What Goes with What for T-Day
There is only one reason for the month of November – to host Thanksgiving Day. When we remember our forefathers, give thanks for all kinds of things, a day of cornucopia – oh hell it’s a day of gluttony.
I will not preach to you about consumption – what I shall do is provide you with a thoughtful guide on how to best enjoy what really should be a tremendous day of wine and food enjoyment.
We will assume that turkey is the main meat dish of the day even though many serve ham or a beef roast instead or…also. A lot of people do not really like turkey because it usually tastes like this page with gravy on it. Try this, buy fresh not frozen, do not stuff, fill the bird with chopped onion, carrots and celery so the juices will help make stock as the bird cooks. Buy a whole breast instead of a whole bird and use your Weber as an extra oven. My best stuffing and gravy recipes can be found in the recipe section.
OK and now on to the bottles. The odd part about Thanksgiving is you can really drink almost anything – consider that it’s the only unstructured meal we really have – steak, red; chicken, white; pasta, whatever, etc. But on this day aunt Jane brings those funny little onions in some kind of sauce and we have sweet, mashed and scalloped potatoes, get my drift.
The rich and full flavored foods of the day blow Chardonnay off the map so it is relegated to an aperitif, beer may fit this area also. Champagne or sparkling wine also works in this spot.
Depending on how you serve your meal it makes sense to have your main wines on the table from the start. I find Cabernet is too tanic for this meal so here is the chance to show how lovely full fruited Pinot Noir works with the meal and frankly my favorite red, Zinfandel, truly an American wine. Believe it or not turkey is poultry and it’s rather bland taste loves fruit (what do you think cranberries are?) and these wines are lower in tannin and usually not too alcoholic which allows the fruit flavors to come forward.
Champagne and sparkling wine works well with the meal. The high acid of the champagne cuts through any rich food or sauce and the Pinot Noir offers not only a lovely color but a balance and fruit that are a natural compliment. Look for Domain Chandon Blanc de Noir (California), usually value priced for the holiday and if you can find it, buy it in the 1.5 L. Another California sparkler is Roederer Estate Brut; you will find both wines under $20 at big retailers.
For crowd pleasing Pinot Noir look for Mark West California under $10 and jammed with hugh, dark cherry fruit is their Santa Lucia Highlands in the $12-15 range.
This is also the day that you may want to spend more that $7.99/bottle and you will want several bottles, giving you a chance to drink through a meal with the same one or two wines…or to celebrate gluttony. That’s my whine and I may be wrong.