Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner or attending as a guest, chances are you’re going to be faced with a decision as to what wine to pair with the meal or bring to your host(ess).
We at Denver off the Wagon are here to help you avoid the sudden paralysis and vacant stare that often occurs in wine aisles across the country by bringing you Thanksgiving wine advice from some of the finest sommeliers in the business. Now you can confidently walk into your liquor store of choice, pick the perfect holiday wine, and present it to your host(ess) with pride!
Seeking recommendations for wine pairings with the traditional Thanksgiving meal, I had the opportunity to interview master sommelier and quintessential professional Bobby Stuckey of Frasca Food and Wine and Pizzeria Locale, and Master of Wine, Arian Kara– the man that keeps me filled with delicious French food and huge California cabs at L’Atelier .
Bobby prefaced his suggestions by noting “with a traditional Thanksgiving meal, you can’t have a wine for everything. The meal is a myriad of polarizing flavors from cranberries to stuffing and everything in between.” As I compared my notes, Bobby and Ari recommend a similar progression of wines that promise to delight your guests:
Kara: The 2010 Gerard Bertrand Cremant de Limou Rosé Brut France ($16) with fine bubbles and rich structure will set the atmosphere for the main event. Light baking spices with hints of strawberries and raspberries will make a great pair with salads, especially those with warm goat cheese and fruit vinaigrettes.
Stuckey: On the table, set out a few bottles of white that have texture, but not wood. I would recommend a dry pinot gris from Alsace, France. Ask your liquor store for a suggestion that provides a smoky texture, no oak and is dry.
Kara: Along the same vein, Ari recommends the 10 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Pinot Blanc Alsace, France ($21) as a pairing with salads and poultry.
The 2010 ‘J’ Vineyards Pinot Gris, Russian River Valley ($16) for the traditional turkey & Ham, and 2009 Chateau Fuisse “Tete de Cru” Pouilly Fuisse, France ($33) with its lacy richness cut by frisky minerality creates a perfect pair with turkey.
Stuckey: The ‘wine of the moment’ is definitely the Copain Trousseau, which will be on my Thanksgiving table. I also recommend a Cru Beaujolais, (~$18-$24) or a nice Barbera (~$25). (For suggestions on Barbera, check out my article on Antonio Galloni’s “Piedmont beyond Barolo” session during this year’s Aspen Food & Wine Classic.)
Kara: Ari’s favorite of the year is the 2008 Sequana Pinot Noir Dutton Ranch, Russian River, which is a great single-vineyard wine, named after the goddess of river Seine. This wine has warm aromas of cherry, rose and hints of vanilla. Exploding aromas of warm spices, cherry, cranberry with a long lasting finish.
I’ll be hosting Thanksgiving this year and I’m taking the suggestions of the best by serving Bollinger Special Cuvee and 10 Domaine Zind Humbrecht Pinot Blanc Alsace, France, but in the end it’s all about what you like to drink. Those of you who follow my wine tastes know that I’m from a family of Napa Cab drinkers, so our red will be a big, fat 2008 Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon. Perhaps it’s completely inappropriate, but we’re going for it!
Have additional suggestions? Post below! Otherwise, I’ve provided a few more options, selected by Mike Joyce of Natural Wine Company, which are available at Liquor Mart, Boulder Wine Merchant, Superior Liquor and Hazel’s Beverage World.
Terres Dorees Beaujolais Blanc Chardonnay 2010 ($17)
Pinon Vouvray Cuvee Tradition 2009 ($20)
Valdesil Montenovo Godello 2011 ($13)
Wind Gap Chardonnay James Berry Vineyard 2010 ($18)
Terres Dorees Beaujolais l’Ancien VV 2010 ($14)
Chateau d’Oupia Minervois Rouge Tradition 2010 ($10)
Iuli Umberta Barbera Del Monferrato 2010 ($15)
San Fereolo Dolcetto Valdiba DOC 2010 ($20)
Bocchino Roccabella Lange Nebbiolo 2010 ($26)
Occhipinti SP68 Sicilia Rosso 2011 ($24)
Casina di Cornia Chianti Classico DOCG 2008 ($22)
Sass Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2010 ($21)
Copain Tous Ensemble Pinot Noir 2010 ($26)