Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Here’s the deal with Thanksgiving. You need a wine that goes with turkey (easy enough, turkeys don’t taste like anything). You need a wine that goes with stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes with marshmallows melted on top (a concept I find revolting, personally, but what can I say?), creamed onions, mashed potatoes with gravy, Brussels sprouts, you name it.
And because no one wants to make more than one trip to the store for this crazy holiday, you need wine that goes with pizza too, because pizza is the single most popular food for the night before Thanksgiving.
And you need a wine that goes with leftover turkey sandwiches, turkey soup and turkey casserole because you certainly don’t want to go to the store the day after Thanksgiving - you’re going to be way too busy hitting the mall and fighting the Black Friday masses for that super-cyclonic, dog-hair-eradicating, jet-propelled vacuum cleaner that’s "50% off to the first 400 people only!" (Good luck to you with that, because you’re definitely going to need it.)
To put it more briefly, what you need is a wine that goes with everything.
That’s a dry rosé. It’s got acidity, it’s got fruit. Chill it down, it’s refreshing. It’s not too big, it’s not too small; as Goldilocks would say, if she were old enough to drink, "it’s just right."
If any of your family members object to a pink wine at this meal, just shrug and snarl, “Hey, buddy, rosé was good enough for the Pilgrims, wasn’t it?” Then walk off. That ought to confuse them sufficiently.
2010 Paul Jaboulet et Fils Côtes du Rhône Rosé ($10)
Jaboulet’s crisp, lively rosé is an ideal affordable pour for large groups. For instance, if your spouse’s extended family has fifty people in it, and they’re all coming over for Thanksgiving, in a bus, you might want to have a couple of cases of this around.
2010 Mas Carlot Rosé ($10)
The not-so-well-known Costieres du Nîmes region in southern France is the source of this spicy, extremely engaging, strawberry-scented wine made from a blend of Grenache and Syrah.
2010 Francis Ford Coppola Sofia Rose ($16)
Technically, the bottle shouldn’t matter when it comes to wine - but it’s worth noting that this particular bottle looks rather elegant on a Thanksgiving table. That would be meaningless if the wine weren’t also good, but in this case, it is.
2010 Etude Rosé of Pinot Noir ($18 or so)
One of California’s most respected Pinot Noir producers makes this fragrant, juicy wine. It’s fairly substantial for a rosé, but never goes overboard into heaviness.
NV J Vineyards Brut Rose ($28)
Bubbles, why not? J’s is pricey, so not so good for the busload of in-laws (see above), but if your Thanksgiving dinner is a small affair, keep in mind that sparkling dry rosés work just like still dry rosés: They go with everything. This one is full of citrus and berry, and while you could just drink it for a toast, it’d be a lot more fun to drink it with everything on the table.
More from Food & Wine:
Fast Thanksgiving Recipes
Best Pizza in the U.S.
Best Fried Chicken in the U.S.
Best Burgers in the U.S.
© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.
Nice piece! Well written. To the point. Useful. Made me smile. May you have all the Rose' you want on Thanksgiving!
No, not rose'. Beaujalais. Doesn't risk being sickeningly sweet like so many rose's. I refuse to have cr@p like marshmallows on my table (unless perhaps part of dessert) so I don't need my wine to go with candy. I prefer it to go with actual food. In point of fact a nice shiraz is just as good with a bird, or a really full-bodied oak-y Aussie Chardonnay. Anything so long as it isn't sweet!
Hey cHarlotte! We can't help that you don't have a refined palate. So get over it!
Promoting alcoholism? Only a complete douchebag would come to that conclusion from reading this article.
I hardly think we should be promoting alcoholism.
Serving wine with dinner is hardly "promoting alcoholishm." If you think it is, then you are the one with an alcohol problem, not those who enjoy a glass or two of wine paired with a nice meal. You might as well accuse people who prepare and eat food as "promoting obesity." Sure, too much and too rich will contribute to obesity, but the simple act of eating food is not necessarily related. Even us skinny people eat food. Even us well-balanced, non-addictive and physically healthy people drink wine.
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