Rather than follow any strict guidelines for wine on this special day, why not think outside the turkey, for a change?
And it is never too early to buy your turkey day wine, as some may not be available due to production issues and smoke taint in various wine producing regions.
I assume most of you are having roasted, barbecued, or fried turkey, maybe a ham, or both? Some of you are going vegan or vegetarian. Many of my Hispanic friends will have tamales. And my Japanese friends will have sushi. And some of you will go out.
How did all of this start?
A woman named Sarah Josepha Hale lobbied Congress for years to make Thanksgiving an official holiday.
If it wasn’t for this determined woman, Thanksgiving wouldn’t exist today. Hale’s allegiance to Thanksgiving began in 1827 and was based in national pride; she hoped to make it “permanently, an American custom and institution.” It wasn’t until 1863 that President Lincoln finally declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. Seeing as the President did this in throws of the Civil War, Thanksgiving is considered by some to be an attempt on behalf of the president to bring some peace back to the country.
I always try to find a special appetizer. Perhaps some foie gras from Budapest from a previous trip. Or some smoked omul from Russia. Or our dear friends, Jim and Billie’s homemade olives?
Of course, the one adult beverage that goes with most everything is a sparkling wine. Today, I selected a brut rose’ from Domaine Carneros or Laetitia Vineyards. Sparklings can carry your dinner from start to finish!
With my turkey, I prefer a lighter white wine, rather than a heavy, oaky chardonnay. My choice is a dry Riesling. Or if you can find one, a Chenin blanc or even a Pinot blanc on the dry side. Both seem to go better with the drier breast meat that everyone likes on the holiday bird. It also pairs well with your Thanksgiving side dishes.
Maybe you can offer a rose’ to those who are willing to try a rather different pairing. While I do not drink rose’s often, I can certainly see the possibility with breast meat and some of the sides like dressing and the main vegetable side dish.
For those of you who like the dark meat, my suggestions are three-fold. Once, is a lighter Pinot Noir, maybe from Oregon or the Central Coast. The other is a medium Bordeaux, a few years old, begging to be opened today. A third, more daring choice, would be a Petit Sirah. I would stay away from a heavy Cab.
What will I pour? I will start with a tradition, the Domaine Carneros brute rose’. But for the main meal, I may opt for a dry Riesling. And for dessert? Still undecided!!!
But the challenge is to find a dessert wine that goes with pumpkin pie. My choice is the Italian dessert wine, Passito. If you go with chocolate, one of my vintage ports will work well. Pecan pie is a challenge with its sweetness, perhaps something off the wall, like a brandy or cognac. And for some of you, one of my gifted Cuban cigars?
Whatever you do, please be daring and try numerous combinations. You might discover something great! And when I say think “out of the box”, please do not discount boxed wines. There are some decent ones out there. And if you put it in a carafe, your guests may never really know!!!!