Because what's in your glass is just as important as what's on your plate.
When it comes to Thanksgiving wine, you have an important choice to make. You can choose one standout versatile wine to serve with the entire meal, from appetizers right on through dessert (and the inevitable post-meal food coma), or you can switch it up each course and try a different wine to highlight each dish's unique contributions. "Thanksgiving dinner is always a really challenging meal because there are so many different things going on with it. There are a lot of very savory elements, like turkey gravy and stuffing, but it's also quite rich and there is also a lot of sweetness, so those are all things to consider," explains Master Sommelier Emily Wines, vice president of beverage experience at Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants. "It’s also a meal that’s not only a dinner, but kind of a protracted epic feast."
You've probably heard the old adage about pairing red wine with red meat and white wine with fish and poultry. But Wines stresses that, "The most important rule of food and wine pairing is that there are no rules, only guidelines. You should not only be matching the body of the wine with the food, but the volume, too," she explains. "There are foods that are big and loud, like a grilled steak with blue cheese and onions. With that, you’d want a red wine that’s bold and intense. Something that would be heavy and quiet would be pasta Alfredo, with rich but not very intense flavors. So a big, soft, white wine would be a better combination with something like that." She added that picking wines from the same region as your food (like sake with sushi, for example) is also a good rule of thumb.
Thanksgiving can be a great time to test drive new wines you haven't tried before, so don't be afraid to pick up a new and exciting bottle to bring to the feast. Wines likes to drink American on Thanksgiving, a quintessential American holiday. But when choosing a wine to pair with the spread, there's only one hard-and-fast rule to follow: Pick a wine that your guests will enjoy and you can't go wrong.