When picking wines for Thanksgiving, there are different choices for different times throughout the day. This year I'll be considering some of these wines for Thanksgiving at Chéz Bakas:
Find these wines at a store near where you live on grappos.com
Broadbent Vinho Verde - aperitif When Uncle Earl shows up to Thanksgiving he's ready to watch football and start grazing. Sure, you could put a beer in his hand and he'd be happy as a clam. OR, you could give Uncle Earl some sophistication and introduce him to a new wine. Vinho Verde is a great pre-dinner wine because it's lower in alcohol (much to Earl's shagrin) and also has a light effervescence to it. You want to keep your edge. Thanksgiving is a marathon, not a sprint. Ease your liver into the evening with a lighter white wine that's easy to sip. Broadbent Vinho Verde is one of the only Vinho Verde's shipped to the U.S. in refrigerated containers which is important because freshness is what this wine is all about.
Sokol Blosser Evolution - aperitif, dinner The Sokol Blosser Evolution white blend is a fun wine for many occasions. It's hard to describe exactly what it is or what's in it, but all I know is it works—by itself or with food. Evolution is a blend of 9 different white grapes that all hold hands and play Red Rover with your palate. You can sip on Evolution before dinner or with it. The most recent edition of Evolution reminds me of the older editions with a touch more sweetness aka residual sugar....but just a touch.
St. Supery Virtu - dinner I'm not just picking this wine because I work for the winery (disclosure) but also because the Virtu combines the best of two worlds. Sauvignon Blanc is more of an aromatic wine than a "rich mouth feel" wine. Semillion is the opposite. It's got more of a creamy texture that you'd associate with a buttery Chardonnay, but it's not as aromatic. Virtu joins them together like Voltron to form a rich, creamy textured wine with the floral components that do the tango with Thanksgiving turkey on your taste buds. In my other Thanksgiving post I mention Pinot Gris or a drier Riesling as a wine to compliment the turkey with acidity to cut through gravy. The Virtu accomplishes many of the same things as those two wines for the same reasons.
Chateau Musar Cuvee Rosé - dinner I've tried many rosés recently from so many different grapes around the world. One of my favorites is the Musar Cuvee from Lebanon. Made from 100% Cinsault, the Musar rosé is like a 50/50 blend of cherry cider and cranberry cider. It's dry, but not too dry. There's just enough residual sweetness so your cheeks don't pucker. The balance between alcohol, fruit and acidity is ideal. Because of it's resemblance to cranberry, it compliments the main course.
Hahn SLH Pinot Gris - dinner There's something about the Hahn SLH Pinot Gris that almost evokes an emotional response. It's such a pretty wine with elegance and refinement, yet pure quality fruit and acidity that is great to sip by itself. Since Thanksgiving is a special occasion, why not share with others. I really like about a dozen Alsatian Pinot Gris, but most recently this one has been near and dear to my heart. It features a silky honey texture with floral notes of a Hawaiian garden. Hahn does it again!
St. Supéry Moscato - after dinner aperitif With age, comes wisdom. And the wisdom I've gained over the years is by the time Thanksgiving dinner is over, I'm usually stuffed and not able to bend at the waist in any sort of sitting position. I'm usually laying on my back counting how many calories I just ingested. You'd think the wisdom would be don't eat so much. Either way, I'm learning to skip dessert and not eat any more. The problem is I still have a hankering for something sweet. The Moscato has filled that slot nicely. It scratches that itch for something sweet after dinner without being too high in alcohol or being food. The only way pumpkin pie is going to be eaten is if I store it in my esophagus while I'm waiting for my stomach to empty. This wine features aromatic fireworks of peaches and cream without being too syrupy. It's got some finesse, which is nice after a big meal. The Moscato is the so popular at St. Supéry that it has its own wine club.
Broadbent Malmsey Madeira - dessert If you do find room for dessert, I admire you. Did you know a good Madeira like Broadbent's will go with virtually any dessert? It's not cooking Madeira, it's the stuff that's made to enjoy in a glass. I've tried Madeira with ice cream, cheesecake, chocolate cake, bananas foster, créme brulée and various other desserts. The Madeira went with all of them. In fact, you could dip a piece of bread in balsamic vinegar then eat and still have Madeira "cut through" the balsamic taste. Good Madeira might possible be the most perfect dessert wine.
So there you have it. Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Some poor sucker is doing the dishes while everyone else is trying to alter their bodily chemistry with coffee to offset the effects of Tryptophan. I hope this guide helps give an idea of what wine to serve at what time throughout the day in order to get the most satisfaction and bang for your buck. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!