Oct. 03, 2012 - Issue #885: Fall Style 2012
The magnificent seven
A selection of potential wines for Thanksgiving dinnerThe typical Thanksgiving dinner is a veritable smorgasbord of flavours: there's buttery turkey, sweet ham, or hearty roast beef, alongside which is an onslaught of various side dishes. There isn't a single wine that will pair with every single item on the Thanksgiving table, so don't even bother trying—just use the following guidelines, and pick something that you want to drink.
You know how beer goes with pretty much anything? The same is true for sparkling wine. The reason? Carbonation. The bubbles act as a palate cleanser, meaning that you can chow on the wildly different types of food at a Thanksgiving dinner and keep your palate fresh between bites; it's as good a universal pairing as you're going to get. Plus, bubbles are always festive.
Riesling is a rock star when it comes to food pairing. This wine is naturally high in acidity, meaning it's great at cleansing the palate between bites as well as able to handle a wide range of flavours. Off-dry Riesling is particularly great with the sweeter dishes at a Thanksgiving dinner—Germany has some lovely sweeter Riesling (hint: pick one that says Spatlese or Auslese on the label), as does New Zealand and Ontario.
For those who don't like sweet wines, Chardonnay is a classic choice. It's also pretty easygoing in terms of food pairing and is made in two very different styles to suit everyone's particular taste: choose an unoaked Chardonnay for something very crisp and refreshing, or an oaked version (especially from California) for something buttery and rich—perfect with turkey.
It's easy to overlook pink wine (aka rosé) at Thanksgiving, but pink wine straddles the line between white and red wine, meaning that it has the higher acidity of a white and the darker fruits of a red. Pink wine is also often a little sweet, which makes it a great partner to the sweetness in many Thanksgiving dishes.
With lively acidity and smooth, easy drinking berry flavours, Pinot Noir is a classic food partner that doesn't conflict with most dishes. For Thanksgiving dinner, stick with Pinot Noir from the New World as it's more approachable than Old World versions: Chile has some great Pinot, especially from the Casablanca Valley, as does New Zealand and Oregon.
For those who want a hearty red no matter what is on the table, it's best to choose one with rich fruit flavours and even a bit of residual sweetness—making Zinfandel a solid choice. Most Zinfandel comes from either California or Italy (where it is known as Primitivo). Though it's probably better with roast beef than turkey, Zinfandel is fairly low in tannin so it won't overpower lighter Thanksgiving foods.
There are several fruit wines made right here in Alberta that are fantastic partners to Thanksgiving dinner—after all, it makes sense that a dish containing cranberries would taste great with a wine made from highbush cranberries. Honey mead is also another intriguing choice, as it is surprisingly dry and has a range of flavours that work with a wide array of foods. Look for the spiced meads from Fallentimber Meadery, as well as a range of fruit wines from Barr Estate Winery, Field Stone Fruit Wines, Birds & Bees Winery, and Chinook Arch Meadery. V vueweekly.com comments: powered by Disqus
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