Can you even believe that Thanksgiving weekend is already here? Bust out the stretchy pants and loose-fit tops because epic dinners are on the horizon this weekend.
Since wine and turkey go together like–well, wine and turkey–I thought I’d recommend a few go-to wine options to make it easier for you to impress your family and friends.
Here are a few wine varietals to pick up this weekend:
1. Sauvignon Blanc – The primary fruit flavours of Sauvignon Blanc are lime, green apple, passion fruit and white peach. You may even hear the term “green grass”, especially in wines coming fom New Zealand. What makes Sauvignon Blanc unique from other white wines is the herbaceous flavours like bell pepper or gooseberry. “Sauv Blanc” is an ideal white wine to pair with turkey and the buttery, rich delicious dishes you’d typically be served at a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. If you like a crisp, clean white with a hint of zest on the finish, then this is a perfect wine for you.
2. Viognier – “Vee-On-yay”, is a beautiful lesser known varietal that happens to be one of my favourites all year long. This varietal has notes of apricots, blossom, honeysuckle, ripe peaches and honey. Viogniers have a delightful floral aroma to them, as well as a crisp acidity on the finish, which lends itself to being the ideal turkey or ham wine pairing. Viognier is a wine to serve to your guests as an aperitif, to enjoy on its own or along with a light/mild cheese platter.
3. Chardonnay – The over-oaked, over soaked and over-the-top Chardonnays from the 90s are LONG gone, and it is my mission to prove to people that Chardonnay & the holidays are the best pairing out there. An oaked Chardonnay will have flavours of tropical fruits like pineapple, guava and mango, even so far as notes of butter, vanilla, and butterscotch. Meanwhile, and UN-oaked Chardonnay will have green apple and lemon flavours with a rich, yet crisp finish. It’s all about your personal preference.
Shopping tip: the richer, oaky wines typically come from California or Australia, whereas a French Chablis (code name for Chardonnay) or even BC Chardonnays from Kelowna or further north will be much lighter in style.
4. Pinot Noir – Pinot Noir is the most highly prized wine in the world. But why? It’s not as rich or big as its noble cousins, in fact it’s quite the opposite. The grape itself is weak, as it’s one of the most fragile wine grapes to produce. But when it comes to turkey or ham dishes, it should be your go-to red wine. You’ll taste notes of cranberry, cherry, raspberry and cola with hints of vanilla licorice and even caramel. This varietal is lighter in body which lends itself to being a great dinner wine, as your meal will likely be so rich, a lighter-bodied red is the best.
Tip: upon arrival, suggest to your host to chill the wine for 10-15 minutes before serving. Unlike most reds, Pinot Noir thrives when chilled down to a few degrees lower than room temperature to ensure the best experience.
5. Merlot – If you’ve seen the cult classic “Sideways”, you’ll find it odd that I mention Merlot AFTER Pinot Noir. It is a bolder wine for food pairings but the tannins tend to be gentle enough to partner with turkey or ham and are a surprising pairing with rich dishes like a roast, beef or lamb. Merlot has notes of darker berries, plum, spicebox, green leaf and blackberry and a BC Merlot is my favourite, as well as a French Bordeaux. Merlot wine is first class and commands the highest respect in the wine world–and it really does taste great with food.
The world of wine is fun, exciting, diverse and best of all, subjective. Don’t be like me and watch a movie that told me to avoid a certain wine grape for ten years, only to realize it was one of my favourite varietals. You really can’t go wrong, and people love to try to new wines.
Wishing you all the happiest of Thanksgivings with your family and friends.