Thanksgiving Wine: No Rules

This week my email box is flooded with articles about the "Perfect Wine Pairing for Thanksgiving." As always, these articles suggest Pinot Noir.  I cannot help myself, but I need to jump in here as I think back to the "old days" when I wrote about wine

Pinot Noir is absolutely a great choice for pairing with the Thanksgiving turkey, and even with ham. I certainly have my favorite Pinot Noirs from Oregon, as well those from Burgundy. There is no denying the safe direction of Pinot Noir, but hold on here - - it's Thanksgiving! We grace our table with lots of food, and a variety - from Aunt Alice's Jello salad to Grandpa's favorite chestnut stuffing to the Duck Pâté En Croûte brought by jet-setter Cosette, Uncle Tony's new girlfriend. So, why are we limiting our table of abundance to one kind of wine?  
One of my favorite Pinot Noirs from Oregon
Bring it all to the table! No matter the wine, bring it to the table! Place several bottles on the table and plenty of varietals. Start the dinner with a toast using a favorite bubbly: from high-end priced Champagne or the more affordable French Cremants, Spanish Cavas, Italian Proseccos, and domestics. The crisp acidic bubbly pairs well with everything, including the southern-fried turkey, and even cuts the richness of the gravies and sauces. 
Spanish Cava; tasty and affordable bubbly. 
Bring out the dry crisp pretty pink French or French-inspired rosés! (It's my contribution to the Thanksgiving table) They also pair nicely with the turkey, and even ham (remember the Rosés for Easter ham). Also, bring out the Riesling and Gewurztraminer, dry and off-dry. They pair with the stuffing, the sweet potatoes, cranberries, bacon-laden Brussels sprout, and even Aunt Alice's famous Jello strawberry salad. 
Miraval Rose: soft flavors, yet dry and the bottle is a plus. 
While I am not a fan of sweet fruit "country" wines, I have to admit I've tasted cranberry wine, and it wasn't too bad. The acid from the cranberries rather equaled out the sweetness of the wine. This is a good example of a wine to bring to the table for Great-Grandma who is only use to drinking communion wine. It will stay in tradition of the Thanksgiving feast, and keep the sweet wine palates happy, too. Also consider a Lambrusco for those who desire a sweet wine. Lambrusco isn't too sweet or cloying, but the little bit of natural bubbles adds to the character of the wine. 
Lambrusco di Modena
Yes, even put a bottle of Chardonnay on the table for Cousin Buffy who still talks about the 1980's when she was a rock band groupie, and continues to wear lots of hairspray and very high shoulder pads.  Can't stand the thought of a bottle of Chard on the table? You wine snob, you.  Go Old World French with the Chardonnay, and place a bottle of Pouilly-Fuissé or Chablis on the table. Also, don't be offended if Cousin Kit brings her box of White-Zinfandel. Just be prepared to drain the box into a pretty carafe or decanter and place it in front of her. 
 Chardonnay, but from France with a fancier name.
Now, about that big dark Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah that stains the teeth and actually doesn't pair well with the delicate breast of turkey, but Grandpa Albert and Uncle Leonard really likes these big bold tannic monsters... Put it on the table. It's Grandpa Albert's and Uncle Leonard's Thanksgiving, too. At least place a bottle of Merlot or a red blend on the table for those red wine lovers. 
Chateau Ste Michelle: Always easy to find on the shelves
Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé! You might be caught up on Beaujolais Nouveau Day, which officially starts today. In France on the third Thursday in November (which "conveniently" just happens around the American Thanksgiving) wine lovers celebrate the first wine of the season - a Gamay that is harvested this year, and meant to drink very young - the same year. Under French law, the wine is released at 12:01 a.m., however it is basically aging in the bottle by the time it reaches America, as we receive it the week of or a few days before the "official" release date. The wine isn't bad for what it is, and really pairs well with the turkey. Note, there are various labels of Beaujolais Nouveau. George Duboeuf is the most popular and easier to access, but not necessarily the "finest." My rule of thumb when it comes to indulging in this brilliant marketing scheme is to drink this wine through the holidays, and at the very least finish your stash by New Year's Day. 
Drouhin label (France & Oregon USA) always a good choice.
Wines for the Thanksgiving table do not have to be expensive, either. During this time of the year there are many good holiday buys. Also, you may discover that the imports are often a good value. Just remember when it comes to Thanksgiving wines, bring everything and all to the table. There are no rules. Thanksgiving is about enjoying the feast of abundance, and enjoying each other's company.  Cheers! 

*The above suggested wines are some of my personal favorites, and in no way receiving any compensation.


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