Thanksgiving Wines - Reds

As I mentioned in part one, where we looked at some whites to pair with your Thanksgiving dinner, this holiday dinner presents somewhat of a conundrum when it comes to wine pairing.

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While I don’t subscribe fully to the conventional white=fish, red=meat pairing wisdom, there are typically complimentary elements between certain foods and wines that make their marriage a happy one. But Thanksgiving is one serious wine pairing hill to climb with its combination of textures, flavors and for lack of a better word, heartiness.

Full-bodied high alcohol reds are the first casualty at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Hearty reds don’t fare particularly well with poultry white meat or acidic foods like cranberry sauce and most salad dressings. Because of this, I would keep away from any higher alcohol (14.5%-16+ %) reds, typically Napa Cabs, Merlots and California Zins.

An exception to this conventional wisdom that allows for some latitude on this would be suppler, smooth Bordeaux style blends (sometimes called a Meritage) or Syrah based wines. These medium to full-bodied reds usually show more fruit and hide their acidity beneath a silky blanket so that they don’t come off as disjointed when pairing with your sweeter or more acidic side dishes.

For more than 25 years, The California Wine Club founders Bruce and Pam Boring have explored all corners of California’s wine country to find award-winning, handcrafted wine to share with the world. Each month, the club features a different small family winery and hand selects two of their best wines for members.