Wine for Thanksgiving?

Zinfandels seem to get a lot of action from wine critics as an appropriate paring for the Turkey Day feast. Any other suggestions?



ChefJune November 2, 2011
Personally, I don't think Red Zinfandel goes well with all the components of Thanksgiving Dinner. I think it got its rep because it's touted as an American grape. I think that although it's fruity, it's too high in alcohol and often not well balanced.

Beaujolais Nouveau (released on the third Thursday of November (conveniently) is a pretty good pairing for the rather sweet dishes many Americans serve for Turkey Day. I always offer a white wine as well -- not oaky, and a sparkling.

If you want to stick with American wines for Thanksgiving, Gruet from New Mexico makes a tasty and very affordable sparkling wine, and for your red, I'd go with a California Pinot Noir (also most are fruit forward).
Sugar O. November 2, 2011
Where you live (and how well-stocked your local wine shops are) will definitely impact your options. For the folks who tend to think red wine is too "heavy", you could probably please them with a Beaujolais Nouveau, as others have suggested -- hard to go wrong with a light, fruity red like that. More interesting, however, would be a Cru Beaujolais, which can hail from 10 different designated zones ("crus") within the Beaujolais region...they're fuller bodied than a nouveau (but still on the lighter side as reds go) and almost reminiscent of a pinot noir. Other off-the-beaten-path reds that are still "light" enough to pair with turkey include zweigelt from Austria or lagrein from northern Italy (those are the grapes - your wine shop can recommend a producer). A medium-bodied pinot would be lovely too. As for whites, even though I enjoy it, gewurtztraminer tends to polarize (one of those love-it or hate-it wines), so an off-dry Riesling (upstate NY has lots of delicious options) is a safer bet. I love Gruner Veltliner from Austria - it's definitely become more widely available, so you can probably find that at your local wine store - or perhaps a Godello from Spain. Lots of earlier replies mention sparklers -- if you're buying on a budget, Italian Prosecco or Spanish Cava offer many great values (and if you're keeping your Turkey day all-American, then look for Gruet from New Mexico - it's a real find, and a bargain at that).
Sugar O. November 2, 2011
P.S. I meant to throw in a plug for "What to Drink with What You Eat" by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg -- it's a fantastic (and in my house, well-thumbed) resource for food and wine pairing.
dymnyno November 2, 2011
If you want to stick to great domestic wines and want a sparkling wine, Schramsberg makes some great ones! Also von Strasser makes the only domestic Gruner Veltliner. All his wines are great.
Helen's A. November 2, 2011
We usually find a beaujolais nouveau. It's always fun to see what this year's wine is like! Usually a port with coffee at the end of the meal, if the food coma hasn't set in yet...
aargersi November 2, 2011
I miss Sasha
dymnyno November 2, 2011
We usually start with our Chardonnay (Cubic Zirconium) . For the main course, the turkey, we usually find a beaujolais nouveau , usually released about the same time as the holiday. Later, we move into our Syrah, then Cab Franc... The simplest answer is beaujolais nouveau.
SKK November 1, 2011
Yes to what everyone has said. And a friend of mine is the wine guy for the Seattle Times. I love his irreverence and his creativity and the way he speaks about all the wines he gets to taste. These two articles he wrote opened my eyes completely to wine pairings for Thanksgiving. So red, white, sparkling wines, champagnes - the fun is the tasting and talking about it.
hardlikearmour November 1, 2011
Dymnyno would be a good person to ask. I'm not sure if she's getting messages currently, but wouldn't hurt to try!
Sam1148 November 1, 2011
Champagne. Last year we brought 3 bottles to my partner's sister T-day. (which we had to deploy after the meal in diffrence to her husbands very Southern Baptist mother--old people need their respect).

We brought one Veuve Clicquot..nice bottle nice 'bling'..but what every one enjoyed was CostCo brand Kirkland..with the not so classy label. I did agree with the was more crisp and less fruity.
I'm not a big fan of overly sweet 'discount' Champagne, sparkling wine. But the CostCo product was amazingly dry and crisp. Not a pretty bottle tho if that's an issue.
beyondcelery November 1, 2011
Since many of the people in our family are sensitive to the sulfites in red wines, we tend to also offer a sparkling pinot grigio. I think it's especially great with the yam and vegetable dishes.
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