It’s almost Thanksgiving, and every year around this time there’s a plethora of media attention focused on what wines to drink around Thanksgiving. Wine shops all over the country are proudly displaying their wine picks for Thanksgiving dinner, offering Thanksgiving mixed cases of wine, etc.
Truth is, there’s not much involved in pairing wine with Thanksgiving dishes. My advice is pretty simple: Drink whatever the hell you want.
Food and wine pairing is by no means rocket science. There are some general guidelines that will help make the food and wine pairing experience more enjoyable, but there are no real laws. I don’t know about your Thanksgiving plans, but mine always involve tons of people and tons of food. I come from a huge extended family, and when we get together there’s always stuffing done five different ways, at least two turkeys, and enough mashed potatoes to fill a ditch. There’s Amish cranberry sauce with spices, venison cutlets, bacon-wrapped (insert other delicious food item), yams, jams and hams. If you put all these items on one plate — which you do, because it’s Thanksgiving — your dinner plate becomes the food equivalent of a soda fountain “suicide.” The food is delicious, but it’s not exactly easy to pair with wine.
Look, there’s enough to worry about around the holidays. Wine pairing shouldn’t be one of them. Whatever wine you bring, there’s bound to be a food it pairs well with. There’s also bound to be a food that contrasts with the wine.
My only suggestion is that the wine be good, or even very good. What better time to drink great wine than around the holidays? That awkward political conversation with Uncle Joe is easier when you’re sipping an glass of good wine. There’s an argument to be made that most people won’t pay much attention to the wine, so why serve good stuff? Well, because life is short, goddamnit, and holidays should be something special. Around the holidays, many wine shops will host tastings, so try to get your palate around some wine before you buy it.
At the end of the day, drink whatever the hell you want. And when all the family members are gone, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences.
Drink and be merry. Cheers!