Choosing Wine for Thanksgiving Dinner

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Thanksgiving dinner brings together families and friends who enjoy a delicious meal, cheer for their favorite football team and toast to the things that make them thankful. In order to make the perfect toast, it is important to provide the perfect wines to go with your choices for Thanksgiving dinner. According to Better Homes and Gardens, more wine is sold for Thanksgiving Day dinner than for any other meal during the year. For people who don’t drink wine often, choosing the right wine to go with the Thanksgiving meal may be difficult.

“The type of food you serve at Thanksgiving plays a big part in the type of wine you should purchase,” said Paul Singh of Cypress Wine and Spirits, located in Milford next to Redner’s Market on Rt. 113. “Certain wines compliment certain foods, but there are also foods that compliment certain types of wines as well.”

Thanksgiving can be a difficult meal to choose wine as there are many different flavors involved in the meal. Turkey has white and dark meat while cranberries provide a tart flavor and candied yams offer a sweet sensation on the palate. One of the best options is to choose several different types of wine to go with dinner, although it is possible to select a good, all-purpose wine as well.

“This year we are seeing a lot of people choosing German Reisling wines,” Mr. Singh said. “It is a sweeter wine so it appeals to more people than a dryer wine. Fetzer Gewurztraminer is an aromatic, vibrant wine that really accents typical Thanksgiving flavors. If you prefer a red wine, Mirassou Pinot Noir is an excellent choice as well.” Gewurztraminer is a German wine that is either dry or sweet. Gewurz means “spiced,” so these wines have spicy notes like nutmeg or cloves. Reisling often has touches of peaches, apricots or a floral flavor.

One suggestion is to serve a sparkling wine as guests arrive, as they are light and perfect for appetizers. Choose a sparkling wine labeled “brut,” which means the wine is dry, as they are more suitable for sipping than a sweeter sparkling wine like Asti Spumanti.

Many people believe that they must serve white wine if they are serving turkey. However, it is acceptable to serve red wine with the Thanksgiving meal. It is important to choose a light red, however, as heavier reds, such as Cabernet, as they are too tart and high in tannins for turkey. Pinot Noir has essence of plum, raspberries, cherries and strawberries which pair well with turkey while Syrah has strong spice and black pepper flavors. Some Syrahs also have a smoky flavor that is excellent with turkey.

“One red that is often overlooked is Beaujolais,” said Mr. Singh. “It is very light and pairs extremely well with Thanksgiving foods. Beaujolais should be served slightly cool, unlike other reds. After dinner, everyone looks forward to dessert and there are wines that work really well with sweet foods. Of course, Reisling or Gewurztraminer are excellent choices for dessert.” Other wines that go well with sweet foods are Muscat, Sauternes or port.

Thanksgiving is a time for friends and family to gather, share good food and laughter. Choosing the right wines to go with Thanksgiving dinner allows you to enhance the flavor of the food served while providing the perfect toasting choice. Consider purchasing a brand you have never tried before or select several different brands and allow guests to do their own wine tasting. Mr. Singh said that they are available to answer any questions you may have about wines or other spirits you may want to serve during the holidays.

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