- Sarah O'Kelley
Thanksgiving Wine Tips
Updated: Nov 17, 2021
Thanksgiving week is definitely one of the best times of the year for my job – chatting about wine AND food all the time. Really, helping folks with pairings is the ultimate for me as it brings together my two passions – cooking and wine.
The most asked question is: “What will you be drinking on Thanksgiving?” Above is a lineup of what I am considering, but believe it or not, I still have not fully decided. However, I will definitely be following the handy tips below.
P.S. You might be surprised at my almost all American lineup as I am a total Francophile and Old World wine lover, but I do think it’s fun on this All American holiday to stick close to home. And when I really started perusing the shelves I found myself reaching for wines made by folks I’ve met. That personal connection is what I love about the world of wine, and I am so thankful for the hard working individuals behind these bottles.
Holiday Pairing Tips:
Bubbles Solve All Problems!
Seriously, when do you not feel better after sipping on some bubbles? Plus, they are perfect with any food – scrubbing your palate clean after every delicious bite. Whether you are buying a half bottle to enjoy while you cook (see above) or having bubbles throughout your meal…they are mandatory for me!
Acid Cuts Richness!
Most industry folks always bring up Riesling as a perfect wine for the holiday table as it has that mouth watering acidity that works beautifully with butter laden casseroles, gravies, etc. The acid acts a refresher (much like the bubbles) and keeps you going back for more! I highly recommend the Teutonic Riesling from Oregon, but if you are not a Riesling fan there are plenty of other bright whites I would recommend – like Chenin Blanc (my favorite!) or Chardonnay from a cool climate.
I also recommend the Massican Annia (pictured above) – a unique white blend from my friend Dan Petroski in Napa. Dan has roots in Friuli, Italy, and that’s the inspiration for his Massican wines. The Annia is a blend of Ribolla Gialla, Tocai Friulano, and Chardonnay. It has lovely aromatics and the body to stand up to a holiday meal but also that all-important acidity!
Food (and Family Friendly) Reds Are A Necessity!
I truly believe that we should all drink our own favorites all of the time so if BIG, rich reds are your thing then certainly enjoy them with your turkey. But I would also suggest a few “lighter” reds that will keep you and your palate energized! Pinot Noir always jumps to mind for Thanksgiving as it often boasts tart, red fruit flavors that work well with turkey (just like cranberry sauce!) Pinot is also usually lighter in tannins and alcohol, which works well for a crowd. If you want to branch out but stick with the same flavor profile then pick up a Gamay. There is great Gamay from Beaujolais, the Loire, and even Oregon!
I am thinking it will be fun to open Pinot Noirs from two of my favorite new world regions – Sonoma Coast, California and Willamette Valley, Oregon. The County Line is from Eric Sussman in northern Cali. This is the side project to his single site Radio-Coteau wines and a great price point ($30-ish) for the holidays. The wines reflect Eric’s own kind, humble demeanor.
Eyrie Vineyards is ground zero for Oregon Pinot Noir, literally! Founder David Lett is considered the godfather of winemaking in the iconic Willamette Valley. He was inspired by Old World Pinot, and this restrained, earth driven style continues to be a hallmark of the winery. In my opinion, you simply cannot go wrong with Eyrie!
P.S. Definitely buy a few extra bottles for big holidays as it can be surprising just how fast they go when folks are feeling the spirit. But no need to break your budget…buy some less expensive bottles for later in the day…there are good quality liter bottles and boxed wines at many small wine shops!
Don’t forget that the most important thing is to relax and enjoy your day! Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours!