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5 Tips on Picking Thanksgiving Wines

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I received this in my email in September from Natalie Maclean and it might be a bit early for this article. Of course, your own homemade wine always goes best with whatever your eating.

Five Quick Tips for Picking the Ultimate Thanksgiving Wine

Author/Sommelier Natalie MacLean suggests gobbling good wines at

New York (September 13, 2007) - "No other holiday celebrates the gift
of wine like Thanksgiving," says Natalie MacLean, author of the
bestselling book Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey
from Grape to Glass. "Wine is a taste of the harvest along with all the
delicious dishes on the table. But actually choosing a bottle can feel
like a thankless task, especially with so many flavors to match."

Relax. Have a drink. And try some of Natalie's suggestions for great
wines to pair with Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings. In Red,
White and Drunk All Over, which will be published in paperback next
month, Natalie discusses wine and food pairing for Thanksgiving dinner.
A new chapter in the book also addresses the five toughest matches for
wine: vegetables, spicy dishes, chocolate, cheese, and fast food.

Natalie's free online matching tool at

Natalie also offers five quick tips for choosing a terrific Thanksgiving wine:

1. Start with bubbly. Sparkling wine is a great aperitif to sip while
you wait for the turkey to finish cooking. It adds a celebratory note
to the meal and goes well with starters like soup and salad.

2. Consider the turkey. Unlike most poultry and game birds, turkey meat
is very dry in texture. So you need a mouth-watering wine to complement
it. Good options are crisp whites like riesling and pinot grigio. And
yes you can drink red wine with white meat: pinot noir, beaujolais and
zinfandel all have juicy, berry-ripe flavors that go well with turkey.

3. Look beyond the bird. The range of side dishes means that you don't
have to match your wine just to the turkey. Since Thanksgiving dinner
is often a banquet-style meal, with everyone choosing the trimmings,
why not do the same with your wines? Offer both red and white, and
possibly more than one depending on the size of your group.

4. Complement or contrast. A big, buttery chardonnay from California or
Chile can complement the roasted, smoky flavors of squash, chestnuts
and pecan stuffing. But if you'd rather have a contrast to the richness
of cream sauces and dressings, try a crisp New Zealand sauvignon blanc.

5. End on a sweet note. If anyone still has room left when it's time
for pumpkin or pecan pie, offer a late harvest wine or icewine. If
you're a chocolate fan, try serving a liqueur with complementary
flavors such as raspberry or blackcurrant.

Natalie's online wine matching tool isn't just about Thanksgiving
dinner: it allows you to pair wine with other seasonal fall produce,
game meats, pizza, egg dishes, TV dinners, breads and desserts.
Visitors simply search by wine for meal inspirations or by food to find
great wine choices. The site has more than 364,000 food and wine
combinations, as well as thousands of recipes for those planning
holiday parties and Christmas turkey dinner.

The matching tool is updated regularly, as Natalie responds to her
readers' suggestions for more dishes and wines. Many of these
suggestions come from the 78,000 subscribers to her free e-newsletter,
Nat Decants, which offers tips on how to buy, cellar and serve wine.
Got a dish or a wine to stump Natalie? E-mail her via the web site and
she'll suggest a match for you. Happy Thanksgiving!

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