So many different foods and so many people — but not too worry — you can survive the gauntlet of Thanksgiving while perfecting all pairings and pleasing all palates … with just six wines.
The meal starts long before the meal actually starts, so you want something to sip on that’s lighter, refreshing, and somehow tastes good with all the little bits you’re nibbling on during prep time. Enter Brut Prosecco; the driest designation of the otherwise semi-sweet Italian bubbly. In addition to making a great aperitif, this is also used in a number of brunch cocktails — if your holiday starts early enough.
When dinnertime officially arrives, you’re going to want as much of the wine spectrum represented as possible. To keep things light (but not too light), and fruity (but not too fruity), a German Pinot Blanc is a great, dry alternative to Riesling (the textbook “turkey white”) that also pleases fans of crisp wines who would otherwise struggle to find something to pair with the bold flavors at the table.
One of those bold flavors — the one that seems to connect the various menu items together — is sweetness. Another common alternative to Riesling most of us are familiar with is Gewurztraminer; and when blended with Chardonnay the result is a semi-dry, semi-creamy wine that really stands up to and binds the sweet and salty elements being passed your way.
When it comes to reds, there are two turkey-day standards that perfectly maintain style diversity while complementing each other and, of course, the food. Beaujolais, with natural light body and hints of dried cranberry, has long been celebrated as the red that welcomes autumn harvests and cuisine. The bigger and badder red option that you’ll have the most requests for is California Zinfandel. The peppery and fruity flavors of this wine have made it a modern classic for pairing with brined dark meat and just about anything with garlic.
Finally, dinner will end yet somehow you and your guests will convince yourselves that there’s room for dessert. In these colder months — no matter what’s being served — nothing beats the time-honored Ruby Port. Rich textures, deep red color (as the name implies), and rounded out sweetness keep this wine at the top of the list of best wines to end the night.