Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving Dinner or you’re traveling, wine can play a major role in your holiday.
If you’re hosting a house full of family, in-laws and friends, your Thanksgiving Day wine experience likely begins with the Macy’s Parade and ends with the last man standing. If you’re on somebody’s Thanksgiving guest list, chances are you’re on the hook for a covered dish or a bottle of wine.
Even if you’re “that guy” who shows up empty-handed, think about stepping up and contributing a bottle of wine to the party. It’s not just the “classy” thing to do, it also ensures you’ll have the perfect companion beverage to your turkey and cranberry sauce.
The Thanksgiving Day hosts extend their hospitality to you on Thanksgiving Day.
When you’re invited, ask them if they have a favorite type of wine they would like you to bring. If they answer definitively with a varietal or appellation, you have your Thanksgiving Day marching orders. If you’re not sure what type of wine they’re talking about, just ask your local wine merchant; they will point you in the right direction.
What if your host keeps things open-ended or does not like wine? This is your excuse to go out and buy a bottle of your favorite. So what if it is a bit self-serving, in the end you are a better houseguest for it.
If you happen to be hosting Thanksgiving, make sure you’re pairing the ideal wine with your picture-perfect turkey.
The most important rule of Thanksgiving wine pairing, for the host, is finding your ideal “cooking wine.” Cooking wine is what takes the edge off a house full of people and a demanding bird in the oven. Make sure this wine is your personal favorite and reserved for you only. Indulge a little bit. After all, aren’t you thankful for a good grape harvest?
At turkey time, make sure you have a bottle of red wine and a bottle of white wine on the table.
Even if you have a house full of beer drinkers, consider urging everyone to pair a glass of wine with their dinner. Aside from being less filling than beer, wine brings out the best flavors (or hides flaws) in your meal.
If you’ve prepared a savory Better Homes and Garden-worthy turkey, pair a dry Pinot Grigio to showcase your white meat. Its crisp texture and light tropical fruit notes will compliment your perfectly seasoned breast meat. For dark meat lovers, nothing short of a vintage Cabernet’s tart notes. A Cabernet will compliment the rich texture of wings and drumsticks.
For those of us whose turkeys are hit-or-miss, a bold Merlot and an oaked Chardonnay are the perfect partners in crime. Their robust flavors aid in the intake of dry turkey meat. They also add a nice compliment to the gravy needed to mask any kitchen nightmares.
As always, the great staff at Island Winery is always willing to help you pick out your holiday wine.
Of course, our Cranberry wine is a must-have on all Thanksgiving tables. It has been known to convert even the most die-hard beer drinker into a wine lover!
By Georgene Mortimer, Island Winery
Store/Tasting hours at Island Winery are Monday-Saturday, 12:30-5:30 p.m. 12A Cardinal Road. 843-842-3141 or www.islandwinery.com.