As we come to another Thanksgiving holiday with slightly fewer restrictions than it's previous a year ago, citizens are a hum with thoughts of Thanksgiving dinner with extended family and friends. It's been such a long time since we've had the pleasure of breaking bread and raising a glass with loved ones that this Thanksgiving is bound to be a memorable event, and what is a memorable event without wine?
Thanksgiving Wine Choices
When I think holiday wines for dinner, I think versatility. Trust me; this covers you if you've got a potluck dinner in mind, finicky palates to deal with, and the occasional wine drinker who likes to put ice cubes and fruits in their wines. With versatility in mind, you will have something for everyone.
Margaret River Chardonnay
With so many opinions about Chardonnay, there is no ignoring the fact that the classic expression (Chablis) with its crisp acidity, green apple, and lemon/lime notes makes it a perfect food pairing wine. On the flip side, its richer expression in warmer climates like Napa Valley evokes more buttery and smokey notes that many enjoy over conversation. The two styles are quite different, but let me introduce you to Margaret River Chardonnay. Here, the grape gives you the perfect marriage between Chablis from Burgundy and Chardonnay from Napa. Margaret River Chardonnay's are harvested with an intent to keep the grape's acidity while giving a lifted fruit profile of apple, pear, apricot, and bright citrus.
You will find that this wine pairs well with both conversation and food. Notably, this wine does quite well with white meats, such as turkey!
Light Red Wines
As for versatile red wines, I like to go with lighter red wines to ensure the wine picked will go with an array of dishes and align with as many palates as possible sitting around the dinner table.
Cool Climate Pinot Noir
Cool Climate Pinot Noir is a chameleon as it can vibe well with many cuisines. Here, you find bright red fruit, crisp acidity, and moderate tannin and alcohol on the palate.
When we talk about cool climate, we're encouraging you to look at Pinot Noir from :
Germany (called Spätburgunder here)
New Zealand (Central Otago region is a must)
Gamay is a red wine, famed and primarily produced in Beaujolais, France. It is a light-bodied red wine with low tannin, high acidity, and medium alcohol. Many align Gamay with candied fruit and banana notes, which come from the winemaking process used in the region, called Carbonic Maceration. Today, however, you are finding more and more Cru level producers using semi-Carbonic Maceration. It is also possible to detect the differences by Cru, making it easy to discern that more robust and brooding Gamay can be found in Chenas and a more fruit structured in Fleurie, for example. Knowing the versatility of styles within Beaujolais itself guarantees a Gamay style for everyone.
While Gamay may be famed due to its origin region, Beaujolais, France, it is essential to mention that other parts of the world produce great Gamay, namely Ontario, Canada.
Ontario Gamay holds notes of red fruit that we know Gamay to bring to the senses, but you'll often find more violet, peppery herbs, and mineral here.
Gamay is an astoundingly food-friendly wine that shines when paired with pork and lamb.
I honestly feel that Cabernet Franc is one of the most underrated yet wildly important grapes there is. As one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon and a mainstay in Bordeaux blends, it deserves its due. Umm... fun fact that should be included here, it is also the parent of Merlot and Carmenere. It's a busy grape! However, the style of Cabernet Franc I want to talk about today is not the blended kind. I want to talk about wines made from 100% Cabernet Franc; these beauties!
Cabernet Franc is an aromatic, red berry, tomato, and herb kind of wine. One of its tell-tale signs is notes of bell pepper or jalapeno, depending on where the grapes are grown. You will also find lively acidity and moderate tannins in this wine giving it the style profile fit for any meal.