In just a few hours you’ll begin cooking your thanksgiving meal, if you haven’t started already—but have you picked out the wine to pair with the meal?
Sommeliers say it’s one of the most overlooked components to the Thanksgiving feast.
Certified sommelier Jeramy Brown says your Thanksgiving day memories are made better, with the perfect wine paired with the perfect meal.
Brown, also the food and beverage manger for the Padre Hotel, shows us what wine to put on the table, and which to leave on the shelf—with so many components on the table, it’s tempting to just open a few nondescript, wines and call it a day, but brown says, pick lighter bodied wines with character.
“Tannin will compete with the food we are serving. we are looking for fruit acid, a thinness on the grape,” says Brown. As we taste through various wines ahead of Thanksgiving.
Brown says start with the bubbly—a bottle of real champagne from France or sparkling wine from California will do the trick, and pair perfectly with your appetizers. “My mom always makes deviled eggs, and this wine crushes it with deviled eggs,” said Brown.
As for which white wines to serve with dinner, Brown says stay away from oaky wines, like Chardonnay. and instead go for dry, more floral wines, such as a Resiling, or Gewürztraminer.
“Gewürztraminer is great because it’s going to be a think skinned white, but it’s white, so it’s not going to be too tannic, it’s going to have more aromatics and more texture.”
When pairing reds with your Thanksgiving meal. remember to avoid heavy wines like Cabernet, or ripe sweeter wines, like Zinfandel. Instead go with Pinot Noir. a thin skinned grape from the Burgundy region of France—and Pinot from either France or California doesn't’ have to break the bank, and it’s finesse and subtle characteristics won’t compete with your meal.
When to serve that red?
”Definitely when you’re sitting down for the main course, the sweet potatoes, either the turkey or the ham because the turkey has a little bit of fat, and the herbs on it, and the drippings,” said Brown.
A Pinot Noir will pair beautifully with cranberry sauce, stuffing, and if you have buttered carrots, a light red wine will complement.
And if you’re serving the dark meat, or even a roost this Thanksgiving, Brown says you can bring out a more full bodied wine, like a Syrah, or Rhone style blend, with Mourvedre or Grenache—Not as heavy as Cabernet, but still with complexity, and minerality that will complement your turkey or beef roost.
Though Brown notes you should avoid California Rhone’s, and go a red from Washington state—This Syrah form Walla Walla meets in the middle. “So you get the best of both worlds, you get California fruit, and you get Bordeaux or European elegance.”
No matter if you’re cooking at home, or leaving it to a professional chef—follow this guide to turkey day wine pairing, and you can’t go wrong.
Here is a list of all the wines featured in this segment, click on each wine to see where to buy!