Of course white Burgundy (Chardonnay) and Pinot Noir are comfortable choices for Thanksgiving dinner, but here are some less-traditional wine pairings for your holiday feast. First, you can always think of sparkling wine when you settle down to enjoy your meal. The beauty of sparkling wine is the wonderful array of sweetness levels you can select. So if Aunt Sally enjoys her wines with a little more sweetness, as if she isn’t sweet enough, you may choose a nice Moscato d’ Asti. This is a very popular wine these days for people that have a bit of a sweet tooth. It’s a wine that also works well as an aperitif or to enjoy with your dessert. We here at ABC Fine Wines have discovered a wine from the Lombardy region of Italy. It is an off-dry red wine called Costarosa. This effervescent red is an interesting blend of Croatina, Barbera, Uva Rara, Ughetta Vespolina…I lost you on Uva Rara I bet. These certainly are not the typical grapes you are used to drinking, but neither was Argentinian Malbec until you gave it a try. Give this wine a chance even if you are not a big fan of off-dry wines; it is very tasty.
Another great wine region to explore, that is so often overlooked (see Bill Stobbs’ post on this from September), is the Alsace region in France. This is one of the most decorated food Meccas in the world. I’ve been told that Alsace has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other place in France. Although Alsace is recognized as producing wines that match incredibly well with food, it is unique in that the wines are almost exclusively white. These full-bodied white wines that include Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer are made in a drier style than their German cousins to the north. They have been described as the white wines for red wine drinkers. Try a bottle of Pinot Blanc or a dry Riesling this year for Thanksgiving and I’m sure you’ll become a fan of this style of wine. Alsace does produce wines in a sweeter style, Vendange Tardive, but give these drier examples a chance and I’m sure you’ll become a fan.
Ken Amendola – Wine Supervisor, North Florida