Thanksgiving dinner may be steeped in family and cultural tradition, but one of the things you can switch up to make your dinner even more special is the wine. I am going to make some suggestions that will help make your Thanksgiving even more memorable than it already is.
In this blog I am going to recommend different types of wine so no matter where you live you can ask your local wine expert for specific brand and winery suggestions. I will also share a few of my own favorite Thanksgiving wines.
Old standbys are great, but let’s shake things up a little bit. After all, wine is a journey and an evolutionary process for the palate. We’ll start with white wines and then move on to the reds.
At its best this wine can make a strong statement — it can be complex and spicy with fruit and citrus flavors. Oregon Pinot Blanc is my preference for this wine and it looks stunning in a glass!
Semillon wines are dry yet complex wines with flavor from both pears and figs. These wines also exhibit very mild nuances of honey. When well made this wine is very interesting and will be a fantastic compliment to your Thanksgiving dinner. A Washington State Semillon wine is your best bet.
Chenin Blanc is a very versatile grape that is crisp and acidic, yet smooth with a fuller body. This wine is slightly spicy and has a hint of honey with slight fruitiness. This can be a very special and excellent wine exhibiting many different styles. Chenin Blanc is an exceptional dinner choice. I recommend Chenin Blanc wines from Washington State.
Viognier is a very dry, delicate wine with floral aromas and apricot overtones. The Viognier wines produced in Walla Walla, Washington are my choice for a perfect Thanksgiving Day wine.
In the spirit of keeping things simple, that’s enough for white wine suggestions. Let’s move on to red wines and rosé recommendations.
Rosé wine is light bodied with faint aroma and flavor of strawberry and raspberry. I recommend a dry rosé from France, Sonoma, or Oregon. These are some of the best food wines and will perfectly compliment your dinner! I particularly love the Rosé Balletto Vineyards and winery, as well as the delicious Rosé of Pinot Noir from Adelsheim Vineyards.
Pinot Noir simply must be a consideration. At its best, Pinot Noir will be smooth and full of flavor exhibiting nuances of raspberries, as well as undertones of vegetation and chocolate. I recommend an Oregon Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley as the fruit from this region has a bit more acidity. Acidity in wine is the flavor enhancing component that brings out the flavor in food.
Spicier than its cousin, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc has traditionally been used as blending wine. It is now gaining popularity as its own stand-alone wine type or varietal. Cabernet Franc is a velvety medium- to full-bodied wine with very nice balance. It’s a delicious choice for your dinner.
This is a light-bodied red wine from France that has very little tannin and is low in alcohol content. It is a fruity red wine with berry overtones. Better quality Beaujolais wines will have a little more body and texture and are terrific when married with food.
The Grenache grape is famous for use as a blending grape in both France and Spain. Grenache is full-bodied with berry flavors. It lends itself well to nice full reds or rosés that produce fruity or berry-like flavor. I love the Grenache from Skinner Vineyards in the Sierra Foothills of California.
Whichever wine you choose, both red and white wine benefit from aeration. When red wines are made they have a certain amount of tannin. This is a result of the fruit of the grape being in contact with stems, seeds, and grape skins. Tannin is that dry, tactile sensation you feel in your mouth when you taste the wine. Time combined with oxygen helps to “settle” a wine. I don’t know about you but when I have family and friends over and I open a bottle of wine the time is “now.” This is where an aerator is essential — open, oxygenate, and make a perfect pour.
Aerating white wine allows the wine to warm a bit after being chilled which helps improve the bouquet and enhance the wine’s flavor.
An aerator I recommend and sell on the WineGuyMike website, is the TRIbella aerator. It’s an exceptional aerator and also delivers an impressive triple stream pour.
I hope this list of wine recommendations is helpful to you! Click here to view specific 2015 Thanksgiving wine recommendations and profiles.
May your Thanksgiving be just a little more special with these wine suggestions!
From my table to yours,