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What Wine Should I Serve with Thanksgiving Dinner?

We've all hear the old rule, "Red wine with beef, white wine with chicken & fish." But what about turkey and ham? What wines do you serve with Thanksgiving dinner?


The answer is simple, but then again, not so simple.


The simple answer is "Whatever wines you want!" But that's not what you want to hear, you want advice and guidance. So here's some thoughts from my years of experience in eating holiday meals and drinking wine.


First of all, I don't believe in the old rules, I believe you should look at the whole meal when determining what wines to pair. For example, if I'm serving grilled tilapia with herbed rice and mixed greens, I'd opt for a lighter wine like a Pinot Grigio or even a dry Riesling, or a light Pinot Noir for guests who like red wines. However, if I'm serving blackened salmon with baked potatoes and asparagus, I'd opt for a medium-bodied wine like a Chardonnay or a Sangiovese.


I also like to look at the spice pallet. Different spices pair well with different flavors, so that's something to consider too. This is where all you sweet wine lovers will get your happy dance on! Think about what flavors taste good with which spices. One of my favorite pairings is Blueberry or Black Cherry wines with Indian food. I also love Strawberry wine with Chinese food, especially a beef dish! Having BBQ, a sweet red blend or a nice Sangria is your friend. There's even wine for tacos - try an off-dry wine like a Gewurztraminer or a Rosé. Of course, if you ask me about what wine to serve with pork, I'll always say Green Apple Gewurztraminer!

Now, what about that turkey and ham dinner? For the sweet wine lovers I'd say a nice crisp apple, pear, or cranberry wine. After all, those are the fruits we most associate with Thanksgiving dinner. For a white wine you almost can't go wrong with a dry to semi-dry wine, think Sauvignon Blanc or a crisp Chardonnay. If you'll be serving red wine, opt for a light- to medium-bodied wine like Pinot Noir, Chianti, Sangiovesse, or Merlot. Again, a crisp, off-dry Rosé is a good choice too.


At the end of the day, these are just guidelines. You choose the wines you want and if you're really stuck, ask you guests in advance what they like. Nothing wrong with a little cheating.



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