Give Thanks with Wine


Thanksgiving is about tradition and it is about remembering:

I remember...

…sitting at the kitchen table the night before Thanksgiving. Turkeys came from the grocery store studded with black pinfeathers that had to be pulled before the bird went into the oven to roast back then. We gathered at the kitchen table, each of us armed with a pair of large tweezers my Dad brought home from his lab for the occasion. Then we would begin cleaning up the bird. Mom would get up and down to check “ball stage” of the annual batch of fudge bubbling on the stove.

…Dad at the piano in the dining room playing our favorite Thanksgiving hymn, “We thank you, Lord of Heaven, for all the joys that greet us, for all that you have given…” We’d sing, some more tunefully than others, saving up for the second verse, then we’d shout the line “…for dogs with friendly faces.”

…the dogs, at least three of them, milling around the kitchen Thanksgiving morning, taking in the holiday smells and the promise of a turkey and gravy dog feast.

…the windows covered with steam.

…The inevitable long after dinner nap, people and dogs stretched out here and there on the floor.

…the years we lived in France and Mom carried the turkey, raw and stuffed, to the village bakery to cook there because our kitchen oven was too small.

…the holiday meal always being the same—roast turkey, mashed potatoes and the dark brown giblet gravy, a dish of crisp celery stalks and smooth black olives, wild rice, sweet potatoes, the all-American green bean casserole made with a can of mushroom soup and a can of crispy fried onions, bread stuffing, 2 kinds of cranberry sauce, 2 kinds of pie.

Throughout my long adult years, Thanksgiving has remained my favorite holiday and it remains much the same…a time to remember, a time to gather with family, a time to consciously count “all the joys that greet us.”

Even the Thanksgiving feast menu remains pretty much the same. Sure, we’ve tweaked and added some new dishes.  We’ve classed up the 1950’s era bean casserole and we’ve substituted pumpkin tiramisu for the pumpkin pie. We pinchcock the turkey and glaze it with fig sauce, we roast Brussel sprouts, and we add Michigan dried cherries to the wild rice.

And except for the traditional annual bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau, we change up the wines most every year.

So, what ARE the best Thanksgiving wines?

Whether it is the big, gamey, spicy Red Zinfandel for the family’s wine aficionado or the sweet chillable White Zinfandel for the great aunt who will be having her annual sip of wine, Thanksgiving with its huge variety of flavors, its fat, its richness, is a good time to bring out a few bottles for all palates. Yes, provide the tried and true.  But consider offering family and friends the opportunity to taste some new things, to experiment with pairings, or to discover what they like!

Prosecco, a medium dry sparkling wine from Italy, is a refreshing contrast to the rich, fatty holiday meal and goes with all the flavors of the feast, from beginning to end and beyond.
TRY our NEW: Mille Bolle Prosecco from Italy

A fruity, medium dry, crisp Michigan Riesling or lightly sweet Michigan White Blend, match all the varying degrees of sweetness in the meal: the mashed white or sweet potatoes, or autumn squash, the cranberry relish, the pumpkin pie,
TRY highly acclaimed:  St. Julian “On the Town” White Blend

A Pinot Noir, not too tannic, not too heavy in alcohol, offers a hint of acidity that balances the richness of the meal.
TRY the classic: Rodney Strong Estate Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

A dry, but not too acid Rosé, remains all the rage right now, even with summer behind us, and is a good pairing for a meal with so many different tastes and flavors, the herby sage, the tangy citrus, the earthy mushrooms. 
TRY the surprising: Josh Cellars Rosé or NEW! Georges Diouf Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé

Fruity reds match the feel of the meal, wines like Italian Lambrusco, or German Dornfelder, and of course the French Beaujolais Nouveau just released and out in the stores this past week.  Many California Red Blends or Michigan Reds are perfect sweeter pairings for the sweet Thanksgiving dinner.
TRY my sleeper choice this year for the Turkey Tradition: NEW! Endue Marselan

Get together with your Wine Steward for more Thanksgiving wine tips!

Roz Mayberry
About Roz:
During her distinguished career, Roz has served a term as the Retail Representative on the MDA's Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council and Continues to serve on their Promotion & Education and Competition Committees. In addition, she has served as a judge in various national and international wine competitions.

Working with D&W's wine stewards and SpartanNash's vendor partners, Roz tirelessly explores the vast world of wine, discovering the finest wines for every budget and every taste. And she loves to discuss food and wine with customers and colleagues. As a lifelong foodie, there is nothing else she'd rather be doing.