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What wines to get for Thanksgiving

Everybody drinks loads of wine at Thanksgiving and the following weeks. And I’m going to share the secret behind my specialty dish: the wine. 😀

If you’re in charge of the Thanksgiving wine (and somebody should be in charge or it might be complete chaos!) then you should remember a few basic ground rules. And I’d honestly take any advice with the words “beaujolais nouveau” with a big grain of salt.

How to make Thanksgiving perfect:

  1. Small & Small Pinot at the Thanksgiving table
    Small & Small Pinot at a lovely Thanksgiving table photo: Vanessa Ochoa

    Respect the turkey. Get wine that actually goes well with turkey – not a HUUGE wine that completely smothers your bird and makes the fowl taste foul. Turkey is a delicate and capricious holiday meat that can easily be overwhelmed and it has totally different flavors in the white meat and dark meat… that’s why you go Pinot. This wine will taste great with the white flaky stuff, fantastic with the darker meat, and it’ll cut right through the thick gravy no matter how much you ladle on.

  2. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. The biggest mistake is only buying wine for the big meal. You’re gonna be around family alllll day. And you’re going to get thirsty the day before and all weekend too. Get a nice stash of value wines so that you don’t run out before Saturday. Plus a couple less expensive bottles makes it easier to open wine. And deal with your insufferable in-laws or that friendly neighbor with the unquenchable thirst of a thousand suns.
  3. Don’t neglect the lighter wines. It’s easy to focus on big food wines and powerful reds. But while you’re in the kitchen, over the grill, watching the big game, or reviving your Uncle from a tryptophan coma, you NEED cool white wines too and high acidity refreshing reds that quench your thirst and don’t weigh you down. Don’t neglect the light stuff.
  4. Finish as strong as you start. You’re getting close to the end of the meal. You don’t know if you can squeeze any more food in – oh just one slice of pie. And just one of glass of wine. Make it a good one. My recommendation? A big fortified or dessert wine that pairs great with sweets and also finishes your meal off with a nice big punch of delicious fruit.
  5. Sparkling is your secret weapon. People think that sparkling wine is for toasting and only drink it to celebrate or to open a meal. But it is an incredibly versatile food wine with unparalleled acidity and freshness that make it delicious with almost any food. It can also vary from sweet and juicy to rich and robust so you can get a sparkling that’s perfect for just about any occasion. The only drawback to bubbly is that it tends to disappear very quickly so if you open it with more than 4 people, don’t expect to get a second pour. You might want to stock up. Also notice I haven’t said Champagne. I love Champagne, especially for finer food pairings, but Prosecco can be insanely popular because of its softer juicier sweeter side.
  6. Finally, treat the most important person in your life: YOU. Get a really nice bottle of something special that you wouldn’t normally allow yourself and don’t open it for just anybody. Keep it for yourself and maybe that special someone. You deserve it.

There you go. You’re ready to conquer Thanksgiving and make everything go well. If you’re a Naked Angel, you’ve funded some incredible wines that will be just perfect for Thanksgiving 2015.

Tapatia Pinot Noir next to a plate of mashed sweet potato mash, gravy, turkey and cornbread stuffing
La Tapatia Pinot Noir next to a plate of mashed sweet potato mash, gravy, turkey and cornbread stuffing. photo: Dalia Ceja

Bonus tip for the person in charge of drinks:

Kids have taste buds too. Have some alcohol-free options that are interesting to drink and can teach the kids how to appreciate great tastes (other than coca cola!) I like drier drinks so my favorites are along the lines of Arnold Palmers with a bit of ginger and mint and iced tea made with real green tea. If you do want to indulge a sweet tooth, virgin daiquiris are as popular as you’d expect delicious fruity slushies to be!

2 replies on “What wines to get for Thanksgiving”

Thanks Ryan – this was really helpful when putting a case together for someone’s Thanksgiving 🙂 Had to include a Pinot Noir!

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