Get Tipsy With Your Turkey, Part 2: Wine

in Life, Dine

Originally Featured on Boulevard Realty's Rediscovering Houston blog.

Although your Thanksgiving Day may start with beer and snacks in front of the TV, from my point of view it should continue with wine. Advice abounds this time of year from wine and food writers on how to pair your Thanksgiving feast with wine. Let me be perfectly clear, I’m not a wine pro but I do have some experience-based tips to make the pairing process a bit easier:

  1.  At Thanksgiving there are no rules. Thanksgiving is about family and feeling comfortable, not about pricey wines being touted by wine experts. Not that being a wine snob is a bad thing, it’s just better to save the expensive stuff for a private party or New Year’s.  Your guests will be bringing wine so open those bottles and add them to your selection, and there is sure to be something to make everyone happy.
  2. Plan on one bottle per wine drinking guest. Don’t believe me? Here’s the math: The typical Thanksgiving dinner lasts 2 hours from hors d’ouevres to dessert and coffee. Figure 2 drinks per hour on average x 2 hours = 4 glasses per person. The typical wine bottle is about 4 glasses. Oh, snap!
  3. Be sure to buy more than one bottle of each wine you plan to serve. Inevitably, Aunt Jane will find a wine she really likes and the first bottle will be empty.
  4. If you like to keep things simple, stick with a sparkling wine. Bubbles can take you from appetizer to dessert as the effervescence cuts through the layers of flavors that are mingling on your plate.
  5. There is conventional wisdom about paring wines at Thanksgiving including:
    • A high acid, low tannin Pinot Noir is an all-around good choice.
    • Avoid high alcohol wines such as a heavy Zin. The alcohol combined with sleep inducing tryptophan in turkey will have you doing a face plant in the pumpkin pie.
    • Rosé is very food friendly and looks pretty. Be sure to have more than one bottle as it will be a popular one for your guests to try.
    • For whites, unoaked chardonnay or a gewürztraminer are good choices.

If you take these few guidelines and head out to Spec’s or Richard’s, their wine specialists really know what they are doing and can point you to the best choices from what they have in stock. You should be able to find some very nice $10-20 wines. For this meal there is not much point in going over about $25/bottle because the day is not about the wine.

On behalf of Becky and Mark, Bayou City Life and Boulevard Realty, we wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday.