Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Wine – Drink Something Wonderful

At Thanksgiving, the wine shops are packed with people, many of whom are fretting about the endless choices and what’s the “right” pairing for turkey. There are many wine writers who will provide Thanksgiving wine advice, and, for the first time, I’ve decided to join them.

It’s been widely written that there is no single, “perfect” wine to serve at this feast. What matches with your turkey may taste dreadful with your cranberry sauce. Some people say, put out a white and red and let your guests decide. I’d say that’s a good guideline, but I’d like to provide an additional thought.

Think of thanksgiving as a fancy dinner, one that you have slaved over, one where you want to enjoy yourself to the fullest. After all, it’s a national holiday devoted to food (and family, but where I’m from the two always go together).

What is the wine you love most in the world? For me, it’s lovely red Burgundies with a little age on them. I am serving a 2006 Domaine Pavelot Savigny-les-Beaune premier cru La Dominode, selected with help from my new friend, Ian, from the Wine Library. I told Ian I love Gevrey Chambertin, and (since the bulk of their Gevreys were north of $70) he guided me to this wine, a few villages south of Gevrey but offering the flavors that should delight my palate at a more modest price.

I think my Burgundy will work with most of what I’m serving: turkey, pan gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes. The vegetables – they’re on their own, I am not worried about what works with them. Basically, cover your plate in brown gravy and reds work fine.

But, I would argue, if you love white wine, then serve that. Or Champagne. There are some wines that might be too heavy; big tannic reds would probably stomp all over your palate and not help you enjoy what’s on your plate. But rather than worry about what wine is “right”, think about what wine you love. It’s a special day, a rare occasion when we all can pause and take a moment to enjoy the people closest to us. Toast that with a wine worthy of the occasion.


  1. Sounds great. I will be hosting a four course dinner and the theme will be Old World v New World, Sancerre v Marlborough. two expressions of Sauv Bl and Pinot Noir with each dish. Should be fun!

  2. Hey, Robert, that's sounds like lots of fun. I especially love Sancerre. Enjoy!