Second week of suggestions on pairing food with your Thanksgiving wine tomorrow.
• Turkey. OK, you are traditional family, and—by golly—we eat a huge bird at Thanksgiving. Then we make sandwiches out of the leftovers for the next several days before moving past the tryptophan coma and dried-out carcass. Pinot noir. This is such an elemental pairing, I envision veteran readers of this column rolling their eyes. Got it. Pinot noir pairs with turkey and a throng of other entrees—from lighter meats, salmon and other seafood, to vegan dishes. When in doubt, pinot noir.
• Ham. So, you flew past the bird and decided to pig out on a spiral-cut, honey-glazed ham. The sweet-salty richness of ham gives you a wide range of choices: off-dry riesling, rosés, grenache, zinfandel.
• Steak. Welcome to the cabernet sauvignon kingdom. The assertive tannins and rich flavors of most cabs—especially California and Napa-Sonoma cabs—are perfect with slabs of well-marbled red meat. The tannins cut through the fat elements, while the wine flavors do a round dance with the meat flavors. If you fancy yourself an apex predator slavering over roasting red meat at Thanksgiving, cab is your clan.
• Italian tomato-based dishes. Who said we all have to be Pilgrim wannabes devouring large birds on Thanksgiving? America’s strength and joy is its rainbow diversity. If your repast includes pastas and red sauces, sangiovese—lead grape in chianti—is the no-brainer pairing. Younger, fruitier styles are the ones that play best with sweet tomato sauces, and sangiovese’s clove and pepper notes add nuance to the dish. Bonus: younger sangiovese/chianti are very affordable.
• Château Miraval Côtes de Provence Rosé 2017: Delicately done, Provence style, quality maker for the winery of former couple of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. $22-25 Link to my review of this wine
• Ruffino Tenuta Santedame Chianti Classico DOCG 2015: Presents rich red fruits and classic Chianti attributes. $23 Link to my review of this wine
• J Vineyards & Winery Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley 2015: Fruit-forward, smooth, balanced, complex, with subtle elements that manifest after decanting. $32-44 Link to my review of this wine
• Stags’ Leap Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015: Smooth, rich, silky parade of dark fruits. $44-50 Link to my review of this wine
• Etude Heirloom Pinot Noir, Grace Benoist Ranch, Carneros 2015: Classic, delicious, exceptional Carneros PN. $95-110 Link to my review of this wine
Last round: I only drink wine on two occasions: Thanksgiving day, and when it is not Thanksgiving day.