Thanksgiving Wines - Whites

Tim Halloran's piece on Thanksgiving Reds can be viewed here.

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Thanksgiving dinner, while delicious and nutritious (well, at least delicious) is not the easiest meal to pair with wines. So many different elements are present; there are savory/mild foods like turkey, gravy, yams and potatoes, crisp/acidic foods like cranberry sauce and salads, and hearty foods like ham and stuffing. Throw in a few other vegetables and you have a veritable cornucopia of flavors and textures to match.

Because of this, a number of wines don’t work as well as they would with a more straightforward meat-centric or fish-centric meal. A full-bodied Cab or a crisp Sauvignon Blanc will fare well with some of the foods but clash with others. A safer bet is to play the wines in the middle, such as fuller bodied whites or medium/light bodied reds. I will focus in this article on the white end of the spectrum.

Fortunately, the same fuller bodied whites that work well for a holiday dinner tend to represent better value wines for the dollar. And you know that when you are tasked to buy three or four bottles of wine, it’s nice to be able to attribute your frugal nature to recommendations from a wine site, so let’s get going.

Rhone varietals tend to have low price points and pair extremely well with most of the flavor elements of Thanksgiving dinner. MRV blends (Marsanne/Roussanne/Viognier) complement poultry and hearty side dishes while also accentuating the floral and acidic elements of cranberry sauces and salads. Domestic options include Cline, Bonny Doon and Miner, or for a great higher end option, try Tablas Creek. All have a number of white Rhone blends, most in the $8-$20 range. If you can’t find an MRV blend, Viognier (floral) or Rousanne (peaches and stone fruit flavors) will work well on their own.

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.