Which drinks to bring to the Thanksgiving feast
This complicated meal pairs well with lighter, crisper varietals
Turkey? Check. Stuffing? Check. Cranberries? Check. Gravy? Check. Potatoes? Check.
Those are the traditional items grazing most tables during this food-centric holiday, but what about the drinks? We checked in with Jarrett Osborn, owner of Riverwalk Wine & Spirits, to help us select what to pair with the Thanksgiving meal.
The traditional Thanksgiving feast is a bit more complex than a steak dinner paired with a cabernet sauvignon. The turkey doesn’t have a lot of fat like a steak does and is rather dry. “Add gravy, stuffing, cranberries, and it’s quite the mix of flavors,” Osborn said.
“There are so many different components to this meal so you’ll want very versatile wines,” Osborn said. “Champagne is the most versatile. The bubbles, the acidity, they cut through anything like the gravy or any fat you may have in a side dish.”
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If you are planning on bringing white wine, leave the oaky, buttery chardonnays at home and opt for something lighter and crisper. “If you still want to do a chardonnay, a white burgundy style will pair better. They still have a little bit of body without that oaky-ness that doesn’t enhance the food,” Osborn said.
If you are planning on bringing red wine, pinot noir will pair best because it’s the lightest of the reds. “That’s kind of a cop-out move, according to us wine geeks, because it goes with everything,” Osborn said. “Maybe pick one from the Russian River Valley in California with a touch of age on it to get that earthiness which adds a little beefiness to it.”
Fell free to bring wine to go with dessert, too. Osborn suggests a tawny port or Madeira to go with the pumpkin or apple pie. Osborn points out that bourbon isn’t out of the question either. “I may just sip my dessert instead of eating pie, and put a little splash of bourbon into your braising liquid. That’s what Julia Child always said to do,” Osborn said.
What about beer? “The answer is ‘yes’,” Osborn said. “I suggest a classic Belgian or Trappist ale. If you want something a little heavier, try a German Dunkel. All these winter brews are coming out right now, like bourbon barrel-aged stouts and porters with a little spice on them. Mix up a six-pack and let your friends try them and pick their favorite.”
Osborn also suggests you treat your Thanksgiving meal like your best party of the year. “You can go a little bigger on Thanksgiving. When else do you do that? On birthdays, anniversaries, weddings? Do this with ten of your best friends and open up your best bottle of whatever you like for Thanksgiving.”
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