Thanksgiving’s just a week away and, if you haven’t started thinking about the wines you’ll be serving yet, now’s the prime time to do so! For many of us, pairing food and wine can be incredibly intimidating because there are SO many decisions to make. Like…which wine will pair best with the fried turkey and Grandma’s creamed spinach soufflé? Or, if I’m expecting ten guests for Thanksgiving dinner, do I need to have BOTH red and white wine glasses on hand? And finally, is there an easy calculation for how many bottles of wine I need to buy? If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions and more, keep on reading, because I’m here to help!
Years ago, I worked as a Wine Sales Rep (yes, it was the dream job that it sounds like!) and spent countless hours in training, attended hundreds of wine tastings, and, had the opportunity to meet dozens of winemakers. While I don’t remember everything I learned all those years back, I’ll always remember these top five tips about serving wine:
You can Never Go Wrong with Bubbles – A flute of champagne or sparkling wine served at the beginning of the meal sets a festive tone for the remainder of the evening! It’s great for all those “what I’m most thankful for this year” toasts and most sparklers pair perfectly with a variety of Thanksgiving dishes. Not exactly on a champagne budget? Just serve Prosecco or Cava instead!
Serve Wines that Complement the Meal – Between the turkey, dressing, buttery mashed potatoes, and various casseroles, you’ve got a lot of flavor combinations going on! The best wines for Thanksgiving are those that complement the food, not compete with it. In no particular order, my go-to white wines for Thanksgiving are: Viognier, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling (dry with dinner, sweet with dessert), and Gewurztraminer (again, dry with dinner, sweet with dessert). And, for red wines: Pinot Noir (my favorite!), Syrah, Zinfandel, and Beaujolais.
Follow the 15 Minute Rule – Unfortunately, most white wines are served too cold, (making it hard to taste the flavors) while red wines are served too warm (making the alcohol too prominent). It’s best to chill white wine completely (at least 3 hours) before serving it and allow it to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before you drink it. For red wines, simply place the bottle in the refrigerator 15 minutes before you plan to pour it.
When Choosing Glassware – It’s perfectly fine to provide just one style of wineglass rather than having specialized glasses for each wine you’re serving. The one exception to this is when you’re also serving champagne or a sparkling wine (it’s best to serve these in a flute in order to preserve the bubbles). If you don’t have enough wine glasses or champagne flutes, renting them is always a great option!!
Plan on a Minimum of Three Glasses of Wine per Person – As this is the general rule of thumb when planning for a cocktail or dinner party. The standard wine pour is 5 ounces and each bottle of wine holds approximately 5 glasses of wine. So, if you’re hosting 20 guests for Thanksgiving, you’ll want to have 12 bottles of wine on hand. If this sounds like a lot, just remember, it’s always better to have extra than to run out early on!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my top tips for serving wine and that they’ll come in handy as you’re planning your Thanksgiving dinner this week! Let me know, what are your favorite wines that you’ll be serving this Thanksgiving?
Photo courtesy of www.nytimes.com