Wondering what wines to pair with your Thanksgiving dinner? Of course you are. In addition to pairing wine with the turkey, you must consider the side dishes to be offered, the spices in those dishes, and how to use the wine to bring out the flavors of your cuisine.
Wines from Spain — including red, white, sparkling, and fortified wines — offer tremendous value and pair well with the classic dishes associated with this holiday. In many ways, they are symbolic of America since Spain’s Christopher Columbus was the explorer who, in the course of proving the world was round, landed on American soil. You can be assured he had many bottles of Sherry and perhaps even Rioja aboard his three ships, the Nina, Pinta, and the Santa Maria.
Fashionable and chic, wines from Spain will turn your Thanksgiving dinner party into a glamorous event. Best of all, they are affordable, with many wines under $10 and some of the very best award-winners under $20.
Begin your wine and Thanksgiving food pairing plan by reviewing the spices and weight of your sauces and side dishes. Are you planning roasted Butternut squash with cranberries? A luscious soup such as curried squash and apple? Creamy mushroom and French lentil? These dishes are rich, spicy, and substantial, which means your wines should be medium-bodied at the very least.
Many of your guests will prefer a white wine. As you make your white wine selections, keep in mind that Thanksgiving Day flavors and textures suggest a richer, more substantial white, such as a mineral-based Albarino.
As for red wine, remember the Pairing 101 rule that suggests matching the wine to the sauce (specifically its weight and texture) rather than the protein (chicken, fish, meat). Your guests won’t be eating ‘plain’ boiled turkey. If so, sure, a simple light white wine would do. Instead, they will be enjoying slow-roasted turkey, basted in butter, perfumed with fragrant herbs, along with spicy cranberries, rich stuffing, and all the rest. In short, even though the meat (if they select the white instead of the dark) is white, the combination of sauces and side dishes make it easy to pair with a red wine.