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thanksgiving blog

How to Choose the Perfect Thanksgiving Wine

Paul Clear Author
Wine importer

In many households, Thanksgiving is incomplete without a nice glass of wine to complement the meal. After spending an entire day preparing your protein and delicious sides, you deserve nothing less than the perfect Thanksgiving wine pairing to accompany your meal. There are various considerations to keep in mind.

To understand how to choose a Thanksgiving wine and pair your wine with your meal, it is important to consider the aromatic characteristics of the wine, the wine structure, and the influences of the winemaking process. Here are various factors to keep in mind that will help you select the perfect wine for your Thanksgiving meal.

What is a great Thanksgiving wine?

Ultimately, the best Thanksgiving wine is the wine that best pairs with your specific Thanksgiving meal and aligns with your personal preferences for aromatic qualities and wine structure. While it may seem intimidating at first, there is a method to identifying what works the best for your Thanksgiving meal. Continue reading to learn more.

How do you pair wine with a classic Thanksgiving dinner?

Most Thanksgiving meals center around a protein, like a whole roasted turkey, ham, or prime rib. Your wine should not only complement the main dish, but all the sides. Whether your typical Thanksgiving sides include gravy, bacon Brussels sprouts, sausage stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, cornbread, or other classic dishes, you’ll want to take all of these into account when selecting your wine.

The perfect wine for Thanksgiving balances and rounds out the meal. The ideal aromatic characteristics and structure of the wine are key factors in helping you determine what wine to pair for your Thanksgiving dinner.

How do aromatic characteristics of wine impact pairing choices for Thanksgiving?

Aromatic characteristics of wine are determined by both the grape variety and the winemaking process. Grape varieties dictate more of the fruit characteristics of the wine, while winemaking generally impacts more of the non-fruit characteristics.

For hearty Thanksgiving meals, aromatic characteristics to look out for on the wine label are any fruity notes and baking spices. Berry fruits in particular are highly complementary to the typical Thanksgiving proteins as well as creamy mashed potatoes and gravy. Berry fruit aromas offer some freshness to an otherwise warm and comforting Thanksgiving meal.

Baking spice aromatic notes like nutmeg and cinnamon are complementary to a Thanksgiving meal as well. Many Thanksgiving sweet potato or butternut squash recipes call for cinnamon. Certainly, desserts like pumpkin pie and apple pie also call for allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Wines with aromas of baking spices are a beautiful pairing because they enhance and accentuate the baking spice notes in many classic Thanksgiving dishes.

If you’re trying a new wine for Thanksgiving, look out for the aromatic characteristics of the wine on the label or online to help guide your choice.

How does wine structure impact pairing choices for Thanksgiving?

Grape variety and oak treatment both impact wine structure. Warmer climate grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon are generally higher in alcohol, fuller bodied, and more tannic. Cooler climate grape varieties like Pinot Noir are more acidic, lower in alcohol, and less tannic. Oak barrels also have tannins. Wine aged in oak is slightly more tannic.

If you’re looking for a bold wine with some structure to balance out your hearty Thanksgiving meal, a Cabernet Sauvignon is a great choice. Cabernet Sauvignon is a thicker-skinned grape variety, so its tannins offer some nice structure to the wine. Robust tannins and a higher alcohol content both beautifully round out the meatiness and decadence of Thanksgiving meals. If you’re looking for something lighter, Pinot Noir or Gamay wines are great too.

Should I seek out organic wines for Thanksgiving?

Not only are organic wines great for the environment, but studies have shown that organic wines taste better! The University of California, Los Angeles published their findings in the Journal of Wine Economics several years ago. They diligently gathered leading wine critics’ wine scores over many years. They analyzed and assessed the scores. What did they find? It turns out that organic wines generally score higher! So, when you’re shopping for a wine online or at your local wine shop and you see an organic certification on the label, it’s very likely to be a high quality, delicious product.

Winemakers who put the time, energy, and thought into an organic winemaking process are more likely to put this kind of care into the final product as well. Purity and excellence are top of mind for producers of organic wine. Grapes are carefully selected and the winemaking process is particularly mindful. The result is a tasty wine.

Dominio de Punctum Lobetia Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – An Organic Wine

For a delicious Cabernet Sauvignon pairing with your Thanksgiving meal, the Lobetia Single Vineyard by Dominio de Punctum is an excellent choice. It is a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine from a single vineyard in La Mancha in central Spain. It is made with organic grapes that are night harvested and cold macerated before fermentation, resulting in a vibrant and unique final product. No genetically modified yeast is used during fermentation and the wines are low in sulfites.

The Lobetia Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is deep cherry in color. The aromatic fruit characteristics on the nose are blackcurrant, dark plum, mulberry, and dark berry which are fantastic alongside a hearty Thanksgiving meal. It’s also wonderfully floral with notes of violet on the nose. The three months of aging in American oak add some delightful, subtle non-fruit characteristics including chocolate, mocha, anise, and nutmeg. The wine’s lingering finish, robust tannins, and aromatic characteristics are all highly complementary to a fully loaded Thanksgiving plate of turkey, ham, or prime rib and sides, covered in gravy. It’s a delicious wine pairing for your Thanksgiving meal!

Ultimately, the best Thanksgiving wine is the one that suits your aromatic and structural preferences, while complementing your meal. It’s as simple as that. Happy Thanksgiving!

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