Just like the commercials for Black Friday sales and jokes about the in-laws, the question always arrives this time of year from friends and readers: What wine should I serve for Thanksgiving?
The short answer: It depends.
Are you opting for a turkey that's well-rubbed with spices? In that case, think about a lighter- bodied zinfandel to accent some of those peppery notes.
If you like a big dollop of cranberry sauce to go with that Thanksgiving bird, a fruity glass of beaujolais should do the trick for your taste buds.
Finding a "one bottle fits all" kind of wine doesn't work so well for the Thanksgiving table. Think about the myriad flavors mixing around in your mouth when you combine that turkey, stuffing, savory gravy and other side dishes.
That said, with red wine it's hard to beat pinot noir at Thanksgiving. Its moderate weight won't pound your palate, and that balance of strawberry and earthy flavors works more flexibly with foods than other reds.
Better to leave your young Napa cabernet sauvignon and high- alcohol Lodi zinfandel for another time. They're just too brawny for this kind of feast.
For whites, have a bottle of riesling on standby, preferably one with a little residual sugar. If you don't mind going international on this good ol' American feast, a kabinett riesling from Germany will make your meal sing.
These low-alcohol yet flavorful wines work magnificently with food, from enhancing the tastiness of sweet potatoes to balancing any dishes with spiciness.
But when in doubt, go with bubbles. People love the festivity that goes with fizz and the popping of the cork that signals it's time to toast.
Pageantry aside, the effervescence and acidity in sparkling wines helps keep your palate fresh and mesh well with buttery foods.
In the end, just pour what feels right and enjoy your company and all the food that's been so thoughtfully prepared.
The best answer about what wine to serve for Thanksgiving? Serve the one that makes you and your guests happiest.
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