Cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, white meat, dark meat … good grief, how on earth do you pair a wine with the myriad of flavors and textures on your Thanksgiving table? Well, the answer is that there is no perfect wine. But there are wines that work better than others.
The one rule of thumb is to avoid wines with heavy tannins. Tannins can give you that dry, bitter, astringent feeling in your mouth.
Here are my recommendations for Turkey Day wines that won’t break the bank (all cost under $20).
2007 Juve y Camps Gran Reserva Cava, Spain
There’s no better way to begin this special meal then with a toast. Cava is to Spain as champagne is to France (but a lot less expensive). This Spanish beauty has aromas of mature white peach, toasted bread and green tea with hints of lemon citrus and apricots. Equally rich and broad on the palate, these flavors continue to unfold on the palate.
2009 Andrian Pinot Bianco, Alto Adige
If you like Pinot Grigio from Alto Adige, you will love this Pinot Bianco from that region. This one offers a fruity bouquet (apples and pears) and a palate impression that will remind you of Pinot Grigio, but with added minerality and structure. A terrific all-around food wine.
2010 Wolf Gewurtztraminer, Germany
This perennial Thanksgiving favorite shows off the aromatic charm of the grape with a delicious juicy texture and a delicate aroma of spice and fresh roses. The finish is delightfully fresh with just the right amount of acid.
2011 Ravines Dry Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York
Ravines Dry Riesling is a unique and elegant expression of the brilliant Finger Lakes terroir. The bouquet of the wine is delicate with intricate aromas of white flowers and stone fruit. A lingering mineral finish is accompanied by vibrant acidity. This New York state wine is delicious.
2011 Rascal Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley
A refreshing wine with flavors and aromatics of apple, peach and a touch of citrus. Nicely balanced with just a touch of sweetness, supported by a lively streak of acidity. It will work well with the different flavors that the meal provides.
2011 Chateau De Lancyre Rose, Pic Saint Loup
A dry rose is a great turkey wine. And this big styled rose was by far our favorite over the past year. Raspberry and pear aromas on the nose, with distinctive spicy, minty garrigue notes. Big, bold and firm red berry flavors on the palate, ending with a long, clean finish.
2011 Ca’ Momi Zinfandel, Napa Valley
There is a great combination of sweet ripe blackberry, cherry, toasty vanilla and dark plums in the glass. The spices are well in check and very mild, leading to an incredibly velvet-like smooth finish. This zinfandel is not overly sweet or spicy like many are. Very well balanced.
2010 Georges Duboeuf Morgon, France
This first-class Beaujolais from the region of Morgon (made from the Gamay grape) shows perfect balance and a sumptuous bouquet of black currant, plum, violets and old-fashioned roses. Elegantly smooth on the palate, revealing several layers of fresh red berries, especially cherries. The silky, prolonged finish signals completely ripened fruit.
2010 Talbott ‘Kali Hart’ Pinot Noir, Monterey California
Kali Hart has a beautiful, deep ruby color with bright fruit aromas of cranberry, currant and plum, as well as hints of vanilla. The crisp red fruit flavors continue on the palate, where they are accentuated by soft, smooth tannins. The finish is long with lush fruit and hints of vanilla and French oak.
2010 Primus Red Blend, Chile
This lush blend of Cabernet, Carmenere, Syrah, and Merlot has a deep, dark opaque garnet color. Aromas of ripe black berry fruit with a subtle hint of toasty oak. Red and black berry fruit flavors with hints of dried plums, fresh acidity and a long finish with fine, elegant tannins. A great wine.
Todd Baltich is the owner of Leary’s Fine Wines in Newburyport. He can be contacted at Todd@learysfinewines.com with any questions or comments.