A couple of bottles of wine on the table at Thanksgiving are always welcome.
As a guest, this is the perfect offering — aside from the food you have slaved over, of course! As a host, this is an easy way to add a festive note to your spread. Here are some basics for selecting the perfect wine for your turkey dinner.
First, the obvious choice: Pinot Noir.
With great acid, low tannins and moderate levels of alcohol, a good pinot will neither overpower your carefully prepared dishes nor shrink in their presence. This is the iconic Thanksgiving wine and you can’t go wrong with it. Luckily, however, turkey is extremely versatile when it comes to wine pairings, and many traditional side dishes are also very wine friendly. So, if you are looking for some variety, here are some other great ideas.
Medium-Bodied Reds are often referred to as “food wines.”
They offer lots of flavor and well-balanced acidity, which make them a great match for a wide variety of dishes. The most popular medium-bodied red is Merlot, with its fruity plum and cherry flavors. Or, for a bit more complexity, try a young Italian Sangiovese with its unique clove and spiced cherry flavors. Carmenere from Chile is also an excellent choice, and offers a hint of sour cherries on top of mineral and earthy notes. These selections enhance the flavors in the turkey and the traditionally prepared side dishes spiced with nutmeg, cloves or cinnamon.
Full-Bodied Whites are subtly creamy and contain a smoothness from having aged in oak barrels.
The classic choice is Chardonnay, and one from warmer climates such as California or Spain tends to have fruitier flavors that accent a Thanksgiving feast nicely. Viognier, originating in Southern France, is a wine known for big aromas of peach, tangerine and honeysuckle. Stronger in flavor than Chardonnay, a mouthful of Viognier allows the sage, rosemary and thyme poultry spices to really pop.
And, finally, a tip for the host torn about the perfect cooking wine.
This one is easy! The perfect cooking wine is what takes the edge off a house full of people and a demanding bird in the oven. It’s your favorite wine, and it’s reserved just for you.
As always, the terrific staff at Island Winery is here to help you pick out your holiday refreshments. Don’t miss our limited-release Cranberry and Apple Cinnamon wines!
The perfect bottle of hand-crafted artisan wine awaits at Island Winery on Cardinal Rd. Wine by the glass, cheese platters and tastings are available Monday-Saturday from 12:30-5:30 p.m. and Sunday from 12-4 p.m. (843) 842-3141 or www.islandwinery.com.
By Georgene Mortimer, Island Winery