Even people who don’t usually do wine do wine at Thanksgiving.
Wine strategies for day you pull cork and gobble gobbler.
Safe bets: wines with acidity and lightness to complement, not compete with, turkey and other delights.
You do not just pair with turkey, you also pair with stuffing—sage, rosemary, thyme, mushrooms, fennel. Lightness and crisp acidity play well with these varied, subtle ingredients.
Complementarity with turkey and trimmings is why bold reds—California cabs—are unwise unless you also prepare hearty sauces like giblet gravy, maybe throw in beef as a second meat.
If you are looking for feast formula, here goes:
• Open with sparkling. Don’t go $5 cheap, but you don’t have to plunge over the $50 precipice either. Spain and Italy deliver.
• Pinot noir for red. California’s Russian River Valley is excellent; Washington State, Oregon, Argentina, and New Zealand also deliver. Don’t go $10 cheap. Plan on bottles costing $20-$40.
• Dry or semi-dry riesling for white; don’t consider super-sweet plonk unscrupulous makers once pawned off as riesling to rubes. Makers in Washington and New York’s Finger Lakes deliver consistent quality (and always there is Germany). Chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot grigio also work.
• Fun wild card: gewurtraminer, viognier, albarino, rosé to delight noses and add drama.
• Domaine La Manarine Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2013. Liltingly light, delicately delicious; fermentation-aging in cement vat preserves grenache-mourvèdre-syrah blend purity. $15
• Lucien Albrecht Alsace Riesling Réserve 2012. Fresh, clean, crisp, dry; lemon nose; red apple, stone fruit; top Alsace winery since 1425 (yes, almost 600 years). $17
• Scheid Family District 7 Pinot Noir 2011. Fabulous Monterrey value for price; cherry, strawberry, silky, elegant, food paramour. $19
• Edna Valley Central Coast Pinot Noir 2012. Silky, elegant, delicate; cherry, raspberry; nice acidity, tannin; delightful pour for price. $20
• Las Perdices Reserva Pinot Noir 2011. Delicately delicious Argentine effort; strawberry, cherry; some oak, vanilla; soft tannin; balanced. $25
• Matthias Müller Riesling Trocken 2012. Citrus zest, green apple, peach; clean, crisp, delicious acidity; medium body; a touch of rustic. $30
Last round: A delicious feast without a glass of wine is a ghastly, tragic squandering of good food.
Email Gus at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow tasting notes on Twitter @gusclemens.