Wine & Food

Snooth User: Dan183

Looking for the best all around Thanksgiving wine for all tastes and foods.

Posted by Dan183, Nov 3, 2010.

Trying to decide what bottle of wine to bring for Thanksgiving this year, could use a few suggestions. Pretty much the normal Thanksgiving dishes i.e. Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, the usual. I'm thinking a Zinfandel would be the way to go, open to all comments.



Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Nov 3, 2010.

I like Zin, as long as it's lighter styled. I've been very happy with Sobon's for example. Other wines that I will be mentioning this year inclide the requisite pinot noirs, lambrusco (if you don't mind the bubblies), decent nouveau (yes there may be a few) Austrian reds, Zweigelt baby, and a smattering of whites.

In fact the topic is so complex I might have to write 4 articles on it!


Reply by Kimberly H, Nov 3, 2010.

I agree with what Gregory said above -- a lighter style Zin could work nicely, and of course, Pinot Noir is always a good bet.  I've suggested two in other forum responses here recently that always get my hard-earned dollars b/c they are both very good for the price:  Firesteed Oregon 2007 Pinot Noir, which you can find for around $12-$14 retail, and Alfredo Roca 2009 Pinot Noir from Argentina -- very nice with a spice note to it that makes me love it!  It's around $11-$12 retail if you can find it. The Firesteed is much easier to find in larger grocery stores, the Alfredo Roca in smaller wine shops. 

Then there's always Gewurtztraminer, if you want an interesting white that works well with many of Thanksgiving's varied flavors. Last year I brought a bottle of Gundlach Bundschu Gewurtztraminer 2008 to the Thanksgiving feast I was invited to and it was a big hit.

Of course, bubbly is always a pretty awesome choice for Thanksgiving dinner too.  : )

Gregory is right, the topic is so complex, many, many words could be written on the "best" wine for Thanksgiving!



Reply by Wineguyinflorida, Nov 3, 2010.

I always like a Pinot Noir with the Turkey dinner.  For my white wine drinking friends I'm contemplating something different this year.  Perhaps a Viogneir, The Washington State varieties are quite good although I think I might go with the old vine french versions for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

It just seems that so many guest are turned off by the reds, even a Pinot. I don't want something to sweet like a Gewürztraminer can be. So for those white wine drinkers I need something that can stand up and take a full course Thanksgiving dinner.

Reply by Dan183, Nov 4, 2010.

Thanks all for the advice, I think I will go with a light zin and a pinot noir just to be safe. I will look for the Alfredo Roca Pinot to give it a try, thanks Kim.

Reply by GregT, Nov 4, 2010.

I'll say what I always say - bring whatever you want.  There's no way to pair a wine with everything.  Cranberries are super sour - what goes with those?  And if people use lots of sugar and cook them, it's even worse.  (I won't mention the abomination in a can, assuming nobody who reads Snooth would stoop to that level of debasement.)

Then you have turkey, which is so bland it goes with anything, including a light white from the Loire.  Now if you put gravy on it, it's a completely different story as much depends on your gravy.  Again, I assume you won't buy anything in a can (God forbid) and I have no idea how those might taste, but if you make your own, you can do all kinds of things and add all kinds of herbs to make it savory and then you're all over France with pairings, red and white.

Now there's dressing.  Do you include sausage, cornbread, chestnuts, oysters, cranberries, or  what?  I make cornbread for the dressing but that's not what everyone does. That's savory too, so you've got that going on but now you're a little earthier and maybe that Pinot Noir can work, maybe a Cab Franc, or hell, maybe a nice Syrah.

Potatoes aren't a problem but what about sweet potatoes?  I put them in the oven with the turkey and they have plenty of natural sugar, so you're a little stuck but those work with a good fruity wine like a Zin.  If you mash them or cook them with something else, you're complicating the issue again.

So far whites can work, particularly something fruity like Conundrum, which is a blend.  (I think for Thanksgiving you should stick to US wines BTW. Just because you wouldn't celebrate Bastille Day with a CA wine, now would you?)

But what else?  A lot of people serve some kind of game.  So now you're talking a good Merlot or Cab, or something cool like a Nebbiolo from Palmina.  And some people also have ham.  I don't know, a rosado?

