Wine of the Week: Best Wines for Thanksgiving 2016
Welcome to Wine of the Week: Thanksgiving 2016 Edition, where we’ll discuss the best wines for Thanksgiving!
Not ready for Thanksgiving yet? No worries- I still don’t know which side dish I’m bringing and we’re only two days away. But aside from food, I hope that your Thanksgiving is filled its lots of love, family, friends, and WINE!!
But which ones? Well, I took the liberty of doing a little research for you, and here’s what I’ve come up with:
The general consensus seems to be that Pinot Noir and Riesling are the BEST wines to go with your Thanksgiving dinner and I’m about to explain why…
But wait! I found a couple of others that do just as well- and everyone likes having options, right? Want to hear more? Let’s start with the reds:
Pinot Noir is great for Thanksgiving because it can be paired with almost everything in terms of food. It is a “light” and subtle wine with hints of cranberry, cherry, and raspberry. This delicious wine is used in making both red wine and champagnes- meaning that it’s instrumental in pleasing different kinds of wine-lovers, which is sure to please everyone at your table this Thanksgiving.
“A high-acid, low-tannin Pinot, with bright cherry and cranberry flavors over rich spices, can do right by almost all the exuberant side dishes a turkey requires.”- Sunset.com
“Pinot Noir’s acidity provides a pop of fresh, fruity tartness that lightens up a heavy meal.”– Real Simple
(Pronounced Boh-jho-lay) Beaujolais is a light red wine with hints of raspberry, tart cherry and cranberry. It is low in alcohol content and low calorie- which pairs well with the fact that you’ll likely be cheating on your diet BIG TIME Thanksgiving Day.
According to Wine Folly, here are 3 reasons Beaujolais-Villages should be on your Thanksgiving table:
- It pairs exceptionally well with wild rice, salads, roasted squash, and cranberries.
- It balances Thanksgiving dinners that have a high sweetness factor (yams, etc.) with Bojo’s savory and earthy quality.
- Its lighter, less tannic style works well with white meat turkey.
These all sound delicious to me… Let’s get on to the whites, shall, we?
Riesling was mentioned quite a few times as the go-to for Thanksgiving white wine because it appeals to a wider range of wine-lovers with different tastes- making it a crowd pleaser, no matter what. Also, it’s light in alcohol, with high acidity- making it a perfect pair with a heavy Thanksgiving meal.
“A white wine that may either be bone dry or fairly sweet, excellent with any dishes that are spicy, salty or sweet.”- About.com
“The precise flavors of Riesling can range from very citrusy to peaches and honey.”- Huffington Post.com
Chardonnay is a medium to light bodied white wine that has a great number of crispy hints ranging from lemon to apple to peach. (Depending on the brand and region, of course.)
“A great California Chardonnay with a bit of toasty oak in it definitely fits the bill with its round mouthfeel and slight creaminess, which just begs for some buttery mashed potatoes and gravy.” –Food Network
But if you are going with a Chardonnay, be sure to take this advice from RealSimple.com:
“The intensely oaky, buttery qualities of some California Chardonnays can overwhelm even robust dishes, so look for brisker versions from France or South Africa, or seek out Chardonnays marked “unoaked” or “naked.”
So there you have it. Good wines for Thanksgiving….
You didn’t think I’d just throw out a few names, quotes and leave you hanging, did you? I had to try some out for you. This wouldn’t be a Wine of the Week if I didn’t, right?
For Thanksgiving, I tried the Beaujolais-Villages and the Pinot Noir. Both reds. Are you surprised? We’ll get the the whites eventually, I swear…
Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages 2014
HEB Price: $9.45
Sight: With the whole label in French, the bottle looks fancy, and the label looks fancy (I’m starting to feel like Fancy Nancy over here- but the adult version). It’s a pretty dark red and looks like it will be strong.
Smell: At first pour, it smelled very strong and sweet. One half-sniff was nostril-opening! It smelled like more of a liquor than a wine. Spoiled grapes, maybe? How strong is this stuff? The label has the Est. date of 1859, and I have no doubt in my mind that this wine smells like it’s bee sitting in a rusty bucket in a wine cellar since 1859. I let it breathe for a few moments and when I came back to it, the smell calmed down (a little), with the wine smelling somewhat “fruitier”.
Taste/First Impression: Very, very subtle and light taste- which I TOTALLY was not expecting, based on the smell. Tiny hints of tart, but not too tart… Very smooth and very light wine. I would describe this wine as almost delightful- like delightful’s introverted bff.
After taste: All is well in this department. I don’t have much to say about it- except no lingering, nasty aftertaste.
The Experience: I was very pleasantly surprised on the first sip with this wine. It did not taste like it smelled at all. It was very “light” tasting. At 2 glasses in, I’m already all “Wooo-hooo!” and thinking of croissant sandwiches. True story. But I haven’t had wine since last Friday, had a light lunch and dinner, so that could also be the reason.
The Next Day: I felt fine, but I also didn’t overindulge too much. Again- at 2 glasses, I was good to go and called it a night.
The Label: “An easy-drinking wine made with the grapes of the highest quality from the Beaujolais region of Burgundy. Pairing: Hors d’oeuvres, mild cheeses or poultry dishes.” That pretty much sums it up.
Alc. %: 12.5%
Rating: 3 1/2
Love Noir Pinot Noir 2015 California
HEB Price: $9.98
Sight: After having done some research on Pinot Noir for this post, I was a little surprised to see how dark this wine was when I poured it- and then I realized I just poured too much. (What?! Don’t judge me- I’ve had a stressful day!) I stand corrected- it is a little light for a red.
Smell: The smell isn’t something that I necessarily hate, but I do not like it. It smells like a weak wine that’s full of alcohol. When I stick my nose in a little deeper, I do smell some cranberry, though.
Taste/First Impression: Mmmmmm… this is definitely different for me. I like it. Soft, subtle, sweet, a tiny bit of tart, that trails off nicely. This wine smells like it has a lot more alcohol in it than it actually tastes like. It’s nice and light, and I can see how it could be a good wine for a heavy meal. Husband’s thoughts: “It’s ok”.
After taste: You can really taste the cranberry in this wine- which is great because then you don’t have to eat the canned stuff at Thanksgiving dinner. Go ahead- use your Pinot as an excuse…
The Experience: Overall, it was a nice wine to have. Hubby said that it wasn’t as strong as he normally likes his wine to be, but I think it is a nice “meal wine”.
The Next Day: I woke up the next morning definitely feeling like I did some drinking last night, (dehydrated) but not feeling too hungover. I was quite surprised at this because Hubby left me to finish it off on my own, and I don’t like to waste wine, so…. Well, I was expecting to feel much worse this morning.
The Label: “Every wine has a darker side.” Take me to the dark side, then. I liked this wine and it’s got me wondering about all the other Pinot Noirs that I can try next. Although this may seem shallow, I totally chose this Pinot based on it’s cute label and reasonable price. The Truth. Brought to you by me.
Alc. %: 13%
Repeat: Yes, I would repeat this wine, but only after I’ve tried a few more Pinot Noirs.
Rating: 3 1/2
So there you have it- the best wines for Thanksgiving and two reviews. I sincerely wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and remind you to celebrate responsibly this holiday season.
Looking for some other recommendations? Check out all the wines I’ve reviewed here (there’s a few good ones in there!!).
Also,I’ve got a SURPRISE in the works that I’m hoping to post on Thanksgiving Day- so after all the turkey (and before the turkey-induced coma), be sure to check in!
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What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Which wine will you bring?