Thanksgiving is just days away and along with the stress and joy of having friends and family over, you still need to choose wines for dinner. We've made it easy by putting together a wine pairing guide. Here you'll find some tips for choosing wine and suggestions of versatile, expressive and unique wines that are sure to impress! The traditional dinner is full of sweet, sour, savory and rich flavors which make choosing wines interesting and fun. Let's explore what the world of wines has to offer!
This is my secret weapon whenever I'm running behind on dinner. I open a bottle of Champagne, or Prosecco, along with cured olives, cheese, and crackers. This takes pressure off your back and lets your guests relax before the meal. Make sure to pour yourself a glass and cook on! Here are two small producers we recommend to please your guests.
- Gold Metal Winner of the European Independent Winemaker's competition, Salmon, 100% Meunier, Champagne MV is a rich style of champagne with toasted brioche, hints of vanilla, and kumquat blossoms. The champagne's creamy mouse dissipates leaving behind an elegant and chalky minerality.
- Alternative: Marchiori, Profili Brut, Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG. This outstanding 90-Point Prosecco is dry with delicate bubbles harvested from the steep hillsides of Farra di Soligo. If you're wanting to share a unique and geeky wine, try Marchiori, Fondamentale Rive Alte, Colli Trevigiani, Vino Frizzante 2013. This wine is the Italian equivalent of Extra-Brut or Ultra-Brut Champagne and also has a 90-point score. It's bottle fermented on its lease (unfiltered). The Italians call it "Col Fondo." Lean, crisp, bone dry and full of minerality this sparkling wine comes from a single vineyard called "Rive Alte" or high hillside.
2: Bold Red
A big red wine is always necessary for Thanksgiving dinner. You'll want to look for a red wine that has bold yet, elegant and complex flavors to stand up to the flavors of the meal.
- Here, I've selected International Wine Challenge's winner, Mas D'En Blei, Blei 2011 Priorat, Spain. This bold Spanish red is mostly Garnacha (Grenache) and it comes from a warm mountainous region in Catalunya. Full of cassis, ripe dark fruits, soft tannins and a long earthy and fruity finish. This wine is a crowd pleaser.
- Alternative: If you want to a high-end option, I would choose A&G Fantino's 94-Point Cascina dei Dardi-Bussia Barolo 2006 or if you want to stay with a Spanish wine, Celler De L'Era's certified organic, MIM Monsanto 2010.
3: Fresh, Crisp Whites:
Thanksgiving dinner was tailor made for Burgundy and Domaine Christian Bellang, Meursault is hands down the way to go for white wine. When choosing a white, look for something that has ripe characters, a medium-plus texture and a good balance of acidity.
- Recognized by the Guide Hachette as a remarkable producer, the Domaine is run by sixth generation winegrower Christoph Bellang. His 2012 Meursault "Les Tillets" has aromas of candied Meyer lemon, citrus blossoms, lime stone minerality, a hint of hazelnut, baking spice and a beautiful balance of freshness and concentration. Beautiful wine!
- Alternatives: If you like bigger wines with rich textures and intense oak characters, choose the award-winning Mas D'En Blei, Clos Martina which is a blend of Garnacha Blanca, Pedro Ximenez, and Pansal. This wine will blow you out of the water! Apart from the french oak aromas, the wine has a powerful mineral character from the "Licorella" soils that it's grown in. Add to that the intense aromas of Garnacha and Pedro Ximenez, the wine shows a green, bergamot, tonic tea-like note. Pansal brings everything together by adding the acidity needed to make the wine strict, elegant, complex and powerful.
- If you are looking for a fruity wine that stands up to the meal, Domaine Loew's 90-point Bruderbach Riesling 2012 or Bruderbach Pinot Gris 2012 are great options and certified biodynamic. Both wines are crisp with slate-mineral notes. The Riesling is full of aromas of orchard fruit, citrus blossoms, and the classic petrol notes of riesling. The Pinot Gris has more tropical aromas, with a richness and flint character. 30 percent of this Pinot Gris is fermented and aged in demi-muid (large oak barrels) which gives the wines a rounder mouthfeel and makes it an excellent choice.