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Thanksgiving: No More Whine About the Wine

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I’ve learned more about wine in the last week than in the past 20 years. And, I finally have the confidence to put both red and white wines on the Thanksgiving table. The source of this approachable knowledge is The Wine Year, by Rosalind Cooper. It is a delicious book, sure to be passed around the table, and enjoyed long after the last drop of Prosecco is gone.

The Wine Year celebrates the seasons throughout the year, from the sparkle of champagne to wines that stand up to barbecue, and the best wines for your Thanksgiving feast. Wine is a topic of great passion among foodies, for its beauty and for the mystery of its ability to enhance food when paired right. But hosts have long puzzled over whether to serve red or white wines with turkey.

Deviate from your traditional turkey recipe by following The Wine Year’s suggestion: Since many favorite Thanksgiving dishes are rather sweet, to accompany the mild taste of turkey, until someone develops a stuffing-gravy-cranberry wine, your dinner could go like this:

  1. Start the evening with a crisp and light wine, either champagne or a good Chablis or Beaujolais.
  2. Continue with a Chablis or Beaujolais for the salad, which is perhaps made with radicchio, orange peppers, and tiny cherry tomatoes, or get more festive by adding quails’ eggs or a bit of pate, ham, olives, and fresh chives.
  3. Now for the turkey: in the American tradition of the holiday, choose a California Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon, a New York State Cabernet Franc, or a Petit Verdot from Virginia.
  4. Few would have the courage to seek a wine fit for the strong flavors of pumpkin pie, but the book suggests a Muscat, such as Muscat de Beaumes de Venise from France, or an Orange Muscat from Australia. Yet there’s nothing wrong with ending where you start, with champagne or Asti Spumante.

May your Thanksgiving holiday be bountiful, and celebrated with fine wines.

For food and travel lovers, The Wine Year also lists fairs and festivals worldwide, year-round, giving travelers a reason to visit wine regions, explore new food and old cultures, and return home with an enhanced knowledge of this most enjoyable life companion.

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About Helen Gallagher

  • Peg Miller

    Oooh, the Orange Muscat with pumpkin pie. I’m going to try that!
    Great suggestions all around.