Here's the first rule of the eating and drinking game. Drink something you really enjoy, this supercedes food and wine pairing. If you are having a rare get together with your wine buddies and are dying to try certain bottles you've been saving, drink them. You can find some food on the table that will work with them or you can drink them on the couch before or after dinner. Whatever you do the pleasure principle is paramount.
The ideal of course is to harmonize the food and wine. The traditional Thanksgiving dinner is a harvest feast featuring autumnal flavors such as; tangy cranberries, roasted or baked root veggies, gooey casseroles, spicy, rich and fatty stuffing, turkey, sometimes on the dry side, and rich creamy sauces and gravies.
All moral equivalency aside there are clearly some wines that do this spread much more justice than others. In my order of preference I choose:
First light to medium bodied flavorful reds not super high in alcohol and without much oak. To name but a few: Pinot Noir, mid level Bordeaux (and Burgundy), lighter Italian reds like Dolcetto, Barbera, softer Nebbiolo based wines. From Spain lighter Riojas, From the US all the favorite varietals are fair game as long as they are not alcohol or oak monsters, cab, merlot, even zin.
Second, full bodied (not heavy) flavorful whites also with reasonable degrees of alcohol and oak. Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio are the most popular whites we sell so I say an appropriate Chardonnay (white Burg, Long Island, California with little or no oak), Pinot Grigio is too light but the Northern European producers make grea Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gewurtz, Gruner, Sauv Blanc.
And finally dry rosé can be ideal. You could use the lighter quaffing rosés of summer but look for more serious rosés that drink and chill like a white but have the intensity and flavor profile of a red. Our Fleming Jenkins rosé, Paige 23
and finally dry rosé can be ideal. You could use the lighter quaffing rosés of summer but look for more serious rosés that drink and chill like a white but have the intensity and flavor profile of a red. Our Paumanok rosé, Avanthia rosé and Borasao rosé are big wines that are great foils for this feast. Llopart rosé is a sparkling wine from Spain, made in the Champagne method that is fresh and festive. I list rosé last only because it is so summery although, I've served a rosé Champagne, for a full meal, from start to finish, including the dessert for a dining experience I remember from ten years ago, and I usually can't remember what I ate yesterday. There is a lot of flexibility with Thanksgiving which can be a wine adventure if you have adventuresome wine geeks over or you can tone it down and let the wine play a supporting role if wine isn't everyone's passion. In the end wine is a beverage whose highest purpose is to enhance our meals.