Thanksgiving is all about eating and drinking. Sure, it’s also about family and friends, the harvest, and giving thanks, but really, it’s all about the food and drink.
Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, you know the drill. Each year, people asking the same question: what wine should we have?
This year, like in many years past, I’m opting for bubbles. As far back as I can remember, my family served our guests Mumm Cordon Rouge, the classic champagne with a red sash across the label. Champagne (from France) or sparkling wine (as it’s called when it’s not from Champagne, France) pairs great with just about everything. You can start a meal with champagne and end the meal with champagne. A couple to look for: any Blanc de Noirs, a sparking wine made with the Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, the combination of which gives the wine body and structure. Try the Mumm Napa Blanc De Noirs from California as a starter. You should be able to pick up a bottle for less than $30.
Next, I’m looking for a light bodied red to go with all the heavy menu items that will, no doubt, make us all loosen our belt buckles. Big, bold, high tannin red wines are hard on all the different kinds of foods, so I find that an unusual grape called Blaufrankish works very well. Blaufränkisch wines have aromas of dark ripe cherries and dark berries, are spicy, have medium tannin levels and sometimes very good acidity. The younger wines are very fruity and become more velvety with age. The 2008 Moric Blaufrankish, from Austria, is a great find right around $25.
Finally, like any good sommelier, my last beverage pick for Turkey Day is a good, hand crafted beer. Again, like bubbles, good beer can pair with just about anything on the menu. My pick for you is the Ommegang Belgian style ale. This is a brewery in Cooperstown, NY, that specializes in Belgian-style ales. With a bit of candied sweetness and nuttiness, this ale makes the meal much more enjoyable. You’ll detect spicy clove notes and bright acidity. The 750ml bottle is available for around $22 a bottle.
Jason Hisaw is a certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers as an Advanced Sommelier. He is a member of the wine team and Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas.