The Golden Rule of wine and food pairing is a simple one – if you like it, drink it!
But when the family gathers for the turkey feast or at Christmas time something more is often expected. How about something different? Or maybe it’s time to serve up something a bit more extravagant!
The first rule of picking wines for a big meal is do not overly focus on the main protein. Think about all of those side dishes and the different flavors. That makes almost any wine a good pick. But with the Turkey and main course there are some certain winners and perhaps a few you’ve never tried worth picking up.
A good domestic Chardonnay will work every time. You can buy palatable bottles at the grocery or most liquor stores. I recommend value labels Robert Mondavi, Mirrasou, and flip flop as very drinkable wines if you want to keep you’re price point under $10 a bottle.
If there is a decent wine shop nearby there are several other great choices.
If you like drier wines but want a big nose of autumn in your glass try a Gewurztraminer or Viognier. Gewurzt is one of the most aromatic wines in the world. It can be fairly sweet to off-dry. Viognier, my choice of the two, is a drier white wine with hints of apple, pear, and spice. For an even better pairing go drier with a Pinot Gris or Chenin Blanc.
Frankly, don’t buy the other stuff. Chablis would be awesome with any poultry. You can find great bottles starting in the $20 price range and up. Domaine William Fevre, Billaud-Simon, and Drouhin are just three labels which consistently make outstanding French white wine.
Here is an option many people just won’t think about or consider, but Rose’ wines make a great pairing with poultry. Rose is that nice middle point between white and red wines and the quality continues to skyrocket vintage to vintage. Find a French Provence Rose or an Oregon Pinot Noir Rose for your Turkey. Midwestern wineries make pretty good to outstanding Rose’ wines. Just go for the dry Rose wines regardless of region to match well with your dinner.
But if it’s off to the wine shop, consider a French Beaujolais – and not that Nouveau stuff. Find a Beaujolais Cru wine from Julienas, Morgon, or Fleurie. The Gamay-based wines are very affordable at $12-$18 and great with food.
If you want to impress pick up any bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir above the $30 price point. It is sure to be a huge hit with your guests. (Lange is a personal favorite.)
Next Column: Gadgets for the wine lover on your Christmas list!
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