I’ve been getting lots of emails asking which wines are best to serve with Thanksgiving dinner. The big question seems to resonate in finding a wine or wines that pair easily with a variety of unique aromas, flavors, textures and tastes. Folks this year also want inexpensive choices. With the economy in the tank and the need to serve a crowd, dollars spent have become an important sentiment in regards to wine consumption.
Many have asked to recommend a wine to carry them through appetizers and continue to please all through dessert. Wow, that’s a hard one, but I’ll think about it. It’s not an impossible request.
And some want to change wines with every course, accenting varying components of their meal. I applaud you for this.
Pairing wines with food is definitely a matter of personal preference, however, I do feel there are some that go well with most traditional Thanksgiving fare. Wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Riesling and Gewurztraminer are wonderful choices for those of you who prefer white wine varietals. For red-lovers, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Syrah/Shiraz are your best bet.
For Thanksgiving, you want a wine with a light-medium body. They will be less complex and lower in tannic structure, allowing the wine to better suit the many flavors this meal has to offer.
Over the next few weeks I will be on the lookout for wines I feel are worthy of your holiday celebration.
Today, I want to start with Riesling (REEZ-ling). Overall, Riesling is made very dry or fairly sweet. It is an excellent wine to serve if any of your dishes have a bit of spice in them.
Riesling is a very unassuming white wine, recently becoming very hip and fresh among wine-drinkers. It’s the rage and it rocks. You should try it, if you haven’t already.
There’s also a famous saying among wine-trade insiders, “When it comes to wine, folks talk dry, but they drink sweet.” It seems as if lots of people love a wine with a bit of residual sugar in it. Who knew? Okay, I’ll admit I did.
When drinking Riesling, consider it as one of the most transparent of wine varietals and in a sense pure. Tannins and oak nuances are not there to mask its sweetness as in some of your other favorite varietal wines.
Riesling is vinified in a range of sweetness levels, some of which can be very vibrant with food pairings.
The American style of Riesling is a bit different from the German style spatlese (shpayt-layz-eh) version. A good spatlese will cut right through the mouth-coating consistency of a cream sauce. While the American style will drink a bit more sweet and can be much CHEAPER than the imported styles.
I have found when faced with a group of varying palates and a large holiday meal with many flavors, the American style Riesling pleases a wider audience.
Let’s take a look at a couple of American style Rieslings I have found to be favorites among wine enthusiasts. You will be also find these choices to be very easy on the pocketbook.
2007 Snoqualmie Winemaker’s Select Riesling Columbia Valley, Washington $8
Very crisp. Very refreshing. Overwhelming pear and peaches on the nose. A textured palate with a lovely finish of delicate honey. If you can find this, get it. It’s flying off the shelves.
2007 Chateau Ste Michelle Riesling Columbia Valley, Washington $8
Intense aromas of melon and pear. Light floral flavors surrounded with subtle touches of apricot. This is a huge seller for Chateau Ste Michelle and should be very easy to find.
Add these wines to your Thanksgiving shopping list, I know you will enjoy them.
What do you like serve as a your go-to Thanksgiving beverage?
The spiders have emerged. These fuzzy but fearsome arachnids are about three feet long from leg to leg. They are quite large and threaten to pounce on all who dare to walk under them. Yes, we can blame these on Martha too.