While Canadians have long past celebrated Thanksgiving this year, our American neighbours will be gathering with family for turkey dinner this week. Since a lot of our readership is American based, I’d like to share my wine recommendations for your upcoming holiday. While you had to wait until further in the year for your long weekend, our American readers can definitely get the benefit of learning what worked best for wine at my Canadian Thanksgiving dinner.
I like to start Thanksgiving day with early afternoon appetizers and wine. Specifically, I like a giant cheese and charcuterie board filled with fall favourites like maple aged cheddar, smoked sausage and locally picked apples. And for wine, I always choose my seasonal go to – the Inniskillin Late Autumn Riesling. If you can’t find this Ontario native, any other late harvest Riesling will pair just as well. In the United States, wineries from New York or Washington will typically produce late harvest Rieslings. Late harvest wines are made from grapes that are left on the vine longer so their sugar levels are higher; creating a sweeter wine. What I like about a late harvest Rieslings in particular are that the Riesling grape has a naturally higher acidity level which really balances out the sweetness. It’s the perfect wine varietal to start of your Thanksgiving celebrations – easy afternoon drinking, not too serious and pairs perfectly with a variety of appetizers!
If you can get your hands on a bottle of the Inniskillin Late Harvest Riesling, I really encourage you try it. I guarantee you’ll love it as much as I do! http://on.inniskillin.com/?method=products.productDrilldown&productID=51830415-1cc4-81ae-7543-3de49b146a44&originalMarketingURL=product/Inniskillin-Niagara-Estate-Series-Late-Autumn-Riesling
For the main event I highly recommend you go with a White Burgundy. A Burgundian white will almost always be a Chardonnay. But it’s not your typical new world Chardonnay with a heavy mouth of butter and oakiness. Once you’ve tried a white Burgundy, your whole impression of Chardonnay will change. As Wine Folly puts it, “white burg is the crack cocaine of Chardonnay.” These wines vary considerably but generally have green apple and lemon citrus notes with hint of oak that provides a nice nutty or vanilla flavour. A White Burgundy will be great accompaniment to your turkey and is sure to please all your dinner guests. I chose the popular Louis Jadot Bourgogne, which you should be able to find at your local wine shop.
To finish off the night, I chose another late harvest wine – Bella Wineries Late Harvest Zinfandel. A late harvest Zinfandel is considered a dessert wine and works well with Thanksgiving favourites like pumpkin pie or apple crisp. And an added bonus – late harvest zins are typically only found in America. The Bella Wineries vintage is now sold out, but there are several other options from California you’ll be able to find. While not your typical dessert wine or bubbly, a late harvest Zinfandel will be something different to impress your guests and add to the fall feels of Thanksgiving!
And, of course, it’s always nice to consider your non-alcohol drinking friends. This is really easy at Thanksgiving with an abundance if apple cider options available. To make it a bit more special, I’d recommend picking a sparking cider. I had a crowd pleasing bubbly from my local cidery.
Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend filled with friends, family and good wine!
Cheers ~ GDW