First thing to remember, a perfect pairing can be difficult because there are so many dish options at a Thanksgiving dinner. Even a turkey can be difficult because the white meat is so different from the dark meat. I always love a challenge, so I have selected some beverages which will be perfect pairings, and others which are more versatile.
Perfect pairings for the turkey:
2007 Ponzi Pinot Gris and white meat- this wine has great body, spice, and fruit. Vanilla, clove, and almond accompany sweet golden apple and melon. This was fermented and aged in stainless steel, but allowed to undergo a partial malolactic fermentation, giving a rich and creamy texture. Perfect for lean white turkey meat. I have seen this available at stores for under $15.
2005 Rivetti La Spinetta Barbera d'Asti "Ca' di Pian" and dark meat- the perfect match for fatty meats is a wine with crisp acidity and good tannic structure. Ca' di Pian has both. It also has lush cherry, plum, and gamey notes. I love this Barbera. It is available at most stores for under $20.
Now we can get into more versatile beverage options.
Elysian "Night Owl" Pumpkin Ale- there is a consensus that this Washington brewery makes the best pumpkin ale. It has a great orange color to accompany pumpkin and spice- nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon. The body is medium and creamy. These flavors mix well with most Thanksgiving spreads. This beer can be hard to find and is only available in 22 oz. bottles, so try Dogfish Head Punkin Ale, made by a Delaware brewpub. A fuller style with the same flavor profile and widely available in Chicagoland. Four-paks are $9.99.
Domaine Chandon Riche- this sparkling wine has all Champagne varietals (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay) plus some Muscat. These varietals rend a full and well rounded wine and the Muscat adds a touch of richness. Perfect and versatile, and under $20.
Red Burgundy varietals- Pinot Noir and Gamay. These wines have red fruit flavor and crisp acidity which makes them versatile beverages at the dinner table. 2007 O'Reilly's Pinot Noir has some good body and spice-always my big value choice at under $18. For Gamay, you have to buy Beaujolais, and Georges Deboeuf is the best. 2008 Deboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is an easy drink under $12, while his Moulin-a-Vent has more tannin and spice from its oak aging for under $15.
2007 Seghesio Zinfandel- if you want more body and juicy fruit, go for the zin. Structure, spice, ripe fruits, and oak flavors are all a part of this rich and festive wine. It will handle any food this holiday can throw at it! WCWG loves this wine for $20.
2006 Valter Barbero "Serena"- for the sweet wine fans. Based on the brachetto varietal, this Italian semi-sparkling (frizzante) pink wine is refreshing with strawberry and raspberry flavors. The fruitiness is the versatility. Under $10.
These beverages are sure to give you and your family the perfect compliment to a traditional American holiday. I wish you the best of holidays and look forward to your feedback.
(image courtesy of flickr)