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Best Wines To Go With Turkey
Ahh, the smell of turkey roasting away, potatoes bubbling on the stovetop, and the pies all baked and steaming on the countertop. These are the staples of a holiday meal, but when your guests arrive, the first thing they’ll want is a drink. And what to serve with the turkey?
The challenge that the host faces at Thanksgiving dinner is all the flavors that are on the table. When pairing wine with food there are many options and even the most traditional of Thanksgiving dinners are open to all different kinds of wine.
Appetizers are a great way to begin the Thanksgiving tradition. It sets a tone and gives everyone a chance to mingle and meet before the meal. Here are two options that are bound to please at least 50% of your guests. A light sparkling wine of any kind and for those football fans here is a real treat “Biere de Champagne”. It is bubbly, but still has the yeasty flavor of well brewed beer.
Since turkey has both dark and light meat. White wines and red wines are both appropriate. It will also provide guests a choice. For red wine a Pinot Noir would be an excellent choice. It has very little tannin so it will not overwhelm the meat. Pinot Noir is the obvious choice, and while a classy bottle from Burgundy might be just the thing for small holiday gatherings, there are plenty more moderately priced options that you won’t mind splashing around a bit during your feast.
Several high quality less expensive Pinot Noirs are available from Chile and a few from California though these tend to go up again in price.
Another great red wine option is a Carmenere, also from Chile. A relative of Cabernet (and we really should invite relatives to these special occasions now and then shouldn’t we?) Carmeneres are rich and complex though lighter than a Cabernet or Merlot, making them a good pairing for turkey, especially with dark meat.
They are typically very inexpensive; quality Carmenere can usually be found for around $10-$12. Don’t let the low price fool you or your guests out of this pleasurable wine experience; just make sure to peel the price tag off before serving so aunt Ethel won’t turn up her nose without a taste.
No matter what you choose to serve, remember to put down the peeler, open your wine, and let it take a deep breath with you about 15 minutes or so before your guests arrive.
It is also important to consider those guests who prefer white wine. Most chardonnays are fermented in oak barrels and have a great flavor. There are so many choices, anything in your price range will probably serve the purpose well. An oaky Carneros Chardonnay from California can complement the rustic and earthy nature of some holiday foods though it may overwhelm the turkey itself.
A nice dry Sancerre should leave none disappointed and will go quite nicely with tart cranberry sauce or garlicky haricot vert (green beans) should these delicacies be found alongside the turkey on your table. Sancerre is also a fabulous compliment to spreadable cheeses, shellfish, and raw vegetables, which makes it a good choice to offer as your guests file in before dinner.
If sweet potatoes are a big part of the meal experts say that a good Riesling may be exactly what you are looking for. It is high in acid and will help cut through the richness. A sparkling wine is also a good option. A little Champagne may make those sweet potatoes extra special.
And of course, there should be Champagne, at least enough to fill everyone’s glass for a toast to health, happiness, and the joys of living to excess a minimum of two or three times a year.
Most guests coming to Thanksgiving dinner will ask what they can bring. A savvy hostess will not ask them to cook, but bring a favorite wine. This way everyone will have something that they truly enjoy. It gets a little tricky, but have enough appropriate glasses within each reach for all the wines available.
What is one of your favorite wines to serve with turkey?
Looking for delicious side dishes to serve at your holiday meal?