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Wine Recommendations for a Memorable Thanksgiving Dinner

CorkRules | Nov 04, 2023

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to appreciate family, express gratitude, and indulge in a mouth-watering feast. As we gather around the table filled with delectable dishes, choosing the right wines can elevate our dining experience and complement the diverse flavors of this traditional celebration. In this article, we will explore an array of wine recommendations with our partner Grapes The Wine Company. that will perfectly accompany your Thanksgiving spread, ensuring a memorable gastronomic experience for all.


1. Dry Whites: Adding Freshness and Zest

When it comes to white wines, aim for dry selections with vibrant acidity to counterbalance rich and savory dishes. Here are three distinct white wine recommendations:

a) Sauvignon Blanc: With its herbaceous aroma and zesty citrus notes, Sauvignon Blanc's refreshing qualities make it an excellent choice when paired with roasted turkey or herb-infused stuffing.

Honig - Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2022- $19.99

Bright, inviting floral, pear and citrus aromas lead to a lively and harmonious palate. Resplendent with jasmine and citrus notes that range from grapefruit to lemongrass and kafir lime, delightfully nuanced by tropical notes, this wine delivers quintessential Honig sauvignon blanc style. 

b) Chardonnay: Opt for unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnays to avoid overwhelming delicate flavors. The wine's apple and pear notes offer a beautiful synergy with roasted butternut squash or creamed corn.

Albert Bichot - Mâcon-Villages 2021 - $18.99

Since 1350, the Bichot family has called Burgundy home. But, it was in 1831 that Bernard Bichot founded a merchant house bearing his name in Monthélie, a couple of kilometers south of Beaune. At the end of the 19th century, his grandson Albert Bichot took the family business into a new direction and created the winery, Maison Albert Bichot as we know it. The family heritage has been perpetuated from father to son since then. The family crest, consisting of a deer and antlers, has been synonymous with the winery since its inception.

Since 1996, Albéric Bichot has represented the 6th generation managing the winery. The winery’s mission is to utilize the best fruit possible to create the best wine and best expression of terroir.

c) Riesling: For those who prefer a touch of sweetness, a well-balanced Riesling can harmonize with cured meats like honey-glazed ham while cutting through the richness.

Peter Lauer - Barrel X Alt Scheidt Riesling 2022 - $19.99

“Barrel X” is winemaker Florian Lauer’s Platonic ideal of what a slightly off-dry (feinherb) Saar Riesling should be. If we were in Burgundy, this would be the equivalent of a “Bourgogne Blanc.” As an appellation-level wine, it is sourced from multiple vineyards in four different villages of the Saar: Ayl (Lauer’s home village), Saarburg, Wawern and Wiltingen. Florian says, “From Ayl and Wawern, the wine gains the fruit and power, from Saarburg the racy acidity, and from Wiltingen, the spice.”

Regardless of what comes from where, this much is certain: dollar for dollar, I’m not sure there is a 750ml bottle that delivers as much joy and zing. This is the gateway drug to Lauer, to the Saar, to Riesling… be careful. Very addictive.

2. Elegant Reds: Complementing Hearty Classics

Red wines often take center stage during festive meals, especially as they pair wonderfully with heartier dishes. Consider the following red wines:

a) Pinot Noir: Known for its versatility, Pinot Noir's medium body offers bright red fruit flavors that match beautifully with roasted turkey or cranberry sauce.

Compton Family - Pinot Noir 2022 - $26.99

Enticing aromas of red cherry, red berry, and forest floor. Elegant mouth feel, with waves of dark red fruit accents and hints of cacao. Lovely lingering flavors make for a delightful mouthwatering finish.

Compton Family Description

Compton Family Wines® is a family-owned winery founded in 2003 in Philomath, Oregon, by Matthew and Tabitha Compton with the ethos of producing Oregon wines made with minimal intervention that remain true to the varietal character of the grape. The Comptons practice regenerative agriculture on their homestead and in the local vineyards they manage, which includes minimal handling in the vineyard, dry farming, no tilling, cover crops, and incorporating animals for adaptive grazing. Compton Family Wines® bring true Willamette Valley terroir to your table.

The winery was originally founded as Spindrift Cellars in 2004 but has since changed its name to Compton Family Cellars. The focus now is on Pinot Noir from special vineyards that Matt manages through his West Vine Farms vineyard management company. Besides a farmer, Matt is an experienced winemaker with well over twenty years of experience in the Oregon wine industry. As a result, the Pinot Noir wines have the handprint of an experienced grower and talented winemaker.

b) Zinfandel: A full-bodied and fruity red wine like Zinfandel complements robust and spicy flavors such as smoked sausages or barbecued ribs.

Cline - Zinfandel Eight Spur Dry Creek 2020 - $23.99

The Dry Creek Zinfandel vines resemble small trees free standing, low to the ground and spur pruned to eight canes to form well-spaced branches. The resulting low hanging fruit bask in the radiant ground heat, rewarding us with intense flavors of black cherry, black currant, cinnamon and baking spice with a rich, ripe palate. Hope this spurs your senses!

c) Syrah/Shiraz: Rich and intense, Syrah or Shiraz pairs splendidly with roasted root vegetables and savory herb-infused stuffing.

Alain Graillot - Crozes Hermitage 2020 - $36.99

"Expressive red and dark berry, smoked meat, olive and floral qualities on the spice-accented nose. Sappy and penetrating on the palate" Josh Raynolds

The late Alain Graillot is well known to wine lovers throughout the world, and was universally regarded as one of the most talented producers not only in the Rhône, but in the whole of France.

