Question 3: What Wines For Thanksgiving?
Hi, Deborah. My mom and I are celebrating Thanksgiving together with a cornish hen and wild rice stuffing… any wine pairing recommendations? Thanks!
Ah, the Thanksgiving wine question. Thank you for asking. 🙂
Common answers to this question usually suggest that Chardonnay goes well with the turkey, or if you’re a red wine drinker, open a bottle of Pinot Noir. Both of these work. An oaked Chardonnay pairs well if you have any dishes on the table that are creamy or buttery. Pinot Noir works because it’s light bodied and its earthiness may pair well with some of the side dishes. A dry Riesling can also match very well.
But I’d like to make some other suggestions as well. If you are having a rich meal, instead of that oaked Chard, consider a White Bordeaux or even a Gruner Veltliner. Both of these are full and rich, and will stand up to a yummy celebratory spread with lots of complicated dishes on the table. In your case, with a wild rice stuffing, I would recommend you try a quality Chablis to pair with it. The walnut tones in the wine should go very well with the nuttiness of the stuffing.
And for red wine drinkers, here too consider something out of the ordinary. Another light bodied wine that shouldn’t overwhelm your bird is the lesser known Zweigelt – Austrian and Canadian producers are both doing well with this grape. Another great pairing, keeping in the spirit of celebrating the autumn harvest, would be a light, fruity Beaujolais Nouveau… but this only works for American Thanksgiving, since the new release doesn’t happen until the third Thursday of November each year. (We Canadians can give this match a try at Christmas instead.)
Really, though, let your preferences be your guide. Nobody will die if you put a fruit bomb Shiraz on the table with your turkey, if that’s what you most like to drink.