It's that time of year once again! Starying away from the stereotypical Thanksgiving wine selections like Reisling, Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer, we're venturing way outside of the box to showcase what else us out there for you to pour while waiting for the timer to pop on the Butterball. They don't have that anymore do they?
If you’re wondering why the following wines were chosen as ideal Thanksgiving matches, let’s take into account what these wines share in common. Each of the following red wines were chosen for their bold, red fruit flavors, subtle earthiness, light tannin, and moderate acidity. Why? Because these traits beautifully complement a traditional Thanksgiving menu and here’s how:Red fruit flavors mimic the tartness of cranberry sauce and match well with autumn spices such as clove, allspice, and cinnamon.Light tannin and moderate acidity pair perfectly with the texture and intensity of turkey.Subtle earthiness complements the earthy, umami-rich flavor of gravy. Try something different. If it doesn't work, blame the wine guy who suggested it. I'm always looking out for you all.
Thanksgiving 2018 Wine Suggestions
Wine #1 L’ Ecailler Gros Plant
Pays Nantais, Loire Valley France
Second in production behind Melon de Bourgogne (Muscadet not Moscato) in the Pays Natais, Folle Blanche has a beautiful dry apple fruit tone to it that would compliment turkey, stuffing and many other components of your feast. Light and dry, crowd pleasing and approachable. Even the most discerning wine snob in your family will enjoy this. Folle Blanche is also used in Cognac and Armagnac production which wouldn't be a bad idea for an after dinner drink waiting for all of that Tryptophan to kick in.
Wine #2 Tenuta Santa Maria Lepia Soave
DOC Soave in the Veneto of Italy
Not your grandma's Bolla Soave from the late 70's & early 80's. Soave is a great crossover wine for you Chardonnay drinkers looking for something with body and zero oak influence. The actually grape varietal is called Garganega. In this rendition it is all unoaked similar to the vast majority of Chardonnay's in the Macon of Burgundy. Once you get to the Soave Classico or Superiore classifications then you'll start to see oak influence. So why Soave? Body, lean body with good acidity that will hold up to all of those mashed potatoes you'll be woofing down. Keep in mind that you want to create some sense of balance between wine choice and food. Not as full and robust as a California Chard as you do not want to add anymore weight with all of the food in front of you. Soave has a nice balance especially if you like to smother everything with gobs of gravy.
Wine #3 Domaine Astraly Touraine Noble Joue
Rose after Labor Day? Yes indeed. Rose shines during the holidays. Doubtful? Try it with a glazed ham. Rose has fruit, not sweet fruit, it’s got acidity, it’s got fruit. Chill it down, it’s refreshing. "It’s not too full, it’s not too light. It's perfection. The Astraly is a blend of Pinot Meniuer, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Medium acidity, dry red berry fruit with a hint of that white flesh on a watermelon. It's a great wine you won't get angry when your favorite aunt puts ice cubes in.
Wine #4 Terres Blondes Gamay
Val de Loire
Made famous by Beaujolais, Gamay is also grown in the Loire regions of Côte Roannaise, Côtes du Forez, and Touraine. For Terres Blondes, Henry Marionnet contracts with growers to assemble a well-priced wine for all our Gamay fans. If regular Beaujolais is too fruity for you, try this Touraine in any season, but especially around the holiday table.
Gamay happens to be a great year-round wine. With its low tannin, high acidity, and fresh berry notes, Gamay takes to chilling very nicely and can serve as a refreshing aperitif, an accompaniment to spicy food, or as a warm-weather red.
Wine #5 Tenuta Santa Maria Pragal
This is a new comer to the playing field of holiday wines. Coming all the way from the land of Amarone in Verona, Italy this red blend of Corvina, Merlot and Syrah has a luscious body of dark red fruit, fine tannin and medium+ acidity. If Gamay is just not your thing try this. I keep saying fruit. You want an element of fruit with turkey which is a drier white meat. You can cook it perfectly and it is still a lean dry meat. A fruit component in a wine will help with that. You don't want an overly sweet wine.
Wine #6 Collina Serragrilli Dolcetto d” Alba
Another northern Italian varietal that you should consider for Thanksgiving is Dolcetto. Dry red fruit, medium+ acidity, fine tannin and light body will do the job quite nice. Dolcetto is also another one of those red varietals that will do extremely well with a slight chill on them. I'm implying to drop ice cubes in the wine! Just saying from the most serious wine drinker to your Uncle Joe who insists on drinking wine with ice cubes, Dolcetto will work. The Collina Serragrilli was also very similar to Gamay with an underlying earthiness, nothing too funky, that will compliment the savory notes surrounding the holiday meal.
I'll drink sparkling wines with everything! From a Brut Rose to a Prosecco to a Lambrusco (coincidentally, works great for any holiday) bubbles, bubbles, bubbles make the world go around and makes the flavor POP!! in food! Bubbles and acidity within cut through the fat in most foods creating this explosion of flavors. It's a must have during the holiday.
Don't laugh. Try this combination. During my years as a college professor, one of the projects I gave out was for the students to pick wines out for their holiday dinner. One student wrote that since her Irish family was not into wine that they all created this festive holiday sangria. Hmmm? So I tried it. Sometimes the teacher becomes the learner. Not only did it work, but it's a crowd pleaser and something you can tweek for each holiday. Much like baking holiday cookies with your family except this has alcohol involved which maybe helpful when cooking with your family members.
Whatever you decide, we ask that you be adventurous and drink outside of your comfort zone. Make sure you're creating a sense of balance between whats in your glass and what's on your fork. Above all else, be creative and have fun. It is the holidays after all.