I sort through Thanksgiving wine advice so you don’t have to:
Rick Bakas identifies the central problem of Thanksgiving:
You have turkey, which is dry and packed with Tryptophan. You have mashed potatoes (starch), corn, rolls, sweet potatoes, cranberry and various other dishes, and none of them go together. Cranberry is tart. Gravy is not.
Which is great, except that he then goes off the rails with a metaphor that really, really doesn’t make any sense:
Trying to match sweet, sour, bitter, salt with Thanksgiving is like trying to drive a shopping cart with a broken wheel through a demolition derby.
Which is to say, I guess, that around Mr. Bakas’ kitchen an incorrect wine choice can get you squashed by an emotionally inflamed redneck. Maybe he lives in Kentucky.
Anyway, Bakas tosses Vinho Verde into the mix, which earns him forgiveness.
Thanksgiving is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t get too tipsy early in the day, unless you’re a seasoned drinker. Sometimes we’ll open a Brut Rosé Champagne, but in order to keep your edge (and not get too silly too soon) open a low alcohol Vinho Verde. It’s got some effervescence yet it’s light, crisp and fresh.
Menuism also cites the length of Thanksgiving and recommends bubbles:
This is key when enduring a marathon feast. If you’re rolling high class, try a small-production grower champagne as opposed to a more commercially produced champagne, and if you’re doing bubbles on a budget, try a prosecco made in the regions of Conegliano or Valdobbiadene in Italy’s Veneto.
Matthew at A Good Time With Wine puts the Thanksgiving wine panic in perspective:
There’s no one wine that will pair with everything you serve, and more importantly, drink what you like on Thanksgiving. That being said, if you rather focus on your family, friends and the meal itself, you can leave the wine selections to me.
Or to paraphrase: it may be of no consequence, but nonetheless I want to be in control. Very winebloggy, Matthew at A Good Time With Wine! His most interesting selection is El Coto Rioja Rosado, and inexpensive pink blend of Tempranillo and Garnacha that makes about as much sense as pink wines make.
Benito reminds us of his PIGS Theory, which has surprisingly little to do with eating. PIGS stands for Portugal, Italy, Greece, and Spain, and this year he delves into Italian Soave:
It’s nothing like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, the two most common white grapes you’ll encounter. It’s easier to pronounce than other Italian whites like Verdicchio: so-AH-vay.
The other thing that is crucial for Thanksgiving is that these wines are not hard to find. You should be able to find a Soave in any decent wine shop for $10-15. And if you decide not to take it to the family gathering with you, it is even better late Thursday night with leftovers.
While I’m having trouble imagining snacking after Thanksgiving dinner (I’m having trouble imaging walking as far as the kitchen after Thanksgiving dinner) I get the point, and Benito has a nice rundown of widely available and inexpensive Soaves.
Good Wine Under $20 offers an extensive list “chosen with an eye to pairing well with the unbelievably wide range of Thanksgiving foods.” His choice beyond the pale: 2007 Château Tire Pé “Diem.”
Yes, the label says Bordeaux. But it tastes like a vinous lovechild of grapes from the Bordeaux and grapes from the Beaujolais so it works just fine with the turkey. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon with oodles of charm on a light-weight frame, your first impression will be of crushed raspberries, then some soil, and then some rocks.
Because I, personally, have always liked to end my Thanksgiving dinner with rocks, just to settle the stomach and add a little more heft to an otherwise light meal.
Finally, Adam Moganstern at Huffington Post interviews 10 winemakers and discovers that the wine they serve with Thanksgiving dinner is the wine they make all year long. This is not, apparently, because they get it cheap, but is in fact because it’s excellent wine entirely appropriate for every occasion. Imagine that.