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau with
Thanksgiving dinner. Oh, I know, Nouveau is a tacky marketing gimmick,
and I just urged you in my November column in Washingtonian to look
beyond Nouveau to the delicious, intriguing wines of the Beaujolais
crus. But think about it ā€“ Beaujolais Nouveau is a celebration of the
recent harvest, just as is Thanksgiving. And its light grapey sweetness
can be mitigated by, even as it pairs well with, the various flavors of
the Thanksgiving table.
If thereā€™s an indispensable wine with Thanksgiving dinner,
it surely has bubbles. A Spanish Cava or Italian Prosecco for an
aperitif, or a Californian sparkler or Champagne with the meal ā€“ what a
wonderful combination of celebration and food. (The acidity in
sparkling wine is a great palate cleanser, making it ideal with a lot of
different cuisines.) From California, look for sparklers by Iron Horse, Domaine Carneros or Roederer Estate (especially the rosĆ©). From Champagne, look for Jacquesson (pronounced ā€œJacksonā€), Pierre Gimonnet et Fils, Gaston Chiquet or Chartogne-Taillet.
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