Holidays like Thanksgiving can sometimes cause an acute case of WPP otherwise known as wine pairing paralysis. With the cacophony of flavors and textures involved in a meal whose primary goal is to stuff oneself until bursting, what wine could possibly (1) complement the meal (2) appeal to a variety of palates and (3) not break the bank? Don’t fret, my fellow wine lovers, here are a few tips to help make the process a little easier for Thanksgiving or any other holiday meal.
When presented with dishes such as roasted turkey, caramelized onion and cornbread stuffing, cranberry compote, sweet potato casserole and Brussels sprouts at the same meal, the best wines to select (and guests too I might add) are those that “play nicely with others.” Choose wines that are fruit-forward with a food-friendly acidity that will not only stimulate your taste buds but “do no harm” to your already flavor filled meal. Hold off on tannic Cabernet Sauvignons or heavily oaked Chardonnays and opt instead for lighter style Rieslings, unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot.
The same principles apply when trying to satisfy a variety of palates at your holiday gathering. Avoiding wines with harsh tannins and heavy oak influence is usually a good game plan. Select a fruity, approachable Cru Beaujolais or crisp, bubbly Spanish Cava to appease your guests. While universally appealing, these wines will also complement the flavors in your meal beautifully.
Thirdly, we all know holidays like Thanksgiving can involve feeding a small army of family and friends; however, finding an appropriate wine to serve doesn’t have to break the bank. Choose wines from regions known for producing great values at reasonable prices including Spain’s La Rioja, Chile’s Central Valley and France’s Beaujolais AOC to name a few. Save your Classified Growth Bordeaux and California cult collectibles for another occasion! Stock up on your favorite value wines and have them on hand when guests drop by for some “holiday cheer.”
Use the above principles to eliminate your wine pairing paralysis and get you through any holiday meal in style. Here are a few recommendations to get you started – Cheers and have a fabulous Thanksgiving Holiday!
1. J Vineyards “Cuvée 20” Brut Sparkling Wine NV $20
2. Dr. Heidemanns-Bergweiler Riesling QbA Mosel 2009 $12
3. Castillo de Molina Chardonnay Reserva, Casablanca Valley 2009 $15
4. Bodegas Faustino VII Rioja 2007 $12
5. Louis Jadot Moulin-à-Vent Château des Jacques 2009 $18
6. Viña San Pedro 1865 Single Vineyard Syrah 2007 $25