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Five Wines to Pair with Thanksgiving Dinner (not financial advice)

Five Wines to Pair with Thanksgiving Dinner (not financial advice)

November 20, 2023

With Thanksgiving coming up, we thought we would do something a bit different than the normal financial content. It still involves some planning, but we are only planning a little bit ahead, unlike the retirement plans we put together.

Whether you are hosting the big meal at your house and are getting ready to cook up a storm, are planning to contribute a side dish to the upcoming feast, or you aren't a master in the kitchen at all, you can still look like a hero by bringing a great bottle of wine.

I am no expert myself (like, at all), but I have a friend who is quite passionate about wine (beyond just drinking it) and is actually a sommelier. He has helped me come up with a list of wines that are fantastic, won't break the bank, and can be served with Thanksgiving dinner. His first bit of advice is to serve what you like to drink... BUT, he says if you are interested in choosing wines that would “pair” well with Turkey Dinner - or if you don't know where to start – he submits the following:

Whites:

  1. BUBBLES! Why wouldn’t you go with Bubbles? Sparkling wine is actually one of the BEST food wines EVER. Light, crisp, goes down easy – If you say the bubbles gives me a headache – I would say you are probably drinking sparkling wine that has too much sugar in it. For thanksgiving, or any time, I suggest trying Scarpetta Brut Rose – made by Master Sommelier, Bobby Stuckey, owner of Frasca in Boulder, this wine is refreshing with hints of strawberry on the nose. It’s reasonable in price: $14-$16. My friend lives near Davidson’s Liquors… but you may be able to find these are your favorite local shop Scarpetta Brut Rose
  2. But what about the asparagus/artichoke/brussels sprouts? As I have shared with many of you over the years, Asparagus and artichokes are wine KILLERS. I’m not sure exactly why, something to do with the chemistry and I tossed in brussels sprouts just for fun. Well, the only wine I know of that actually compliments asparagus and is thus, my white wine varietal for any Thanksgiving meal is Gruner Veltliner. That’s right – the Austrian “Green Wine of Vetlin” is downright superb. And – you don’t have to spend a fortune – in fact if you do- shame on you! Go in to any wine store and ask the wine merchant for any Gruner Veltliner. Believe it or not, I tend to like the more pricey ones myself. So instead of cheaping out at 13.99, I suggest you dig deep for that 20.99 per bottle. I’ve had every Gruner Veltliner on Davidson’s Liquor’s website and the $20.99 bottles are worth the extra scratch! Gruner Veltliner

Reds

  1. Cru Beaujolais and it isn’t even close! Let me start with that this wine is not: It is not Beaujolais Nouveau, which is a mass produced, quaffable (gulpable) wine from France that is famous for races by distributors to get the first bottles to different markets around the world. Made from the Gamay Grape, Beaujolais Nouveau is made every October to celebrate the end of the harvest. However, while Nouveau is made with Gamay grapes that are average, some wine makers nurture the Gamay grape in much smaller quantities and give that grape a lot of love. They make wine from the special Gamay grapes called Cru Beaujolais (ten appellations in a part of Burgundy, France that makes all Beaujolais). I LOVE this wine for Thanksgiving. It is inexpensive and can be complex. Raspberry, Cranberry and Tart Cherry on the nose and palate with hints of earth/dirt). Expect to spend $20-40. The best bet here is to ask a wine shop person – I didn’t see any at Davidson’s but if you live near the Highlands in CO – go see my boy Duey at Mondo Vino (one of the best wine shops in Colorado) and let him know I sent you in. He always has super good stuff and he introduced me to this wine. But any respectable wine shop should have a decent bottle or three of Cru Beaujolais.
  2. Pinot Noir – a finicky, feminine grape that likes cooler weather, elevation and careful processing. Generally speaking, I am not a fan of most Pinot Noir Wines from CA (there are great ones, but most I find to be very fruity- try Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – Sonoma Coast.. I think it’s their “cheaper” one and it’s super yummy but not cheap at about $55). Pinot Noir is feminine and requires a lot of effort to process correctly (hence, it tends to be more expensive). For Thanksgiving dinner, it should have hints of cranberry/raspberry/flowers and will be wonderful with anything you smother with cranberry sauce. I like Willamette Valley, Oregon Pinots (generally speaking), but here, cost becomes an issue. I have found that the more you pay for Pinot Noir, for the most part, the better the wine (except in Burgundy France, where Pinot is originally from – it’s a total crap shoot, but when you get a good one, it leaves an impression on your soul!). For this purpose, I consulted a Pinot Noir expert and he suggested Elk Cove Estate Pinot Noir, 2017 for a good, reasonably priced Oregon Pinot. I always suggest this Elk Cove, it sells for $26 at Davidson’s – but I also saw a Failla which I have had a few times over the years and they do well with Pinot (though, I haven’t had it recently). Failla Willamette Valley Pinot Noir –OR - you could easily walk into any wine shop and say you are looking for a yummy Oregon Pinot in the $30-$40 range.

There you have it – classic wines to drink with Thanksgiving Dinner! Remember – the first rule is drink what you like – but, pairing wine can be fun – especially with a challenging meal like Thanksgiving! And it should go without saying, but please drink responsibly!

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