Stories / Drinks

Wines for Your Thanksgiving Spread

JBF Editors

JBF Editors

November 22, 2011


Food Lover's Guide to Wine

If you’re on a last-minute hunt for Thanksgiving wines, consider one of these recommendations from two-time James Beard Award-winning authors Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, co-authors of the new The Food Lover’s Guide to Wine (Little, Brown), which was recently named one of the five best wine books of the year by the Wall Street Journal. Whether you’re looking for a multi-sipper that goes with everything you’ve heaped on your plate or for a variety of bottles to pair with all of the trimmings, this list has you covered.   Bubbles: We toasted our wedding at Lydia Shire’s Boston restaurant Biba in 1990 with Iron Horse Wedding Cuvée, and this iconic brand has been our critical and sentimental favorite to enjoy on special occasions ever since. If you only serve one wine on Thanksgiving, Iron Horse Brut Rosé ($50) is a food-friendly, celebration-appropriate choice worth every penny. A New York-area option would be Wölffer Estate Noblesse Oblige Sparkling Rosé ($37). White: We’ve long recommended Riesling as the single most food-friendly white varietal, and we fell in love with Helfrich Riesling ($13) through tastings in the U.S. and visits to its native Alsace region in France. This light-bodied wine’s crisp apple flavors will carry you from hors d’oeuvre through turkey with all the trimmings. Red, lighter-bodied: Less than a month after the publication of our first wine book What to Drink with What You Eat, it was honored as the 2006 Georges Duboeuf Wine Book of the Year. We have been happy to toast special occasions ever since with Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Cru (especially its cherry- and cranberry-noted Fleurie, $15) as an affordable alternative to Burgundy to accompany Thanksgiving’s dark meat, sausage stuffing, and cranberry sauce. Red, fuller-bodied: Andrew grew up in California loving Zinfandel, and always brought home a bottle at the holidays. Several of the great names in Zinfandel start with an “R”, as do two of our favorites: Ridge and Ravenswood Zinfandel. Look to their single vineyard bottlings for something special with greater complexity. These are the wines for lovers of dark meat, so grab a turkey leg in one hand and a wine glass in the other and be grateful! Dessert, lighter-bodied: Karen grew up in Michigan which has more cider mills per capita than any other state—and she grew up loving the flavor of apples in the fall. Eden Ice Cider from Vermont ($22/375ml) offers a grown-up version of these flavors and pairs beautifully with cheeses, pâtés, apple or pear tartlets, and even pumpkin pie. Dessert, fuller-bodied: Meeting and tasting the wines of legendary winemaker Joe Heitz is how Karen came to fall in love with wine. We both love Heitz Ink Grade Vineyard Port from Napa Valley ($30) with blue cheeses and chocolate desserts. This California port-style wine is an excellent value, because a little (a glass with just a couple of ounces) goes a long way.