When it comes to what to pour for Thanksgiving, my advice is simple: forget about pairing the turkey and open the wine that can help you go through the food coma.
Let’s be honest, who will eat just turkey? It is impossible to pair the turkey by itself when the gravy, the stuffing and the twenty other dishes are going to be served. We all know it is a day to pray that calories don’t stay with us.
So, given that, forget about big, tannic, rich, heavy alcoholic wines. Instead, go with a light, crisp, low to medium alcohol wine that can fit most of the dishes and will make you feel better during and after dinner.
Think cool climate, minimal to no oak and bright flavors
The first thing comes to my mind is Cava. A Spanish sparkling wine made traditional method, inexpensive, festive and very food friendly. In that line, you know Prosecco and Franciacorta (both from Italy) will also work. This is why they are suitable for the food comma called brunch.
If you prefer white wine, I have a few. Greco di Tufo from Italy will be fantastic. Southern Italy may be hot, but Tufo, a town in Campania (hence Greco di Tufo), has a volcanic soil that helps give this wine its distinct character that makes it special for this day.
A dry Riesling from Germany or a Pinot Gris from Alsace, makes me salivate. One of these two can probably be next to me during dinner. Due to its outstanding acidity, Albariño from Rias Baixas (Spain) will be good too. And yes, the classic Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley or particularly from the Sancerre region will work. The elegant aroma and flavor profile will make it a better companion than the ones from New Zealand in my opinion.
Before you start thinking, when is this woman mentioning the reds? Let me say that almost any Rosé from a cool region will do great. Also an Italian Orange wine will probably fit here. Chances are that the delicious Slovenian and Georgian ones, will be too heavy to celebrate the turkey. But at the end, remember it is up to you and being thankful for blessings.
If you insist in having a red, yes Pinot Noir will work, particularly the ones from Oregon. Even better, open a Beaujolais (Gamay grape from France). It is light and low tannic. It pairs great with the turkey and all the salads, roasted squash, sweet potatoes and cranberries.
For dessert open a sweet wine or if you are missing tannins, skip the dessert and open an Amarone (Italy). It can be a great reward after a heavy dinner. Just make sure you pour the bottle at the end.
Bonus Tip: Turkey 101
Season the turkey 1 to 2 days in advance. Cook it at 325°F. While cooking it, add some of its juices all over the top so it keeps moist and seasoned in the oven. And the most important thing: please remove the turkey from the oven before it reaches 165°F. If you want to enjoy a moist and delicious poultry, take it out of the oven with 155°. Then, let it rest from 20-30 minutes. The internal temperature will continue to cook it during this process. This will allow the juices to settle into the meat, rather than pour out onto the cutting board. Your Thanksgiving dinner will have a before and after if you follow my recommendation.