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Wines that pair well with Thanksgiving turkey

Thinking of Thanksgiving of years past, my grandmother always made sure we had a bottle of Cold Duck to serve with our turkey dinner.  If you haven’t had Cold Duck, it is a fizzy and grapey sweet wine that is often a combination a red and white wine.  That probably wasn’t the best pairing for a Thanksgiving meal, but who would argue with Grandma?

Herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage and foods like turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, filling, gravy, green beans, and pumpkin pie make picking the appropriate wine a challenge. But, here are some great options for a traditional turkey dinner.

If you love reds...

For the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, I suggest a Pinot Noir, because it will pair well with rich dishes.  A great choice for your table this year would be the 2010 Bernardus Pinor Noir Santa Lucia Highlands. I chose this specifically because I have loved other Pinot Noirs from Santa Lucia appellation. Bernardus has a deep ruby red color and has a great mix of mineral and earth with plum and raspberry. This is available for $17.99 a bottle at your Fine Wine and Good Spirits, but it won’t last long because it was originally $30 per bottle. Wine Spectator gave this wine 89 points.

Another red option would be a Zinfandel from California. This wine would make a good choice because of its earthy and fruit notes, but check the alcohol content and make sure it isn’t too jammy.  Some are approaching 15 or 16 percent alcohol and a few glasses of this might make you more than the life of the party. Dry Creek from Sonoma, California would make a great choice.

If you love whites...

For a white wine, I would stay away from the popular Chardonnay and instead, I have two suggestions from Dr. Kontantin Frank Winery located in the Finger Lakes region of New York. They have been making wine for four generations.  The first is the 2014 Dr. Frank Dry Reisling at about $16 per bottle.  This wine has a minerality that enhances the green apple, lemon and floral notes with a crisp acidity.  Dr. Frank also has a 2014  Gewürztraminer for about this same price.  This wine will be much sweeter with notes of citrus, stone fruit, floral and a spicy finish that was a bit of a surprise.  By spice, I do not mean heat. I would suggest both for those that like something sweet and those that might like something a little dryer.

If you love bubbly...

You can also serve something bubbly. Treveri Cellars from the Yakima Valley in Washington State makes a Blanc de Blanc Brut. At first I smelled tropical fruit, then I noticed some green apple and citrus notes. The taste is tart, crisp and dry. This wine has earned 90 points from Wine Enthusiast and available for about $13.99. Blanc de Blanc Brut from Treveri would make a great option for your Thanksgiving dinner.

If you cannot find these specific wines, use this as a template to find a great wine that will pair well with the many amazing flavors.  You can also stick to your favorite, but take a sip before and after eating each specific food on your table to see how the food will change the taste experience of the wine.  Thanksgiving is about giving thanks.  Raise your glass and toast to good things.