Thanksgiving Wine Pairings

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner is a wonderful and terrible thing at once. It is great to be surrounded by family and friends, but the pressure of delivering the ideal Thanksgiving feast can humble anyone. Pairing some great wines with all the wonderful food adds an additional layer of pressure, so we thought that we would suggest some of our “go to” pairings that never let us down.

Thanksgiving at our house is a marathon, not a sprint. It is important to stay hydrated, so water pitchers are kept cold and handy. The day starts with the Macy’s parade fresh from the DVR. This pairs well with mimosas, or straight sparkling for most of us. There is very little reason in our minds to dilute nice sparkling with orange juice. We usually select sparkling wines from Ruby Hill or Domaine Carneros if we are feeling a bit expansive.

After the parade and champagne kickoff, we move to appetizers.  That means a variety of cheeses, meats and pickled things of every description. The range of offerings is truly amazing, with something in every flavor profile. With the diversity of flavors presented, we many times serve a crisp, dry rosé, like those from Darcie Kent or the now-shuttered Lone Dove.

When it is time to present the turkey, many people like a medium-dry chardonnay from, say, Peju. We go in a different direction! Judi’s table has so much flavor and jest that we can serve wine with a lot more punch. Think a Petite Sirah from Eagle Ridge or a Carignane from Eckert Estate. Both have enough personality to match the bacon-enhanced stuffing and the long-simmered cranberry sauce.

The amazing pecan pie or chocolate mousse desserts are typically paired with a classic port. To be honest, dessert can take quite a while, as most guests sample a bit of each dessert. Even after an entire afternoon of eating, Judi’s desserts have no equal. Although we love a lot of ports, Thanksgiving calls for Livermore’s original port master, Cedar Mountain. Sometimes nothing else will do!

So that covers Thanksgiving at our house, from parade through dessert. What will you pair with your feast?


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