• Alexander Smith

The Best American Wines for an unforgettable Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving food and wine pairings

5 days left, try not to panic, but who is still searching for those perfect Thanksgiving wines?

I have had a flurry of emails in recent days from readers panicking, with questions about wine for Thanksgiving. Whether you are celebrating this Thanksgiving at home or seeing family abroad, I will bring you three perfect wines that will match all of those difficult family palates :)

Thanksgiving is a stress for most, whether hosting or visiting, the wine is usually the last thought on most minds, and if you are still searching for that perfect bottle then read on. The question most ask is which wine matches the Thanksgiving meal best? Red, White, Rosé, Sparkling, fortified? It is tough and I will be honest, it is one of the hardest questions which us Sommeliers get asked every year. Thanksgiving dinner has so many courses, textures and flavours it is impossible to get a wine just right, that covers every dish. On top of that you will end up with those family members who 'Only drink Merlot' or "Cannot drink Cabernet because it gives me a headache" or my favourite "I only drink wine with a pretty label", yup I have heard everything.

My approach when celebrating Thanksgiving is easy. Instead of trying to perfectly match every dish on the table, try to bring a variety of wines which will compliment most dishes and of course the Turkey. Turkey is a versatile white meat and goes well with a huge variety of both red and white wines. This along with the variety of side dishes makes matching easier than you think!

Light body reds such as Pinot Noir from either Russian River (Lush fruit), Sonoma(Structure) or Oregon (More rustic) tend to always match well with the cranberry sauce and roasted vegetable, finally it is difficult for these wines to overpower the Turkey (Just not too much oak!). For those who enjoy creamy mashed potato, creamy corn, creamy turkey sauce, you cannot go wrong with a classic Sonoma Chardonnay. Choose a Chardonnay which is fresh without too much oak, this will help to lift the dish without it becoming too heavy. Finally for the crowd pleaser, you cannot go wrong with a good solid Napa Cabernet. Rustic and refined styles can truly compliment the savoury textures of dish. I would pick a Cabernet a little more reserved than a jammy, ripe and bold version.

So which wines are on my shopping list for Thanksgiving 2019? See below my Top 3 Thanksgiving wines. Click the links to find where to buy them! Those in Quebec can see where to find these wines as well.

Ramey Hyde Chardonnay 2016 ($65 USD)

Thanksgiving wine and food pairings
Ramey Hyde 2009 - Californian Chardonnays can age!

This was recently given given the No.7 on the Top 100 wines of 2019 from Wine Spectator. David crafts some of the best Chardonnays coming out of California, his wines are not heavy, and are perfectly balanced with an ample amount of lift to help compliment your Thanksgiving dinner. This is what I wrote when I tried the Hyde 2016 back in June:

One of my favourites in the lineup. Aromas full of pineapples, peaches, nectarine and baked fruit tart along with vanilla and nutmeg, the palate had striking acidity, a round palate and felt more serious than the other single vineyards with buckets of ripe fruits, lemon peel and some wild herbs which added a certain savoury texture to this gorgeous Chardonnay. Sourced from the Hyde vineyard and aged in 22% new French oak barrels for 20 months - 95 points. The full report of my Californian tasting can be found here.

Quebec readers can find the Ramey Hyde 2014 here.

Patricia Green Cellars Reserve Pinot Noir 2018 ($29 USD)

Thanksgiving food and wine pairing
Patricia Green Cellars Coury Clone - A classic but difficult to find

Patrica Green Cellars makes some of the best Pinot Noir in Oregon, they have both estate grown and purchase 'Mysterious' fruit to craft some very highly sort after wine. However to ensure that the recommendation is available countrywide I am recommending their estate Pinot Noir, which at $29 is an absolute steal. This Pinot should be on everyone shopping list.

Quebec readers will find this in Quebec soon. My full report on Oregon can be found here.

Groth 2015 Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon ($65 USD)

Thanksgiving food and wine pairing
Groth Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

This under the radar family owned Oakville winery has been producing fantastic Cabernets for years, however only recently have they been thrown in the spotlight with their 2016 Reserve which came in at an impressive #4 on the Wine Spectator Top 2019 wines. The 2016 Reserve is yet to be released, however for those who want to further explore this estate, their Oakville offers fantastic value and shows the full potential of what Groth is capable of. My review: It has a soft yet elegant palate with lush dark black fruit, good minerality, structure and a seamless finish. What I appreciate is that this is not a jammy and fruit bomb Napa Cabernet but more elegant and reserved style of Cabernet. (93 points).

Quebec readers will hopefully find this in Quebec soon!

I hope you guys have a great Thanksgiving and let me know what you end up opening!

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