You really don't. If you are struggling to pair the "correct" wine with your Thanksgiving Dinner, you are maybe missing the point of Thanksgiving. And perhaps also the point of wine. Please allow me to explain...
There is a deluge of Thanksgiving wine pairing articles are easy to write and easy to read, but the sheer number of them can make you think that pairing wine with your Thanksgiving table is somehow difficult. It isn't. It might not even be that important.
Thanksgiving is at its core a harvest celebration. We give thanks for the bountiful crops of the summer and prepare for the lean times of winter. The table abounds with a overabundance of meat, vegetables, and more. And that is what makes the concept of wine pairing with it so irrational.
Precision wine pairing - finding the perfect pairing - is simply not relevant during a celebratory feast. For most of us, the Thanksgiving meal isn't a crisp progression of courses. It is a delicious free-for-all of flavors, family, friends, and probably football. There are too many flavors in play, making a mouthwatering mingle of meat and vegetables.
Plus the flavors are relatively nondescript. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, corn, noodles, pumpkin pie! These are some of the most versatile wine pairing foods in the world. At most, you'll get a splash of sweet acidity in the cranberries and dark savory in the dark meat of the Turkey. The neutrality of most of these flavors make wine pairing a cinch!
Love sweet white Riesling? That will pair with Thanksgiving.
Love aged French Bordeaux? That will pair with Thanksgiving.
Love explosively fruity Shiraz or Zinfandel? That will pair with Thanksgiving.
The dirty secret is that almost anything will. Better yet? You can have all of the above at the same time. If you enjoy a wine, you will enjoy it at your Thanksgiving Table. But do not forget why you have gathered.
Celebrate the abundance of the harvest. We have never had more choices. The world of wine comes to our wine shops in a diversity that the kings of a few decades ago could never have experienced.
Time is fleeting. Life is fleeting. Family is fleeting.
Eat and drink and laugh and love with Thanksgiving. Just don't stress out about the "perfect pairing."
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