Wine pairing for Turkey Day 2016, whether you're sipping on red or white
Drinksgiving is almost here! Prepare for the most important booze fest of the year by stocking your kitchen with red and white wines which pair well with turkey and all the fixings.
Not an expert wine matchmaker? No worries. The scope of Thanksgiving dinner really allows you to enjoy all types of wines. "Drink what you like. There are no rules," Ryan Zotovich, head winemaker for Winc said in an email. "At my house, we start off with bubbles and appetizers, then move to rosé. Sparkling wine is just fun and marks the celebration. Rosé gives everyone something to sip on while dinner is getting ready and just sets the mood. Then we transition to a heavier white or Pinot Noir for the rest of the night."
Here's what to toast your turkey with:
Alit Pinot Noir
"Pinot Noir is the wine that goes best with things that have wings, (excluding bugs and bats)," Mark Tarlov, founder and vintner of Alit Wines, said in an email. "The flavors in the wine have enough restraint and delicacy so they do not overpower the food but are rich enough to wrap the food in a package of fruit flavors with a hint of fall spices. Great Pinot Noir is a wine that does not try to pull focus like Cabernet, Syrah and Zinfandel, but rather strives to make everything around it look better. An ideal dinner guest if you ask me."
This juicy Pinot is perfect to combat any potential turkey dryness. $100 for three bottles (including shipping), alit.com
Folly of the Beast 2014
"On the scale of reds, Pinot Noir is a lighter varietal which means it's great with lighter proteins such as salmon, chicken ... and turkey," Zotovich said. "The other thing about Pinot is that its flavors are earthy, spicy and savory; all the notes from Pinot Noir are very similar to what you'll find in a Thanksgiving meal."
This year, Zotovich's Thanksgiving Pinot is Folly of the Beast, which has less acidity than fuller-bodied, richer reds, but still has "enough robust flavor that it can cut through the hearty, richer items on the table like your gravy, mashed potatoes, and stuffing." Sold. $14 at Winc.com
Carpentino Dogajolo Toscano 2014
Not only is this bottle seasonal and festive enough to serve as a centerpiece, what's inside is easy to drink throughout the night — we recommend you order a case in advance. This super-Tuscan blend is just juicy enough to please those fearful of reds that are too dry but not overtly sweet, a pleaser for wine drinkers of all preferences. $10 at GarysWine.com
Doboeuf, Doboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2016
Perhaps the most iconic of Thanksgiving table wines, serve this fruity Beaujolais Nouveau semi-chilled (that is, remove it from the fridge about 15-20 minutes before drinking) $9.95 at Sherry-Lehman.com
Domaine Bousquet Malbec Reserve 2013
If you're going for the tofurky this holiday, this bottle of wine is for you. "While you wouldn't normally think to pair a Malbec with a tofu dish, give your tofurky a peppery dry rub with cumin and coriander and Domaine Bousquet's Malbec Reserve will pair nicely with the vegan 'bird,'" Alexander LaPratt M.S, owner of Beasts and Bottles, said in an email. "This Malbec has vivacious notes of black pepper that make the tofurky and wine go hand-in-hand throughout the meal." A few bottles in, you may even convince your meat-obsessed relatives to see the vegetarian light. $13.49 at Wineomart.com
Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois Gamay 2015
"People always love to talk about Pinot Noir's versatility, but let's not forget what's equally important on Thanksgiving: quaffability," Christopher Poldoian, general manager at Austin's Camerata at Paulie's, said in an email. "The holidays can be stressful, gastronomically or emotionally. Inevitably there's a part of the turkey that's a little dry or overcooked (sorry, Mom) and you need a glass of something that will wash away any Thanksgiving-induced stress."
And that's exactly when you'll want to pour an oversized glass full of this Gamay. "Lapierre is known for his higher-end Morgon, but this wine made from younger vines is gushing with fresh red fruit while retaining a strong granite backbone," Polodian said. $15 at AstorWines.com
Domaine Weinbach "Cuvée Théo" Gewurtztraminer 2015
"Gewurtztraminer is one of those grapes that people either love or hate," Polodoian said. "Most people that hate it haven't had the chance to try a very good one. At its best, Gewurtztraminer's oily texture and tropical fruit aromas can be hypnotic."
And no matter what part of the turkey you prefer, this Gewurtztraminer can work for you. "Weinbach's Cuvée Théo's intensely ripe fruit pairs well with sweeter Thanksgiving accoutrements as well as turkey dark meat, while its racy minerality and savory spice finish do wonders to white meat," Polodian said. $30 at GetWineOnline.com
Esporão Reserva White 2015
Give your Thanksgiving some Portuguese flair with this wine from Alentejo, a wine region in the south of Portugal. If you're into super flavorful Thanksgiving dishes, you'll want this white blend to pair with them, especial with sides like garlicky mashed potatoes. "The Reserva White's herbaceous character complements the garlicky backbone of the mashed potatoes and the wine's lush, creamy texture mimics the dish," Pedro Lopes Vieira, Esporão's North America Sales Manager, explained via email. $12.99 at WineAnthology.com
E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc 2015
Rhone is generally best known for its red wines, but the whites are nothing to scoff at. Mellow, rich and full of complex flavor, this dry white blend stands up big flavors, like grilled turkey or spicy sides. $11.95 at EmpireWine.com
Wolffer Descencia Botrytis Riesling/Chardonnay 2015
This saccharine dessert wine is the perfect finishing touch to a meal packed with savory and sweet delights. The elegant bottle makes it a lovely host gift (the gift that gives back, because your host will undoubtedly open the bottle) and the perfect final touch to the evening as you slowly sip this golden wine made in The Hamptons. And who doesn't want to end Thanksgiving with a sweet taste in their mouth? $40 at Wolffer.com