It was in 1985 that the legendary Alain Graillot, who after working with the venerable Jacques Seysses at Domaine Dujac, came back to his home in Crozes-Hermitage to start his own domaine. With each passing year his devotion to the art of making hauntingly delicious Syrah from his organically farmed, stone-laden vineyards, has been rewarded with an ever growing and highly dedicated following around the world. Alain’s sons Maxime and Antoine have been in charge since 2008, with Alain working closely alongside them. All the work is still completely the same as it ever was: hand-harvesting, organic farming, whole-cluster fermentation, and aging the wines primarily in 1-to-3 year old barrels purchased from some of the top estates in Burgundy. In great years, the domaine also makes tiny quantities of a barrel selection knows as “La Guiraude,” a rare and remarkably complex wine of particular distinction.

The domaine’s status as one of the top domaines in all of France is without question and the whole lineup are must-haves for any serious Northern Rhone fan.

d) Beajoulous: Mellow, tart, light, and fruity with acidity, minerality, and gentle tannins. Its flavor includes dark red fruits like strawberries, cherries, and raspberries pairs well with turkey.

Jean-Michel Dupre - Regnie Vignes De 1948 2020 - $15.99

Jean-Michel Dupre started with next to nothing: only a farm and a two hectare vineyard left by his father. When the question of succession arose, Jean-Michel could not pass on the opportunity to continue the tradition. He converted an old farm building into a winery and went in search of additional well-located plots in Beaujolais, Beaujolais Villages, Morgon, and Régnié. What sets him apart from many other winemakers in the region is the age of his vineyard, which has vines on it that are around 100 years old. His wines have an incredible concentration as a result from smaller yields and more expressive fruit. The vines that produce this wine average over seventy years of age and are located in the sandy granitic soils of the 11 acre "Tour Bardon" vineyard.

3. Rosé All the Way!

Don't overlook the versatility of a well-selected rosé. Its light, refreshing profile matches perfectly with various Thanksgiving menu components:

a) Dry Rosé: Offering a balance between red and white wines, a dry rosé can cut through fatty flavors like gravy while enhancing the herbs in sage stuffing.

Francois Chidaine - Touraine Rose Val De Loire 2022 - $15.99

Chidaine’s 2022 Rosé is a blend of Grolleau and Pinot Noir. Bright and effusive, with tons of aromatic presence, the Rosé is immediately alluring. The interplay of aromatics, bright minerals and layered fruit makes for a delicious and beguiling Rosé that is absolutely delicious. - Antonio Galloni, Vinous

b) Sparkling Rosé: For those seeking a festive touch, sparkling rosé will elevate your Thanksgiving toast as its effervescence provides a delightful contrast to rich dishes or creamy mashed potatoes.

Bisol - Jeio Prosecco Rose Brut 2020  -$14.99

Delicate rose color with fine and persistent perlage. Elegant, complex bouquet on the nose with scents of rose, hints of fresh fruits and lychees. The sip is full, sapid, harmonious, with a well-balanced acidity.

4. Sweet Endings: Dessert Wine Pairings

As our Thanksgiving meal concludes, dessert becomes the star of the show. Pairing desserts with carefully chosen sweet wines enhances their flavors:

a) Late Harvest Riesling: A luscious late-harvest Riesling boasts concentrated fruitiness and honeyed richness that pairs harmoniously with apple pie or caramelized pumpkin desserts.

J.J. Prum - Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese GKA 2018 (375ml) - $41.99

The 2018er Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Auslese GK was made from shrivelled rather than botrytized fruit, and was fermented down to noble-sweet levels of residual sugar. It offers a ripe but still rather backward nose made of honeyed fig, earthy spices, almond paste, and smoky elements. The wine proves gorgeously juicy and fruity on the still rather sweet palate, and leaves a superbly multi-layered feel of almond paste, fig, lemongrass, and spices. A touch of zest comes through in the after-taste and adds to the complex and layered sensation. This remarkably elegant wine only needs patience to absorb its sweetness and reveal its finesse. 2033-2058

94 - Mosel Fine Wine

b) Port: With its rich texture and intense flavors, port wine creates magical pairings with dark chocolate desserts, fruit tarts, or nutty pies on your Thanksgiving table.

Warre's - Vintage Port 2000 - $71.99

This is a classic Cima Corgo wine based on old-vine mixed plantings on either side of the Douro, Cavadinha (north of Pinhao) and Bom Retiro (across the river to the south). The vinhas velhas at these quintas make up 80 percent of the blend, with contributions from tourigas francesa and nacional. This presents the ripe 2000 vingage in luscious and supple roundness, the tannins completely integrated into the fruit, taking the wine in a savory direction of mountain herbs and cool schist. The wine shows Warre's gentle power, a vintage at its prime, ready to enjoy with after-dinner conversation, it should hold well over the next five to ten years.

5. Considerations for Non-Alcoholic Options

While wine is a popular choice during this festive occasion, it's essential to cater to non-drinkers or those who prefer non-alcoholic alternatives:

a) Sparkling Water: Chilled sparkling water infused with fresh fruits or herbs offers a sophisticated and refreshing option that complements any dish without overpowering flavors.

b) Mocktails: Get creative with festive mocktails by combining fruity juices, tonic water, ginger ale, and various herbs - an intriguing alternative for both adults and children alike.

As you plan your Thanksgiving feast this year, remember that choosing the right wine can transform an already memorable meal into an extraordinary one. Whether you opt for a dry white to refresh your palate, an elegant red to complement the heartier entrees, or a sweet wine to conclude the evening on a high note, there are numerous options available to suit every taste and dish. Take this opportunity to explore and experiment with new pairings, creating a Thanksgiving experience that will be remembered for years

About the Author

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