It’s that time of year again: the day when we get to see old friends, family, and stuff ourselves until we cannot move. That’s right, Thanksgiving - the sweet and delectable Turkey Day. I personally love this day, getting to share two completely different feasts with my and my wife’s families. It has always been one of my favorite meals to prepare and to share as we sit around and talk about all we have to be thankful for that year. This uniquely American holiday’s history has given us a fairly good idea of what to eat (or not…I’m looking at you, Neil), but the question becomes: what should we drink?
Let’s start by saying, there is no “right” or “wrong” paring when it comes to sharing a wine or beer with your family and friends. There is, however, a nice selection of wines that might just make the perfect pairing to send your taste buds to the moon. So, where do we start?
I have always heard the fun “rule” for pairing wine and food is “if it grows together, it goes together.” The idea being that wines and food from the same regional cuisine have evolved together and usually play nice when served at the dinner table. This idea is great in concept and relatively easy to apply to most dishes, but all of the flavors of Thanksgiving make it a bit more of a complicated process. That being said, I’m here to share a few of my favorite wines and beers that pair delightfully with Thanksgiving and that we currently have in stock at The Thief.
If it’s a red wine that you’re after, you can rely on a relatively new wine to myself but an old standby to the Gamay Gal, Emily Riley! Beaujolais wines produced from the gamay grape in the far southern reaches of Burgundy are a near perfect match for all of your Turkey Day fixings. Lighter in body and softer on the palate than something like a Cabernet or Merlot, Beaujolais is a plush wine, with notes of cherries, and red berries that carry acidity. This makes it a wine that can cut through the fatty, light flavors of Thanksgiving. If you want to try my personal favorite, ask for Marcel Lapierre’s Raisins Gaulois Vin de France 2017 - $21.
For whites, a fuller-bodied wine will stand up nicely to the rich dishes on your dining room table. That, to me, means a nice Chardonnay or Viognier-based wine with some acidity to cut through the multitude of flavors. One of my personal favorites for holiday meals is Les Heritiers des Comte Lafon Macon-Villages 2017 - $32. This particular wine is from a biodynamic estate and has a Chablis-esque nerve with bread crust, lemon and apple flavors that can cut through the fattiest gravies.
Finally, if you are not a wine fan and looking for a beer that pairs with the foods of the season, look no further than a recent festival held in Germany - Oktoberfest! The traditional Oktoberfest lager from Germany is often a bit maltier and has a heavier body than a more traditional light pilsner or lager. But this hint of more roasty and malty flavors augments nearly every dish that might make it to the Thanksgiving Day dinner table. My personal favorite is the Ayinger Oktoberfest - $5. It is probably partly the nostalgia of visiting the brewery during a freak hailstorm last summer that makes me love this brewery, but this is a critics’ choice beer and one that will bring a smile to even the most discerning palate.
In the end, Thanksgiving is about celebrating our blessings, so whatever beverage ends up on your table, raise your glass and toast to the things that make you most thankful!
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