Our favorite dinner of the year is never complete without a glass (or two, or three) of great wine. But with all of the competing flavors traditionally found in Thanksgiving dinner, from cinnamon, to cranberry, to nutmeg, and even ginger, it’s nearly impossible to find a wine that will pair well with each dish. I spoke with Randy Clement, co-owner of Silverlake Wine, to get some insight on which wines are perfect for the season.
The general rule for pairing a wine with Thanksgiving dinner is to find a subtle, nuanced wine that won’t compete with bold flavors. Wines with a beginning, middle, and end pair well because at least one part will blend with some element of each dish.
Silverlake Wine has several options to choose from, ranging from affordable bottles under $15, to wines to impress the in-laws in the $40-60 range; however, all are unique, small production, boutique wines. Here’s the lineup:
Chateau Les Arromans, Entre-Deux-Mers White Bordeaux, 2010 – $13.75
This budget-friendly French wine is an 80% blend of Sauvignon Blanc, and 20% Semillon. Straight up Sauvignon Blancs tend to be too zingy and clean, but this blend is more silky and smooth, allowing it to meander through different courses, from simple salads to cranberry sauce.
Domaine de Monpertuis, Cuvée Counoise, 2009 – $14.75
The French grape “Counoise” is considered a minor grape, and it’s very rare to find a wine 100% Counoise. With earthy, funky notes, this wine is not too heavy, and makes it easier to bounce off of different courses throughout the meal.
Alvaro Palacios, Camins del Priorat, 2009 – $24
The primary grape in this blend is Garnacha (known as Granache in the US), which tends to be very rich and full-bodied. But these old Spanish vines produce more elegant, softer, subtler wines that will pair well with unfriendly foods like leeks and desserts with lots of cinnamon.
Coenobium Bianco 2009 – $24
The winemaker, Paolobea, is known for putting a lot of off-the-beaten-path vineyards on the map. This wine is made up of 45% Trebbiano, 35% Malvasia, and 20% Verdicchio; a super whacky and unique wine that needs food and pairs well with poultry, brussels sprouts, and creamier dishes.
Montevertine 2007 – $47
This Super Tuscan is 100% Sangiovese and is dry, delicate, refined, and subtle, pairing well with heavy foods like dark meat turkey and gravy. Also perfect for non-traditional Thanksgiving dishes like rib roast or lasagne.
Whitcraft Winery Pinot Noir, Melville Vineyards 2008 – $44
This small production winery is trying to emulate Burgundy style wines, darker-than-dark, non-Pinot Noir tasting Pinots, aiming for bright raspberry and cherry notes, rather than cola notes. While many California Pinot Noirs can be one dimensional, this has a really pretty, pristine, “bing!” characteristic. The beginning is soft, but the middle can work all across the palate and pair with many different dishes. The ultimate Thanksgiving pairing.
Domaine Ferrer Ribiere, Muscat de Rivesaltes, 2008 – $22
For a sweet finish, try this dessert wine that’s still soft on the palate. With notes of honeysuckle and ripe melon, it pairs well with pumpkin pie and other bold-flavored desserts. It’s also satisfying on its own if you’re just too stuffed for dessert (yeah right).
Pop in to Silverlake Wine to pick up a bottle or two for your Thanksgiving celebration. They’re open Thanksgiving Day from 9-4, too!