The common question with any event that includes a large meal is White or Red? The good news with Thanksgiving is that the answer is White AND Red!
Thanksgiving dinner is one of those spectacularly indulgent meals that incorporates many different rich, creamy, savoury and sweet flavours, which allows us to pair with many different wines. Although two stand out as front runners for this holiday tradition: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Both of these grapes traditionally originate from the Burgundy region in France, showing themselves as stunning single varietals, however there are many New World wine regions producing absolutely beautiful examples of both of these grapes.
Chardonnay has a wonderful rich and complex palate that shows beautiful fruit flavours ranging from fresh green apple and citrus, to riper tropical notes of pineapple and mango. Chardonnay is one of those incredibly diverse grapes that can show as a crisp, clean style to a richer, creamier malolactic style, showing flavours of butter, popcorn or yoghurt. Chardonnay can be done as a stainless-steel varietal, showcasing it's complex fruit and mineral components, or you can combine that with various combinations of oak, creating a layered palate of some baked flavours and vanilla to the wine. Needless to say, this King of the white grapes, can stand up to any number of dishes, including a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings. Think mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing with sausage, cranberries and apples (my family's personal fave), buttered peas and corn and the star of the meal, the turkey.
Now, though Chardonnay is quite the perfect pairing for this holiday meal, Pinot Noir is an equally talented player! One of the lightest red grape varietals, Pinot Noir, with it's subtle tannins, earthiness and beautiful red fruit flavours (cranberry, raspberry, plum, cherry), also pairs perfectly with this flavour bomb of a meal. Pinot Noir, like Chardonnay, can come in a variety of styles, from the riper styles of California, to the more elegant styles of Niagara and Burgundy, any of these would pair wonderfully with this meal.
So now the only question is, which one will you pour with your Thanksgiving meal?