Perfect Pairings – Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner

With Turkey Day around the corner the question often comes up “What Wine should I serve for Thanksgiving?” The key is to pick a wine that is not overpowering and food friendly – so save your Cabernet Sauvignon for a good steak dinner instead.

Here are my recommendations with Turkey Dinner:

#1 Cru Beaujolais (St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-a-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly)

Not your ordinary Beaujolais! This food friendly wine will be rich in fruit and acidity that will nicely compliment turkey and trimmings like a cranberry sauce would. A higher quality and much richer in flavours than basic Beaujolais it will cut through rich gravy with notes of cranberry, strawberry, plum and a nice lightly herbaceous character that goes great with anything you have used poultry spices on. The lighter style when compared to a tannic wine makes it meld with the vast array of side dishes that compliment your meal.  The fruit forward style compliments dishes that have a fall fruit component beautifully (think orange glazed sweet potatoes, or stuffing with apples).  Can’t find Cru Beaujolais?  A Beaujolais-Villages is a good backup option, but won’t offer the same weight.

#2 – Sparkling wine – preferably a Champagne style Brut or Cremant de Bourgogne made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These go with everything! It will be especially complimentary if you have a dish that has mushrooms in it or like mushrooms in your gravy. Relatively neutral these wines work well along many flavours, and are perfect crowd pleasers for celebrating.

#3 – French Pinot Noir Bourgogne AC, Pommard, Beaune

These wines are spectacular especially with a little age on them. They will offer up red fruit characters of strawberry and plum as well as savoury mushroom notes with some age (think 5+yrs old for some of the savoury flavours). The light-medium tannins and bright acidity will not compete with anything on the table, and will help every dish to shine, especially those that are richly seasoned with herbs like rosemary, sage, and thyme. Less fruity and a little more “serious and earthy” vs. The Beaujolais option.

And don’t forget wine with dessert!
If pumpkin pie is on your menu a nutty and spicy dessert wine is just what will make your guest say “Oooooooh!”

Most heavenly wine partner for pumpkin pie:

 Rivesaltes Ambre – Vin Doux Naturel

This dessert wine offers up flavours of candied orange peel, baking spices like ginger and clove, and a healthy dose of honey and florals.

If you are invited to dinner and know pumpkin pie is on the dessert menu, bring a bottle of this to the host and insist on opening it. You will be viewed as a genious, I promise!

Happy Thanksgiving! Cheers!


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