Hosting Thanksgiving may evoke some stressful questions. What will you serve your recently vegan cousin? Should the stuffing be cooked inside the bird or out? To brine or not to brine? One of the trickiest decisions, especially on Thanksgiving when people will be eating such a wide variety of food, is picking the wine. There’s no need to pick just one wine. In fact, Thanksgiving is the perfect occasion to open (or access) a variety of bottles and get adventurous with food and wine pairings.
We asked some food and wine pros to tell us what they think pairs best with Thanksgiving dinner. Their reccomendations are as varied as the food you’ll be serving so why not pull out your Coravin and enjoy a little of everything.
10. Joe Bastianich, Restaurateur, Wine Exper, TV Personality, Coravin Investor
“A great red to look for this season that works well with more earthy and savory foods found on the thanksgiving table is Langhe Nebbiolo. Root vegetables, dark meat turkey, brussel sprouts, etc., all pair quite nicely with the wine’s barnyard, earthy truffle notes. Some of my favorite producers are Brandini and Roagna. A white that can stand up to foods traditionally considered to accompany red is a wine called Vespa Bianco from the Bastianich winery. Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc with a measure of an indigenous variety called Picolit, the wine is a medium to full bodied white that would complement white or dark meat turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. Both the Vespa Bianco Chardonnay/ Sauvignon blend and Langhe Nebbiolo are bright and acidic enough to help clear the palate, keeping it easy to experience the variety of flavors enjoyed on thanksgiving.”
9. Greg Lambrecht, Inventor of Coravin
“My favorite producers are Francois Cotat who makes a great range of Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc), and Domaine Huet who is a producer of Vouvray (Chenin Blanc). Huet makes an affordable Vouvray called Le Mont that should go perfectly with turkey.”
8. Geoffrey Zakarian, Restaurateur, Author, TV Personality
“I am a lover of everything Michel Chapoutier, who makes the finest Chateauneuf du Pape. I think it marries wonderully with all things Thanksgiving.”
7. Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, Master of Wine
“This is one of the New Wave California Pinot Noir’s made in a more restrained Old World style. It tastes of strawberries, sour cherry with floral and spicy perfume. It’s quite aromatic. Gorgeous and will go great with Thanksgiving Turkey (just as cranberry sauce is paired with turkey for the same reasons!). The savoriness of the turkey meat and dressing make the fruit flavor of the wine pop and vice versa.”
6. Charles Curtis, Master of Wine
“For me, if I can only pick one, I think it must be red burgundy. If you asked me to get a bit more specific, I’d say a wine from the Cote de Beaune, something with body and richness and not too delicate. Pommard Clos des Epeneaux from Comte Armand would be an example of a specific wine; the 2010 is great vintage, still probably on the market in some places.”
5. Lucas Paya, Sommelier
Use your Coravin to pair every single dish with a small glass of wine!
“Thanksgiving dinner perfect wine pairing? Normally, it is very challenging to try to match one single wine to such an array of food components, like those that traditionally served on Thanksgiving Day. The broad collection of ingredients and the classic sweet-sour-bitter and rich side dishes and sauces, which are served alongside the main turkey dish with gravy, make the menu extremely diverse. It is almost impossible to select a solo wine candidate to pair. That said, still and sparkling white wines with expressive fruit character and red wines with low-alcohol & tannin and crisp acidity (coincidentally, Beaujolais appears in the calendar like a good option) will work best. Now, what I am planning to do is to pull out my Coravin and pair every single dish with a different (small) glass of wine… have fun!”
“I’m drinking Burgundy on Thanksgiving. Zin for American patriotism, Beaujolais for seasonality, and Riesling for acidity are all classics and rightly so. But Burgundy wines also happen to be some of the most food-friendly out there – and sometimes you need a special occasion, a reason, to justify drinking a wine that you otherwise wouldn’t. The 2012 white Burgundies are recently out – if you were lucky enough to get your hands on some of the Domaine Leflaive wines, why not tap into one of them and share a glass with someone? It’s a great opportunity to check out a wine in it’s early stages of development – but also leave some to see how it will be showing down the line. Leflaive’s Macon-Verze is one of the most expensive Maconnais whites out there – but it also happens to be one of the best values, given the pedigree and quality of the wine. Minerality, acidity, a little smokiness, bright fruit – what more could you want with a Thanksgiving spread?”
3. Jennifer Ziskin, Owner and Wine Director at La Morra
“I think this is the perfect wine for the Thanksgiving table. The Vietti family has been making wine since the 1900’s and what I love most about them, is they even have family ties to Boston. When we lived in Italy, we were fortunate to become friendly with the Currado Family and we feel so lucky that not only do we get to visit them in Italy when we travel there, but they have joined us at La Morra for wine dinners and for special events many times. The Tre Vigne is the perfect wine for Thanksgiving because it has just the right balance of acidity and fullness. The bright cherries on the nose and on the palate make this a wine you can start drinking as soon as you arrive at your feast and the well-balanced acidity softens the tannins of the Barbera and goes perfectly not only with Turkey, but with all of the accompaniments as well. Asti Barberas are known for their bright fruit and high acidity because these vineyards are given the best exposure to light in the area. The Tre Vigne is no exception and is one of my favorites.”
2. Sabrina Kroeger, Sommelier at ENO Wine Bar DC
“Personally I absolutely love the 2012 Hartford Court Old Vine Zinfandel and would drink that with Thanksgiving Dinner! The bouquet is full of bright cherry and black raspberry aromas, I also get hints of dried rose, black tea and a hint of star anise. On the palate it’s really bright and fruit-forward and has a lively spiciness and good balanced acidity. The finish is elegant and smooth with youthful, fine-grained tannins. It is extremely rich which is why I think it goes absolutely perfectly with the very flavorful traditional Thanksgiving foods – will compliment the roasted turkey flavors nicely and will get along very well with the cranberry sauce.”
1. Rob Fritz, Chelsea Wine Vault
“My wine to pair with Thanksgiving is Jean Foillard Morgon Côte du Py. This is a lighter bodied red wine from Beaujolias (Southern Burgundy) made from the Gamay grape. The flavors in this wine remind me of a roast rack of lamb covered in herbs and cherries. There is plenty of balancing acidity in this wine which makes it a terrific food wine and helps the wine age gracefully for a decade or more. I suggest aging this wine to those who are incredibly patient!”