Perfect Pairings: Perfect wines to suit your Thanksgiving feast
For the Nevada Appeal
Is there such a thing as the perfectly paired wine for Thanksgiving dinner? It depends on what you are planning to eat for your meal.
We all have our family recipes handed down through generations that have a myriad of different flavors in them. You will need to establish what type of wine you prefer to have with your dinner. Just because you may be having turkey doesn’t necessarily mean you need to choose a white wine to pair with your dinner. Look at all of the accompanying dishes and pick a wine that you think will best suit your entire meal.
For your white options I would consider a Reisling, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, or Viognier.
• For a Reisling, I recommend Chateau St. Michelle. This wine is from the Columbia Valley in Washington. It is dry and crisp with aromas of peach and apricot along with vibrant fruit flavors and a clean elegant finish. You can find it for $7 a bottle.
• For only $12 a bottle, Dry Creek Vineyards makes a Chenin Blanc that would go beautifully with a turkey dinner. Its golden color embraces bright citrus aromas and flavors of orange blossom, lemon peel and tangerine with a crisp dry finish.
• If by chance you choose a Sauvignon Blanc, Mirassou makes a nice one for around $12 a bottle. It is from Sonoma County and has bright fruit flavors of melon, grapefruit and pear with a nice soft finish.
• J Vineyards Pinot Gris with aromas and flavors of tangerine, apple, lime and pear for around $19 would be a great choice for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
• If you prefer a fruit forward wine with a little bit of oak on it, then Twisted Oak Viognier would be great. With hints of apple, orange peel and apricot and a creamy nutty finish picked up from seven months in French oak, you can pick this one up for just over $20 a bottle.
If you choose to go with a red wine for dinner then I would suggest keeping it rather light with a Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah or Gamay.
• Estancia makes a nice Pinot Noir for around $17 a bottle. This well-balanced wine has notes of black cherry, caramel and allspice with flavors of blueberry, black cherry and plum on the palate leading to a creamy vanilla finish.
• At under $16, Ravenswood Vintners Blend Zinfandel with its full profile of raspberries, blueberries and black cherries also would make a great Thanksgiving wine. It finishes with spicy hints of oak and some nice light tannins.
• If you are looking for something with a touch more body, then J. Lohr Syrah would work nicely. This wine has a dark crimson color yielding rich ripe aromas of blueberry, black tea and chestnut. It has flavors of blackberry, boysenberry and a touch of cedar on the palate finishing softly with firm tannins. At only $16 or so for a bottle this is a very good choice.
• If you would like to venture across the Atlantic for under $15 a bottle there is a French wine you could try made from Gamay grapes grown near Lyon. The French have always done a great job with balance in their wines and Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages is no exception. This wine has a solid red purple hue with bold fruits on the nose, especially cherry. The flavors of grey pepper and rose lead to a very well balanced finish of acidity and light tannins.
• Lastly for reds, if you just have to go big, then try and make it a red blend or meritage. Stay away from big oaky California wines with lots of complexity and tannins. Franciscan Winery makes a wine that I am sure many of you know or have heard of named Magnificat. It is not cheap with a price of $40 a bottle, but it’s worth it. It has a deep garnet color and aromas of dark cherry, sage, plums and ripe berries with undertones of vanilla and clove. The same aromas can be found on the palate along with cocoa and cassis as well. It has firm tannins on the finish interwoven with blackberry, anise and mocha.
I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest a couple of sparkling wines to enjoy with your holiday meal. Three come to mind immediately.
• My first choice is Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc for $26 a bottle. Made from 100 percent Chardonnay, this elegant California sparkling wine has vibrant fruit and a full mouthfeel which leads into a dry crisp finish.
• Next on my list would be Domaine Chandon Blanc de Noirs. This wine is made from the Pinot Noir grape. It is slightly darker than the Blanc de Blanc with a salmon color and light flavors of strawberry, currant and cherry. It has a soft creamy finish and can be purchased for around $22 a bottle.
• My final suggestion and perhaps my personal favorite in this category would be Kirkland’s Signature Brut NV from Costco. This is a remarkable French Champagne combining Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. This wine has rich flavors of peaches, oranges and gingerbread with bright citrus on the finish. I like this wine just as much if not more than several of its expensive French competitors. For under $30 a bottle it compares with the best.
Given that you will most likely be entertaining a few people for Thanksgiving I would suggest picking a couple of the selections above and you will be able to cover your guests’ varied palates. You can find most all of these wines at local wine shops such as Bella Fiore Wines, Aloha Discount Wine & Liquor or Ben’s Fine Wine & Spirits.
• Court Cardinal is general manager of Casino Fandango, a graduate of the Beringer Wine Academy and sits on the board of the Northern Nevada Wine Association.