Photo: Dinner Series
That 16-pound bird taking up half the space in your freezer right now might be the centrepiece of next week’s Thanksgiving feast, but until you’ve picked the right wine to wash it down with, you’re only halfway there. Once you’ve got an estimate of how many hungry (and thirsty) mouths you’ll have to please, it’s probably best to plan for one bottle per adult.
If that sounds excessive, think about how long you expect your meal to last, says Duncan McRoberts, a wine whiz from Manhattan’s Astor Wines & Spirits.
“You’re going to be spending a lot of time at the table, since it’s a leisurely affair,” he says. “A bottle of wine is five glasses. How long does it take to drink five glasses at a leisurely pace?”
If you’re truly budgeting this year, it’s perfectly fine to invite your guests to BYOB, but don’t complain if Uncle Bob shows up with a six-pack of Bud and pork rinds instead.
Your safest bet when choosing a crowd pleaser is a nice Pinot Noir, says Damien Casten, owner of Chicago-based winery Candid Wines.
“Pinot is lighter in tannin than Cab, Syrah or Merlot,” he says. “It’s light enough to drink with a heavy meal where the food is the focal point.”
It’s a little pricier than most, but there are plenty of other options. Check out our top suggestions for wines under $15 below.
Bisol “Crede” Prosecco ($15) If you can’t afford a bottle of sparkling wine or Champagne, Prosecco is a wallet-friendly, delicious alternative. Serve it with appetizers to get everyone’s taste buds buzzing. “Prosecco is more refreshing because it’s heavily carbonated,” says Christopher Null of Drinkhacker.com. “I think it sets the stage better for a meal.”
Snoqualmie Naked Riesling, Washington State ($10) If it’s good enough for the discerning tongues over at Good Housekeeping, it should be good enough for your rowdy family this Thanksgiving. They recommend using this to kick off your meal, given its fruitier tones like apricot and pears.
The Main Course
Weingut Meinhard Forstreiter “Grooner” Gruner Veltliner ($10) Never mind the fancy name, Null says. “Gruner is a very affordable and extremely food-friendly white wine that is perfect to begin the meal with, especially if poultry is on the menu.”
Raisins Gaulois ($11.99) McRoberts recommends this lighter Gamet-based red, which he says won’t overpower your meal.
Grüner Veltliner “Wogenrain,” Soellner ($14) Also in the Grüner family, McRoberts says Wogenrain is great for a hearty holiday meal. It’s not as fruity as other varieties of white and won’t overpower the savoriness of staples like turkey and stuffing.
Zweigelt, Rosi Schuster ($15) Hailing from Austria, this medium-bodied wine packs a little punch. If you’re planning on nixing the turkey in favour of richer meats like ham or goose this year, Zweigelt makes a great match. “It’s a fun, substantial wine to drink and it’s not too heavy or overly fruitful,” McRoberts says.
Girasole Pinot Noir ($15) Please the eco-lovers in your family with this organic pinot noir. It’s also a best seller in Casten’s shop.
Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford ($15) Watchful winos can track down this fancy Cabernet for $15, Null says. “(That price) is rare for a Rutherford-designated wine, which is considered one of the best growing regions in Napa Valley.”
Secret de Campane ($10) “This is the perfect wine for a novice,” says wine enthusiast LeVar Battle. “This blend of Grenache, Carignan, and Cinsault will serve as an exemplary table wine for everything from stuffing and cranberries to green bean casserole.”
Graham’s Six Grapes Reserve Port ($11) If you can stand to pack anything else into your stomach after the turkey’s shoved aside for the pumpkin and pecan pie, Null suggests this raisin-flavored wine. A half bottle is more than enough, since you’ll be pouring smaller glasses once everyone’s finished stuffing their faces.
Now that you’ve planned your feast, click here to see 15 household items could save you big >