Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and as you're planning the menu, choosing the right wine can be a stressful decision. Walking into a retail wine shop tends to be overwhelming, and choosing the wrong wine can disappoint your guests.
Find a Wine for Thanksgiving Dinner
Unlike pairing foods with a chosen wine, your job now is to find a wine that goes with Thanksgiving dinner. The problem here is that Thanksgiving dinner is full of different flavors. White meat, or dark meat? Sweet yams, tangy cranberries, stuffing full of spices, and finally pumpkin pie… they all give you different flavors.
How can you find a wine that will satisfy you and your guests? Here's a brief guide to help you choose the right wine for Thanksgiving dinner:
While guests are arriving, you can serve a bubbly or sparkling wine. When served alone, my guests prefer a sweet sparkling wine, but if you intend to carry the bubbly to the table, look for dry (or Brut).
Once at the table, you can serve white or red wine, depending on your guests' preferences. When choosing a white, Chardonnay is typically a safe bet, but stay away from Chardonnay on Thanksgiving! The oak isn't going to pair well, and you want to choose a wine that's cool & crisp, such as a Riesling (sorry, Todd) or Gewurztraminer.
The red wine to bring to your Thanksgiving dinner could be Pinot Noir or Beaujolais Nouveau. Beaujolais Nouveau is a wine that's always released the 3rd Thursday of November, making Thanksgiving an ideal time to try this year's release.
Wine at Dessert
When the pumpkin pie comes out, stick with Gewurztraminer or open a Port wine. Personally, I tend to start with sweet whites, then move to dry white, then red wines. So if I'm drinking Pinot Noir with dinner, I wouldn't go back to Gewurztraminer at dessert.
One Wine, All Day
If you're going to try to only serve 1 bottle all day, a sweet Gewurztraminer is where you should lean. But Thanksgiving dinner is an event in itself, so limiting yourself to just one type of wine takes away from the event.
The most important thing is to know your guests and their tastes. I already know who's coming to dinner, and what I'm going to offer them, which means we'll have many different wines opened at dinner. My wife, sister-in-law, and aunt will be drinking sweet white wine, while I'll have a Pinot Noir with dinner (probably from Gold Medals Pinot Noir Wine Club).