All in all, it's not like there's a particular wine or type of wine that works all the time.  So just go with what you want and enjoy the dinner! 





Reply by dmcker, Nov 4, 2010.

I agree very much with Greg T's approach (in terms both of eclectic range of choice, and inclusion of whites), though don't draw the line at only US wines for the meal. The US is a land of immigrants, anyway, isn't it? And I give thanks that some of the excesses of wine styling in the US can be counterbalanced by more seasoned traditions out of the old countries.

Below is what I did last year. Though I did go with the Chateuneuf du Pape rather than the Cotes du Rhone, and chose a Trimbach gewurtz rathen than the Zind-Humbrecht (the Trimbach would be less 'sweet' to the palate, WineGuy). As you can see, no Zin but rather a pinot noir from Oregon, a chardonnay from Napa, the C9dP and traminer from France, and a riesling from Germany that all were being drunk by someone with the bird. All bottles were emptied, though fortunately there was enough food left over for turkey sandwiches (everything in them, including stuffing, cranberries, mashed potatoes and gravy), and turkey noodle soup over the next several days.

This year's going to be a lot simpler, since I've changed residences and am a lot busier so won't have anywhere near the time to prepare. But I also have a lot to be thankful for, so it's all good.

Oh, and Greg, push come to shove, I'd rather have canned or bottled cranberry sauce than the equivalent form of gravy. *No* excuse for the latter....



Reply by dmcker, Nov 18, 2009.

Am in Tokyo for several years now, so tend to view this holiday with particular sentimentality. 10 people for dinner, with staggered arrivals. Tuna and avocado tartare, raw ama-ebi sashimi and a couple of other snacky bits yet to be decided for the earlier arrivals. With a couple of different bubblies, a white from Champagne (Pierre Morlet) and a rose from Oregon (Soter).

Dinner itself to be turkey with a chestnut/oyster/dried cranberry stuffing. Skin-on mashed potatoes with giblet gravy. Yams baked in fresh mikan juice and Grand Marnier. Greenbean casserole with wild mushrooms. Baked zucchini with a cheese topping. Caesar salad. A couple of excellent breads from my favorite local baker, one a sourdough baquette and the other an Italian flatbread with dried tomatoes baked in. Two or three whites (a Mayacamas chardonnay with some bottle age, a Dr Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett, also with some bottle age, and maybe a Zind-Humbrecht gewurtztraminer), and three reds (a '96 Les Forts de Latour, a 2005 Auteur Shea Pinot Noir, and a 2007 Rhone since we are giving thanks for very good things this year ;-); was originally thinking to throw in a 2007 Roger Sabon Prestige CdP, but this will likely be too many big guns, so now am thinking a 'lowly' Cotes du Rhone from either Delas or Perrin & Fils--want to lay down the CdP, anyway....).

Dessert to be pumpkin pie, persimmon pudding and a venison mincemeat pie with hardsauce (the meat was gifted to me). Oloroso sherry, Madeira, coffee or black tea to accompany. To fight off the tryptophan-induced drowsiness, Partagas or Montecristo Cubans, with Venezuelan rum, Lagavulin or good Armagnac, for those who want them afterwards.

I never really try to make any sophisticated efforts to match wines to foods on Thanksgiving, nor even worry too much about the progression of whites or reds, since everyone will have different wines in their glasses at the same time. Just wines that I have on hand, that I think the people at the table will like, and that I want to try. Too many people with too many tastes involved, and the intimate frestival of a dinner is generally a gastronomic blowout of potlatch proportions, anyway. More about enjoying the blowout with close friends and family, and not worrying about discipline of any sort, whether of wine appreciation or what have you....

Read more:

Reply by dmcker, Nov 4, 2010.

Sorry, forgot to mention the Bordeaux blend that was also being drunk with the bird. The bubbly (the excellent brut Champagne and Rose from Soter) barely made it past the hors d'oevres, and only for a couple of people. It otherwise seems to have just evaporated before we sat down for the meal. I did confirm that both the Madeira and Sherry also went well with portions of the meal, especially the oranged yams.... ;-)

Reply by napagirl68, Nov 5, 2010.

