Wednesday, November 9, 2011

What wines are best with Thanksgiving dinner? Plan-ahead advice

If you're the one in charge of planning -- and producing -- a holiday meal, you've probably already given your menu some thought. (That is, unless you do the same thing year after year, which is easier, but boring, IMHO.) I'm clipping recipes from magazines and haven't decided on much of anything yet. However, here are a few items we can check off our lists.
First of all is wine. If you don't have a well-stocked cellar that you can just dip into at whim, you might want to look at the list of easy-to-find, holiday-worthy wines that Food & Wine magazine published last month. They've selected a few TG-meal-compatible choices from national grocery stores such as Trader Joe's (my favorite), Whole Foods, Costco and Target. None are expensive, and each one should complement turkey with the trimmings quite adequately.
A few highlights are below, or click here to read the Food & Wine article.
FROM TRADER JOE'S: three sparkling wines, including NV Gloria Ferrer Brut and an affordable Champagne from Piper-Heidseick.
FROM TARGET: their own label sauvignon blanc in a "wine cube" -- yes, a box. F & W says it's pretty good, and only $18 for 3 liters.
FROM WHOLE FOODS: a bargain Spanish temperanillo/malbec blend for just $10.
As with the rest of my meal, I haven't decided completely on what wine to serve, but I'm leaning toward a spicy Gewertztraminer for white and perhaps a cru Beaujolais or Chinon as a red (I've become so enamored of out-of-the-way French reds of late -- they are eminently food friendly and delicious).
One other note: I can't see any reason to pour expensive wine on this particular holiday. The focus of the Thanksgiving meal is family, friends and togetherness, plus an array of traditional dishes and ingredients that aren't the best combo of flavors to showcase your best bottles. Save that stuff for Christmas -- and New Year's.

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