It can be tricky choosing which wine to serve with so many dishes…but it doesn’t have to be. Keep reading to discover how to select the perfect Thanksgiving wine.
Thanksgiving might be different this year, but there are some things that will always be the same–delicious food and mouthwatering wine. If you’re like us, you might even choose to make this year more spectacular with a perfect wine pairing. Prepare for a challenge though, because pairing so many dishes with just one or two wines is no easy feat.
That’s because there may be dishes with a wealth of different flavors and intensities. There’s sweet, mouth-puckering cranberry sauce, succulent turkey, buttery mashed potatoes, maybe a cruciferous vegetable dish like brussels sprouts or asparagus, and, of course, there’s always room for dessert. Honestly, even professional Sommeliers might scoff at the task.
Luckily, with a few tips from yours truly, you’ll have just the right bottle (or two) on hand to please even the pickiest palates. Read on and discover how to select the perfect Thanksgiving wine.
Select a Wine That Pairs With the Meal
This is probably the most labor-intensive option and may require more than one type of wine. That’s because it’s incredibly rare for a wine to perfectly pair with such a wide variety of dishes. We’re not saying it’s impossible, just difficult. There are a few things you can do to make this easier though.
If you serve Thanksgiving in courses, then simply pair your wine with different course categories: appetizers, entrees, desserts, etc. Not everyone has such a formal dining experience though. If, for example, your meal is served all at once, you’ll want to focus on the dominant flavors of the entire meal. Because of the wide variety of dishes, however, the second option often proves quite tricky.
No matter what you do though, here are a few pairing tips that will help you navigate this wine pairing obstacle course:
- Generally, your wine should be slightly sweeter and more acidic than your meal.
- Try to select a wine that has the same flavor intensity as your meal.
- If your wine is bitter, balance it out with fat (cheese, nuts, fatty meats, etc.)
- If your meal has a flavorful sauce, match the wine to the sauce instead of the meat.
- White, sparkling, and rosé wines often create contrasting pairings, meaning they create balance by contrasting tastes and flavors. As an example, think about lime and coconut. The two flavors aren’t similar, but they’re delicious when combined.
- Conversely, red wines generally create congruent pairings. This means they create balance by emphasizing shared flavors. A good example of this would be a savory steak and mushroom combination.
This is a very basic list of wine pairing tips. However, if you’re interested in developing your wine pairing skills even further, be sure to check out our Wine Pairing 101 guide.
Select a Medium-Bodied Wine To Avoid Unpleasant Pairings
If you’re still trying to select just one or two bottles for the entire meal, then you might want to focus on the body of your wine. The body describes how its weight and fullness feel in your mouth. Generally, full-bodied wines have higher alcohol content with complex flavors and a rich mouthfeel. Conversely, light-bodied wines have less alcohol and are considered delicate and crisp.
The reason we’d recommend avoiding the extremes of this spectrum is because it’s harder to pair them with a wide variety of dishes. A light-bodied wine may not stand up to more complex flavors, and a full-bodied wine may overwhelm more delicate dishes. That’s why staying right in the middle with a medium-bodied wine is usually a safe bet.
Consider Offering Low-Alcohol Wine
While this may sound like a strange offering for a celebratory feast, there are a lot of benefits to drinking low-alcohol wine at Thanksgiving. First, many of us tend to indulge a bit. Whether it’s sampling a wide variety of dishes or having second servings of your favorites, many of us tend to eat more than our fair share.
However, we’re not here to judge–we’re here to throw you a lifeline. If you want to see the finish line on this endurance test, a lighter wine with less alcohol won’t weigh you down. Plus, just because you’re indulging in extra food, doesn’t mean you want to indulge in extra alcohol. Having a low-alcohol wine on hand means you can afford to have that second (possibly even third) glass of wine without drinking more alcohol than you’re comfortable with.
That’s actually one of the reasons we’re such a fan of our Alibea Toscano Rosse! With only 11.1% ABV and .22 grams of sugar per glass, this light and fruity red wine will satisfy your thirst for delicious wine without the risk of overconsumption.
Serve a Red, White, and Rosé Thanksgiving Wine
This is a phenomenal option if you just want to look like you put a lot of effort into your wine pairing. Truth be told, even if you did go through all the trouble of analyzing your dishes for the perfect pairing, you might still end up choosing a red, white, and rosé. That’s not always the case, but having these three options helps cover your butt in another way too.
Even on Thanksgiving, there’s always that guest who “only drinks white wine.” This way, regardless of wine preferences, there’s a wine option for everyone.
Serve a Sweet and a Dry Wine
Since we’re talking about having wine on hand for picky palates, it’s also a good idea to have both a sweet and dry wine. While we think wine is delicious across the entirety of its color and sweetness spectrum, there’s always someone who prefers dry wine over sweet wine (and vice versa). Either way, it’s better to have both on hand just in case.
Select a Family Favorite Wine
If the idea of selecting a wine that magically pairs well with a wide variety of dishes sounds overwhelming…you’re not alone. Maybe if you had just a small handful of dishes you would consider attempting a pairing, but the feast-like nature of Thanksgiving can be off-putting for wine pairing novices. If that’s the case, consider selecting a family favorite and let the rest work itself out on its own.
This is probably the easiest option to choose. However, there’s no reason to feel guilty about taking the easy road on this one! With all the other stress that comes with the holidays, sometimes it’s nice to just stick with your tried-and-true favorites. They’re comforting, they’ve never let you down before, and who really cares if the pairing isn’t perfect. The whole point is to share a meal (and a bottle) with the people you love.
We’re Grateful For YOU! Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone ❤️
For us, one of the best parts about creating low-carb wine with no added sugars or toxins is knowing we get to be part of all your favorite celebrations. We get to share in the joy every time you pop a bottle for birthdays, anniversaries, and holiday celebrations–that means Thanksgiving too. So, this year, when you’re enjoying your favorite bottle from SECCO Wine Club, know that we’re sending you all the light and all the love.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated, drink responsibly, and show gratitude for all the wonderful people in your life.