I am all for a dry, complex CA rose for the main meal. While many recommend pinot noir, which I love when done right, I would be most likely to pair pinot with pork, myself.  My rose suggestion would be hard to find, as I don't drink many, and only liked a local one.. Deer Ridge Livermore 2005 Syrah Rose.  otherwise, maybe a fruitier chard...   I actually HATE turkey and only do it to placate the masses.  One year I did Beef Wellington, and while all loved it, they missed  their big, lazy bird.  I was in heaven:-)

Reply by GregT, Nov 5, 2010.

D - venison mincemeat!  Holy crap.  Now here's the question - were they those little deer that run around in Japan or were they big bucks from western US?  I guess you'd need something bigger and brawnier with the latter?  But with an oloroso too?  Interesting choice but I can see it.  I'd probably eat that and afterwards have the Madeira to sip. 

As to the US wine, yeah, I know, nation of immigrants and all that. But we invented the holiday once we got here, we didn't bring it over!  And each year we have more and better wines from different places so it's just a little thing w me.  I finally got my mother to drink US Riesling, since that's pretty much all she drinks, but we usually had German Riesling when I was growing up so that was a big win for me.  Of course, she's utterly indifferent to where the wine is from.

BTW - what the hell is mikan juice?

Reply by dmcker, Nov 5, 2010.

No, Greg, they were the smaller beasties from the hills of Japan. Shot with shotguns with plugs like you guys do in the Eastern side of the States, rather than the 308s and 30-06s I used growing up in the West. I used my Scots gma's recipe, with lots of butter and both liquor and scotch in two versions of the hard sauce. I didn't do the shooting of the Bambis, they were a gift. As were a brace of duck which I also did a magret of, since I remembered after I posted the above that the party grew to supposedly 12 but actually 13, and I gained help in the kitchen so the magret addition wasn't too much trouble. We went through four bottles of bubbly, and three each of the Mayacamas chard, Trimbach traminer, Loosen Kabinett, Auteur pinot noir, Les Forts cab and and Sabon C9dP, two of the madeira, one of oloroso, then one each of Lagavulin and Santa Teresa rum, as well as four each of the Partagas and Montecristos. Definitely a proper debauch, and not much anybody seems to have gone into work the next day, even if it was scheduled.

NG, where do you get this narrow-guage view of the uses of pinot noir? Start branching out from California, and drinking the French stuff, girl!  With the magret it was a true showstopper, even though ours that night was an Oregonian. Which also went well with the turkey, especially the dark meat, my personal favorite. ;-)

And Greg, mikan is the Japanese version of mandarin orange. Great stuff when fresh, quite tangy early in the season (say when harvested by early November), somewhere between the Chinese canned or bottled crap I was occasionally served in SoCal growing up (talk about taking sand to the beach) and tangerines. Good stuff, with a distinctive tang different than Valencias or Navels. Not as sexy as blood oranges, perhaps, but a lot better to cook with. Even use their peels in Schezwan-style stir fries. And boiled then baked yams with butter and mikan and GM and paprika makes a great foil for, as you guessed (for me, anyway), initially the main meal wines, then the oloroso, then the madeira. GregDP might be disappointed to know I didn't bother with a cheese course... ;-)



Reply by GregT, Nov 6, 2010.

Just sounds like a fantastic meal.  I've made mincemeat exactly once, since I seem to be one of the few people I know who likes it.  But with venison it just sounds incredible.  As far as GdP, what does he know from cooking . . .

Reply by dmcker, Nov 7, 2010.

Just reread my last, and I meant to say both rum (not 'liquor') and Scotch in the two versions of hard sauce that went with the mincemeat.

The meal was a definite success, and quite enjoyable both for the host and guests--a great time had by all. Everyone, except the one vegetarian and one vegan in the group, tried the mincemeat pie, and cleaned their plates, though some asked for small slices in trepidation. Wasn't enough left of the two mince pies and two pumpkin pies and persimmon pudding for me the rest of the week. Never have understood why nobody knows a) how to cook, and b) much at all about persimmon pudding. I like the stuff.

I tried the mincemeat with coffee, with tea,  with milk, with the Oloroso, and with Scotch, that night and over the next few days. All worked. Thought of a few more beverages I wanted to try, but no more pie left....

Reply by dmcker, Nov 18, 2016.


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