Finding the perfect wine for Thanksgiving is a potential nightmare. With guests, all with different preferences, and an array of deliciously rich and heavy food, finding great wines to accompany them and keep everyone happy can be difficult.
For appetizers, serve something dry and fizzy like Italian Prosecco, Spanish Cava or push the boat out with a good French Champagne. Something you may not know, is you can now buy a sparkling red Chiraz, which is surprisingly good, and a nice, lighter alternative to traditional red and a great pre-dinner drink. A current trend seems to be to serve sparkling right through the meal, and assuming your guests do not object â€“ why not? It certainly saves the difficult, and time-consuming dilemma of pairing wine with food.
To serve alongside your main course, you can't go wrong with a nice, dry white as a perfect turkey accompaniment. You want something with that can cut through the richness of all that food, and so instead of choosing an oaky medium-bodied Chardonnay, try a spicy, dry Gewurztraminer that emphasises the savoury element of the meal. If you fancy something a little crisper, look for a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand's Marlborough Valley. Pinot Grigio is also a crisp, light alternative.
Red wine is a difficult balancing act with a Thanksgiving meal. You want something with enough gusto to sit well with all that heavy, rich food, but not so heavy that it's an extra chore to plough through. Most popular for a Thanksgiving dinner are slightly peppery reds - choices include red Zinfandel, Syrah, Pinot Noir or a not-too heavy Rioja. For something really special, try an Italian Barolo. It's not cheap, but it's a simply incredible red wine.
Desert wines seem to be waning in popularity. Many people do not enjoy the sickly sweetness of these wines, and choose instead to revert back to a fizzy white. You could try serving a less 'brut' version of your Aperitif fizz to ring the changes.
Otherwise, consider Sauternes â€“ be sure to buy the real thing though, not its generic alternative called 'Sauterne'. This fruity, sweet wine is a real pick-me-up at the end of a meal.
Sweet Gewurztraminer can also be called on to do the job, if you served it with the main course. Or, you can simply offer a well-aged port.
Consider a good brandy served as it comes. For something cooler, offer a fruity Cointreau, or the caffeine lift of a coffee liqueur, served on the rocks.
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