What Wines Go Well With Thanksgiving Dinner?
Wine specialists at Gary's Wine and Marketplace and Bottle King talk about how to select wines for each course of the annual dinner.
Preparing Thanksgiving dinner can be a daunting task. So much attention is paid on what to eat, it can be difficult to know what kind of drinks to serve, especially wine.
It can be tricky to select wines that compliment the various flavors included in the meal.
But have no fear – Patch met with wine experts from Gary’s Wine and Marketplace and Bottle King to get the low down on this season’s best wines, so you can focus on the turkey and keep the kids from playing hide and seek in the kitchen.
Chris Freudenreich, a wine associate at Gary’s, said that one of the mistakes hosts make when they serve wine is serving white wine too cold and red wine too warm. He recommends a host take a bottle of white out of the fridge 20 minutes before guests arrive, to avoid iciness, and put a red in the fridge for 20 minutes before they arrive.
“You get more flavor this way,” he said.
Appetizers: Open up the Palate
Freudenreich said a light sparkling wine is ideal.
“Champagne, a prosecco, or a cava will open the palate and will put people in a festive mood,” Freudenreich said.
Steve Carpentier, general manager at Bottle King, recommends Riesling wines, which are dry, sweet whites wines.
“Rieslings have hints of melon, peach, and citrus that make it match well with light appetizers and cheeses,” Carpentier said.
Main Course: Go Light
Freudenreich said a host can go with white or red wine, or both, with dinner, as long as the wines aren’t too heavy or acidic. He said a sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon or a red zinfandel are not ideal pairings.
“Lighter wines will match a broader range of foods,” Freudenreich said.
For a white, Freudenreich recommends a Riesling or a buttery chardonnay.
“The body of a chardonnay will hold up against the heavier foods like mashed potatoes and turkey,” he said.
For a red, Freudenreich said pinot noirs are popular because they’re mild, and everyone likes them. Carpentier agreed.
“A pinot noir matches very well with poultry,” Carpentier said.
Dessert: Keep the Sweetness
Freudenreich said to go for a wine that’s slightly sparkling and has a touch of sweetness, like a port, Moscato or a Moscato Dasti, and to avoid anything too dry, because it might make take away from the taste of the dessert.
Carpentier said to go with any ice wine, which usually comes in a half bottle, for dessert. Ice wines are made from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. They still contain a lot of residual sugar by the time they’re pressed. There is an article on Gary's Web site with dessert recepies and what wines to pair with them.
“An ice wine is like drinking peach juice,” Carpentier said. “It’s concentrated, so you can sip it like brandy. It matches well with most desserts.”
Appetizers: 2008 Natalie Verga — $9.99 at Gary’s. This sparkling wine goes well with cheeses, fruit, and nuts, Freudenreich said.
2010 Baron Zett Mosel Reisling — $7.95 at Bottle King. This sweet wine, from Germany, has hints of lime, citrus, and green apple.
Main Course: 2010 Jacob Heims Riesling — $8.97 at Gary’s. This wine goes well with poultry and it’s not too dry.
2009 1883 Chardonnay — $14.99 at Gary’s. This wine, which has flavors of oak and vanilla, is easy to drink and is full-bodied enough to stand up to Thanksgiving dinner.
2009 Going Forward Pinot Noir — $16.99 at Gary’s. This earthy red wine has cherry fruit notes that fit well with earthy flavors like cranberries, Freudenreich said.
2009 Calera Central Coast Pinot Noir — $19.98 at Bottle King. This light wine pairs well with poultry, Carpentier said.
Dessert: 2010 Besitos Moscato — $7.99 at Gary’s. A sparkling wine produced in Valencia.