Thanksgiving Wine Pairing

thanksgiving wine pairingPairing wine with the traditional Thanksgiving meal is a bit like taking photos of invisible objects—an impossible task. The dishes are so varied there is no wine that will go with all of them. Even the turkey is hard to pair–the wine that works best with dark meat will not be ideal with white meat.

Instead of recommending specific wines I’m going to list strategies. But keep two things in mind: (1) they will all fail, and (2) after the second glass no one will care.

1. Serve sparkling wine, one with a little perceptible sweetness. It’s not a perfect pairing but probably will not offend any of the dishes. And you will never be criticized for serving bubbly.

2. Serve a white and a red. An off-dry Riesling with good acidity and a medium-body red with soft tannins and high acidity such as Pinot Noir will both be passable with most dishes.

3. Serve the dinner in courses and pair a wine with each course. This is only for those who have fussy guests who insist on perfection; everyone else will think you’re nuts. You will probably need to hire a staff of servers and dishwashers to help but if you pull it off your guests will be impressed, even the one’s who think you’re nuts.

4. Open a variety of wines and let people drink what they want. It involves little labor and no one can complain about their own choices. I don’t see a downside.

5. Just pour your favorite wine and don’t worry about the pairing. Most wines will be OK with most foods. Its Thanksgiving after all, not a winemaker’s dinner.

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