You can keep your cranberries and candied yams. Everyone knows that turkey—and Uncle Bob’s stories—go best with a nice glass of wine. While everyone else is busy dressing their turkeys and mashing their potatoes, I’ll be on the hunt for the best wine to bring to the Thanksgiving Day table. While searching for some new ideas, I stumbled upon The Winerist where I found an article on the Top Six Wines to Serve for Thanksgiving and I was pleasantly surprised. The Winerist recommends keeping it simple and serving a sparkling wine before the meal and at least one red and one white wine during dinner. I’m all about starting things off with a celebratory note, so I’ll be adding a sparkling wine to my list.
For those dining with an adventurous crowd, they also suggest trying a red carbonated Italian wine called Lambrusco. For tradition’s sake, pinot noir is your best wine for pairing with turkey, and Beaujolais, a light- to medium-bodied red wine. Fun fact: every year around Thanksgiving, the French celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau Day which marks the end of the harvest season by drinking this delicious wine.
If you’re looking to bring a little something extra with the spirits this year, why not take your host on a wonderful wine tour? Wine Trails: Plan 52 Perfect Weekends in Wine Country (Lonely Planet; November 1, 2015) is the perfect companion for those looking to travel the world one winery at a time. This winery guide also provides practical tips for travelers. There is an “Essential Information” section with places to stay, where to eat and what to do and different cultural celebrations appropriate for the area. (Think street festivals in Portugal with dancing, barbecues, fireworks and lots of wine, or the world famous charity wine auction in Burgundy, France). The guide starts with Argentina, the land of Malbec, and journeys through Chile, Australia, England, Portugal, Spain, France, Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley and more. Aside from these dazzling tour stops, Wine Trails also covers those places less traveled by wine lovers. The Niagara region in Canada is a constantly improving area for wines and has rapidly expanded from six to 100 wineries since 1974. With its lakeside charm and small town village vibe, this area is a little known spot for the perfect wine tour.
Want to dazzle your family with your wine knowledge? I recommend The Wine Bible (2nd Edition) by Karen MacNeil (Workman Publishing; October 13, 2015). Renowned wine connoisseur Karen MacNeil, hailed as “America’s missionary of the vine” by Time magazine, has updated her expansive tome laced with her fabulous descriptions. She compares German Riesling to “a laser beam. A sheet of ice. A great crackling bolt.” Cabernet as “the awkward kid who grows up to be a Nobel laureate, and sexy to boot.” This essential guide also provides entertaining and little known facts such as how many bubbles are in champagne and why; the intricacies of Port and Sherry, why dogs are an important part of the vineyard and more. Bring this lively tome to your Turkey Day table and you’ll have the conversation flowing just like the wine.
Here’s a “Cheers!” to a palate-pleasing feast complemented by the perfect libations for each stage of your Thanksgiving meal.