The holidays are a great time to explore new wine varietals, and with so many to choose from, selecting one that hosts and their guests will enjoy can be a challenge. Thanksgiving presents one of the best opportunities of the year to pair wine with an abundance of food.
Paula Glassel, marketing director for Broken Earth Winery in Long Grove, says turkey pairs so nicely with white wine, she recommends a big palate pleaser: Grenache Blanc. She describes the limited release as dry with great acidity, floral notes and creaminess. It matches well with either turkey or ham and provides a contrast to the sweet or savory of multiple side dishes.
Pinot Noir is always a good red wine selection that will match across anything served for Thanksgiving, from a savory turkey to a roast or a lamb. Broken Earth Winery offers a wonderful Pull CdR—a Rhone blend of big fruit & earthiness, and just enough spice to satisfy big red lovers.
Mike Baker, a wine expert at retailer Vin Chicago, believes the best way to kick off your holiday celebration is with a glass of Champagne.
“Thanksgiving is a celebration of things we’re grateful for, and kicking the night off with sparkling wine is an awesome way to welcome guests into your home,” says Baker. He recommends the incredibly versatile Deutz “Brut Classic” Champagne NV to pair with starter dishes, as it’s not too dry, and is generous and fun enough for all wine drinkers to appreciate.
A fruity Zinfandel that’s not too oaky or too heavy and is a versatile pairing with all the fixings on a Thanksgiving table, Baker recommends a 2014 Field Recordings “Old Potrero” Zinfandel (Arroyo Grande, California).
If guests aren’t wine aficionados, and they’re not going to know a Chardonnay from a Grenache Blanc, one sure bet is a Riesling.
“Rieslings can be had with anything from curry to Chinese takeout to sushi to hot wings, because it has a sweet kind of nature to it,” says Christine Anderson-Heller, Marketing Director for Lynfred Winery. “Rieslings pair beautifully with all the fall-inspired foods. It has a beautiful floral note to it, and it’s extremely food-friendly. “
Lynfred has an Octoberfest wine featured for the fall—a Riesling blend that pairs nicely with everything from pork shank to German sausage, and even apple pie.
One thing to remember about wine is that it is a representation of the grapes grown in a specific place, and what makes wine interesting is when it tastes like the place it’s from. If you want to accentuate your typical wine experience this holiday season and taste the place and the tradition and the culture of varietals, visit a local winery or wine shop to talk to the experts.