Even though this will be a Thanksgiving like no other, we still have some things to be thankful for: family, Dr. Fauci, a vaccine in our future, new leadership, and “The Great British Baking Show.” This holiday is wine’s time to shine. It’s also a time when the anxiety of what to buy for the cornucopia of flavors we are ordering in or cooking up gets real. I have been in this wine game for a while, and I love this time of year. Back in the day, when I owned a wine shop, it was so much fun helping people find the right bottles, checking a box off their agenda lists.
And with this year being rife with stress, I feel it’s even more important to bring some relief to wine lovers. The way I like to pair wine with Thanksgiving dishes is to focus on acidity. It’s the element of wine that brightens up the palate, amplifies the fruit, and allows you to enjoy both the food and the wine, instead of one overwhelming the other.
The cool thing is, acidity doesn’t mean the wine has to be lean. It can mean deep, grippy tannins in reds, and buttery notes in a white. As long as the acidity is right, the wine will balance and jive with anything from white and dark meat, to sweet potatoes and any other traditional food your family brings to the table (I’m half Italian — there was always lasagna).
When it comes to price, there are definitely options — whether you want to splurge because you’re doing Turkey Day online and want a legit fine wine to sip or share with your significant other, or whether your entire fam has quarantined and you’re all podded up, ready for some low- to mid-priced vino to go full bacchanal. There are wines for all of it.
And because this is a true American holiday and, of course, it’s American Wine Month at VinePair (plus election month), I thought I would recommend some awesome bottles from the U.S. that will pair with whatever you put on the table. Stay safe, and enjoy swirling and sipping.
Juicy and refreshing with a little bit of depth, this rosé will pair with all the veggies, and even some of the light meat with a dollop of gravy.
Smells like sweet mangoes and pears, with good, tart acidity. It will complement the lighter fat of the dark meat and calm the heat of anything with a little spice.
This wine is soft, rich, and smells like blackberries with a subtle smoky mocha vibe, making for a great picky palate pleaser.
Smells like slated honey and river-rock minerality with a nice weight on the palate, this wine can hold up to some fat and cheesier dishes.
This is a great wine with just the right weight and bracing acidity. It smells like fresh sliced pears and sweet orange blossoms, making for a great pairing for white meat or any fish dish you may serve up.
A great American Pinot with a rich core of fruit and comfy weight on the palate, balanced by just the right amount of acidity. This wine will hold up to pretty much anything on the holiday table.
Smells like lemons sprinkled with sea salt and fancy butter, this wine has a slight toast and excellent acidity, keeping everything in balance so as not to overwhelm your palate. This is a great white meat wine.
Dark and chewy, and smells like cherries and a whiff of cinnamon. Keep this bottle close, because you may not want to share. The almost perfect acidity brings this wine into harmony for anything on your plate.
This is a classic example of American Cab done right. Big, bold, and beautiful, with structured tannins and a deep fruit core of blackberry jam shown off by balanced acidity. Pass the dark meat, please!
Published: November 18, 2020