How to be a Thanksgiving Hero
Thanksgiving is already upon us! For many Nova Scotians that means this week will be filled with making plans: either to prepare a feast, or to attend one. Regardless of which category you fall into, one thing’s for certain, you’ll need a great bottle of wine (or two) to go with your dinner.
“Thanksgiving is the 2nd most popular wine holiday of the year,” says NSLC wine expert Peter Rockwell. But finding that perfect bottle of wine to serve or bring along can be a real challenge. It’s important to keep in mind, you’re not just pairing your wine with turkey, you’re pairing it with everything on your plate. As Peter points out, “Thanksgiving dinners are usually a broad mix of dishes and flavours, from the relatively bland tastes of turkey and potatoes, to the herbed flavour of dressing, to the tartness of cranberry sauce, you need a wine that will compliment all of these flavours and more.”
The good news is there are lots of great wines at your local NSLC store to choose from. Peter recommends three classic varieties he says are sure to please.
The first is Riesling, which is a white grape variety that originated in the Rhine region of Germany. “Rieslings tend to be off-dry and on a touch of sweetness,” says Peter. “It’s a wine that works really well with lots of different flavours and it’s a great choice if you’re not exactly sure what’s going to be served.”
Peter says there are some delicious local Rieslings on NSLC shelves, as well as a good selection from Germany.
Peter’s second recommendation is another white wine - Chardonnay. “Chardonnay is a little like turkey,” says Peter. “It goes with anything.” Unlike Riesling, Chardonnays are on the drier side. Peter hasn’t met a Chardonnay at our stores that he didn’t like, but says New World Chardonnays, from countries like Australia and Chile tend to be richer and offer a bigger fruit taste than many Old World styles, making them a great accompaniment for Thanksgiving dinner.
Peter’s third recommendation is Pinot Noir, a red wine grape that originated in the Burgundy region of France but is now grown in cooler regions around the world, including Nova Scotia. Peter says this variety is always a hit among red-wine lovers no matter what’s on the table, and that Pinots from California have become especially popular.
If you think your guests might like something a little more adventurous, Peter suggests some other white grape varieties, like the spicy Viognier or Gewürztraminer, or even a sparkling wine or rosé, all of which work well before, during and after the meal. “One year I also brought along a Spanish Tempranillo, which makes a more balanced red wine than other big varieties,” recalls Peter. “My family loved it, and the dark berry and plum flavours worked really well with the eclectic mix of food we had for dinner.”
Peter says these same varieties will also work well if you’re serving ham. “All of these wines tend to be a little lighter, and that means they won’t eclipse the flavour of the meal. Because with all the time and effort put into making this one special meal, Thanksgiving really is first and foremost, all about the food.”