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Many people spend hours, even days, fretting over which wines to offer on Thanksgiving. While a nice wine on Thanksgiving is always an added bonus, Thanksgiving does not revolve around the evening’s wine selection. Honestly, it is difficult to make a bad decision when choosing wine, but there are certain wines that will enhance your Thanksgiving feast. The wines that have been selected will be no more than $25 per bottle because we realize that it is Thanksgiving and this means there will be a lot of wine drinking. Lithe and energetic wines are the best. They refresh and prime your palate for the next coarse. They are relatively low in alcohol which is important one a night that starts early and ends late. And, most importantly do not skimp on the number of bottles you buy.
The worst thing you could do is not buy enough wine. It is best to plan a bottler per adult drinker. Do not fret over pairing wines with particular dishes because on a night like Thanksgiving there are far too many flavors to even begin pairing. Rather, if you are looking for a white, try Eminence Road Finger Lakes Gewürztraminer Elizabeth’s Vineyard 2013 or Brooks Willamette Valley Amycus 2014. For a red wine there is Clarence Dillon Wines Bordeaux Clarendelle 2009 or 1⁄2 Lioco Mendocino County Indica 2013. Whatever wines you may choose, remember not to overthink your wine choices for Thanksgiving this year.
Nothing ought to be simpler than selecting wines for Thanksgiving, right? You pick a few bottles that you like, open them and everybody’s happy.
That’s the theory, anyway. In practice, the ritual is sometimes fraught with anxiety: Am I picking the wrong wines? Am I picking bad wines? Will it go with cranberry sauce?
Relax. Thanksgiving is going to be great. The food will be wonderful, the company delightful and everybody will love whichever wines you choose.
Here is the truth: Thanksgiving does not depend on which wines you choose. Wine, with rare exceptions, is simply a complementary part of a meal that revolves around gratitude and renewing ties with loved ones. On the beckoning table, it stands with the turkey and sides, not above.
While it’s hard to make a wrong decision regarding the wine, you can certainly select wines that will enhance the feast. For years here at the wine panel, the home team — Florence Fabricant and me, along with our colleagues Julia Moskin, Pete Wells and Bernie Kirsch, our tasting coordinator — has gathered to test all sorts of wines with a facsimile of the Thanksgiving meal. Over time we’ve largely codified the general rules for wines that will go best.
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