FYI: People who don’t do wine do wine at Thanksgiving do wine at Thanksgiving.
BTW: Thanksgiving is tomorrow.
If you have some responsibility for Thursday’s orgy of food and family, here’s help with the wine part. No remonstrations here about “how in God’s name did you totally screw up and put this off to the last minute!”.
Take a deep breath. If necessary, breath into a brown paper bag and think good thoughts. Then, go do what you should have done days/weeks ago, you “scofflaw loser” (in the unfortunate words of your tired, irked significant other).
Last second selection strategy: Sparkling wines and Champagne bring elegance and phenomenal versatility. Sparkling shines from appetizer/aperitif start to pumpkin/pecan pie finish. Divide number of wine drinkers by two, buy that many bubbly bottles, add few more for good measure. Good to go. Thank me later.
Go-to white: Sauvignon blanc. Citrus-based flavors, herb, mineral undertones pair with turkey and mashed potatoes. Look for New Zealand efforts. Kim Crawford is no-fail option.
Go-to red: Pinot noir, quintessential Thanksgiving wine. Pinot pairs with turkey and other white meats. Washington and Oregon compete with California for domestic buys; it’s called Burgundy when it’s from France. Alert: pinot noir does not suffer cheap well. If you can’t spend $20-plus, go to Plan Z or S or GSM (see below).
Zinfandel: Significantly more intense than pinot noir—snag zin if you favor heartier, higher alcohol wines, especially if red meat is on your table. Pour its poor cousin white zin for those who don’t like wine.
Syrah/Shiraz: Spicy edge and meaty character accommodates range of flavors. Syrah’s peppery notes flirt well with herb-infused stuffing and dark turkey meat.
GSM (grenache, syrah, mourvedre blend): Go upscale with a Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Gigondas (French, north of $60 a bottle). Go bargain with Stump Jump (Australia, around $11). GSMs flaunt ripe red fruit and pepper. GSMs are heavier than pinot noir, not as bold as zin or shiraz.
OK procrastinating pilgrim, go forth armed with knowledge. Happy Thanksgiving.
Last round: Thanksgiving wine problem. Symptom: Feet covered in wine. Fault: Glass held at incorrect angle. Solution: Rotate glass so open end points upward. Proceed.
Email Gus at email@example.com. Follow tasting notes on Twitter @gusclemens. Facebook: Gus Clemens on Wine.