Here we are, less than a week before Thanksgiving and our dinner plans couldn’t be further from being finished. Oh we’ve procrastinated some, been held up on our headcount because some of our friends and relatives have been holding out for a better offer and have not committed to us yet, and then there’s just the utter confusion. What am I going to serve? Should I have people bring stuff (even though we know Shaun can’t find his stove and we wish Caroline couldn’t find hers)? And then there’s what to serve to drink? Alcohol or no alcohol? Beer, liquor or wine…or all three. And then, if we do serve wine, there’s all that wine pairing to think about. Is it too late to just cancel everything? Cue the trumpets!
No, I am not riding in on a white horse with the ‘be all end all’ list of wines for Thanksgiving that will render your guests speechless with your wine pairing prowess. Let’s face it, with the amount of food being consumed on Thanksgiving, do you really think anyone is going to be paying that much attention to your wine pairings? And if you actually serve that holiday meal in courses, how many are there…3, 4, 5, 7? After about course number three, you could be serving grape Nehi mixed with a couple of dashes of bitters and most of your guests wouldn’t know the difference. Some would probably ask you what vintage it was.
Here’s the other thing about pairing wines for Thanksgiving dinner…many times your guests will bring a bottle of their favorite
swill paint stripper wine and be hurt if you don’t serve it with the meal. So you may have some friends that bring you an amazing bottle of Kosta Browne Pinot Noir and some friends that will bring a bottle of Snk*^Rflot# that was from the bargain bin at a drug store they passed on their way to your house.
Of course, things could always go to the positive. Maybe you and your friends cumulatively come together and have several wines for Thanksgiving that are simply amazing. Of course, by the 5th glass you can’t taste anything, let alone feel anything.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t bother pairing wines for Thanksgiving dinner, I would never say such blasphemous things. But I am saying that if you’re in doubt as to what you should serve, make a visit to your local wine shop. Find someone that works there that you can talk to and ask them (that’s what they do all day…learn about wines and pairing wines). Tell them what your budget is and they’ll work with you on it. Not every delicious bottle of wine costs more than $50. There are some great tasting bargains for under $20, but sometimes you have to ask someone in the know which one’s they are. And don’t bother bringing in the Thanksgiving issue of Wine Is Everything because the wines for Thanksgiving article contains wines that either aren’t available yet or have already been sold out. (Trust me on this.)
The other way to approach this is to keep an open mind. Your friends are all different from one another and they have different tastes. Use this as a way to try some different wines and experiment. Some you’ll like and some you won’t, but this is a great way to learn more about wines and your friends.
I won’t leave you high and dry if you are trying to figure out some wines for Thanksgiving. Below are some friends of mine who do this ‘wine thing’ for a living. Check out their sites for some ideas and send them an e-mail if you’ve got a specific question. They’ll help you through this.
Jameson Fink – Wine Without Worry
Matthew Horbund – A Good Time With Wine
Planet Bordeaux – No, not all Bordeaux’s are red or expensive