Thanksgiving is all about the food. By the time we plan the menu and consider which wines we’ll be serving, there is a lot to consider. I mean, really, is there a wine that pairs well with tart cranberry, sweet potatoes, crunchy onion toppings, savory gravy, roasted turkey and pumpkin pie all at the same time? In short, no. Of course, the simplest solution is to say, “So what?” and just drink what you like. We completely support that. On the other side of the spectrum, some of us do want to serve what truly works. For such an occasion as Thanksgiving, our best advice is to select two or three wines to serve throughout the meal: a red, a white and a dessert, and make sure they’re special.
Red: This year, our top red picks for Thanksgiving are 2012 Malbec and 2011 Montepulciano. They’re big reds, for sure, and they are exceptional. Both wines show phenomenal fruit and each have a long finish, ensuring their beautiful flavors will linger on your taste buds. Malbec and Montepulciano will be delicious with herb-roasted turkey (especially the dark meat) topped with cranberry relish. By all means, uncork these with appetizers, particularly if you are serving cured meats and cheeses (yes, pigs in a blanket and homemade cheeseballs count).
White: White wines are a bit easier to pair with a wide variety of foods. Generally, they are crisper, carry more fruit and are lighter in body making them very food-friendly and versatile. Two of our favorites to serve with Thanksgiving are 2015 Torrontes and 2014 Chardonnay. Both wines are medium bodied, full of fruit and refreshing. Take a sip in between bites of buttery mashed potatoes, creamy green bean casserole, and pecan-studded sweet potatoes. Torrontes and Chardonnay are also a lovely counterpart to pumpkin soup and honey-roasted ham.
Dessert: Not that we need to say it again, but Thanksgiving is special. Special wines are in order, including our 2010 Port. Not an everyday wine for most, Port is one of those wines that has its time and place such as – wait for it – special occasions. We recently discovered at The Restaurant that Ponte Port is a knockout with pumpkin, as shown in one of this season’s desserts, Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Eggnog Ice Cream. Serve small glasses of Port this year with your pumpkin, apple and pecan pies and watch the spirits of your guests lift a little bit higher.
The Restaurant’s Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Eggnog Ice Cream, paired with Port
Perhaps you already have favorite wines to serve with Thanksgiving? Tell us about them in the comments!