Oh yes, the most gluttonous, diet-busting, football-watching, truly American holiday of the year is upon us once again…Thanksgiving. An extravaganza of traditional autumn foods in heaping excess, from the cranberry sauce, the candied yams, the fluffy mashed potatoes, the pecan pies, the apple pies, the pumpkin pies, to the centerpiece of it all- the turkey (or tofurkey, however you choose to celebrate). With so many varied culinary flavors at work, finding wines to enjoy with the feast is truly a pleasure. Here are a few of my personal favorites, and keeping with the reason for the season, this list is just as all American as baseball:
- Pinot Noir- The soft and silky texture of Pinot Noir backed by juicy cranberry, cherry and spice flavors makes it a slam dunk for something to sip with a drier bird like turkey. Some of my favorites are from California, such as Sea Smoke, Steele, Au Bon Climat, Folk Machine and Belle Glos. A few stunners from Oregon would be Argyle, Domaine Serene, Ken Wright, and Beaux Freres.
- Riesling- Because it tastes better than white zin and you just might be able to convince your Great Aunt Hilda to try it. The bright apricot and peach notes balanced by zesty acidity are a natural match to many of the sweeter flavors at the table, and prove to be thirst-quenching to the more savory dishes. Try “Eroica” (think Beethoven) by Dr. Loosen & Château Ste. Michelle, Kung Fu Girl by Charles Smith, or Hogue Family Cellars, all of which are from Washington State. For something closer to Milwaukee, Stone Throw Cellars from Door County also bottles a delightful Riesling.
- Gewurztraminer- Think of Riesling, and then throw some exotic spices and a bouquet of dried flowers at it. A fun alternative that is a tongue-twister to boot. Say “GUH-vertz-trah-meener”. Now you even sound German. Don’t let the wine snobs tell you that the only good stuff is from Deutschland and France…Covey Run and Chateau Ste. Michelle from Washington State make Gewurztraminer that is terrifyingly affordable and delicious.
- Zinfandel- Yes, the RED one. Juicy, jammy red raspberry and cherry tumbling over holiday spices. Pick up Seghesio, Turley (if you can find it), Rosenblum, Ridge, or Four Vines…all from the Golden State. This grape may have had Italian or Croatian origins, but this expression has been pure Americana since the Pre-Prohibition years.
Enjoy your holiday and please comment with any tasty pairings that you have come across!