Archive for October, 2010

Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner

October 6, 2010

Holiday coming up and so is the perennial quest for the best wine or wines to serve with dinner. And Thanksgiving can be a challenge, because it often has some sweetness to it i.e. cranberry sauce or mint sauce.  As well, depending on how you cook the turkey, some wines work better than others.

But first a general rule that I go by — don’t worry too much about it.  If you have a great wine or a wine you really like, just serve it. As I have written about before, the whole “food and wine” thing is a bit overblown in my opinion.

Having said that, some wines do go better with some dishes/flavours.  If you are having a number of sweet things (like the sauces noted above or perhaps a soy/sweet and sour marinade to the turkey or sweet glazed ham), consider a slightly off-dry white wine for dinner. Rieslings and Gewurztraminers are great options because they often have just enough sweetness to balance of those kind of flavours in food. For BC options, try La Frenz Riesling or Tantalus Riesling.  Both are gorgeous wines that will impress — and surprise — your family and friends.

If you are going the barbecue route for your turkey, chicken or lamb – complete with powerful bbq sauce — I would recommend a Shiraz or Zinfandel.  Not really any I can recommend from BC, but if you want to treat yourself try Ridge Lytton Springs or Geyserville. While they are about $50 in the liquor stores, they are amazing wines, full – bodied and concentrated, with enough ripe, brambly blackberry fruit to take on any barbecue.  For Shiraz, try one by Kaesler or Mollydooker.  These old vine, higher end wines from Aus will set you back about $40, but just explode with flavour; just watch out for the high alcohol!

If traditional turkey is on the menu, my favourite wine is actually Chateauneuf du Pape.  If you are lucky enough (like I am) to have some older vintages in your cellar, crack open one with 8+ years in it like Le Vieux Donjon  or Vieux Telegraph. All the provencal spices and herbs in the wine will go great with the stuffing and work equally well with white and dark meat (and lots of gravy!).

Lots of other ideas and options as well; if mushrooms are part of the stuffing/side dish, try a Pinot Noir from Kettle Valley or Blue Mountain in B.C. And if you are having roast beef, La Frenz Cabernet or Merlot would be great.

Whatever you choose, have a great Thanksgiving! And remember — just drink what you like! That’s the real way to celebrate a holiday.