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What Wine Should I Serve With Turkey?


Turkey is the cornerstone to every Thanksgiving, but often it's the spread around the turkey that makes a memorable meal. And let's face it, whether you're serving family or friends, alcohol can make it especially memorable, as well as forgettable where it needs to be.

Everybody seems to know something about wine since we've become a food obsessed culture. We've moved from a 90's obsession with luxury items to the current obsession with gourmet items, but that's for another post.


I know very little about wine, but I appreciate a good glass, even if I can't detect a subtle mix of clove and blackberry. Wondering if others might be scratching their heads over wines for Thanksgiving, I contacted Sara Hanson, a close friend and wine buff. She's also the food and beverage manager at The Pearl , a hip new boutique hotel and restaurant in Point Loma. I asked her what her current favorite wines are for pairing with a turkey dinner. Sara sent me the following email to share with Culture Lust readers:

Here's what I would suggest...

For a good time call: Beaujolais Nouveau!

Beaujolais Nouveau is a very young wine grown from the Gamay grape in the Beaujolais region of Burgundy. This wine is released annually on the third Thursday of every November. Beaujolais Nouveau is fun and whimsical--full of acidity and bright fruit. It is perfectly and traditionally paired with Thanksgiving dinner. This wine is not meant to be aged or savored. As Kermit Lynch says, "Beaujolais should not be a civilized society lady; it is the one night stand of wines." Kermit Lynch actually puts out a good one that does not break the bank, by any means. For this sort of libertine consumption, however, I'd go straight for the commercial Georges Duboeuf --it's a rite of passage and it's practically free.

For a sparkling time call: Duval Leroy Champagne Rose de Saignee


I find rose champagnes are versatile enough to meet the wide range of Thanksgiving flavors, from savory to sweet. It's also the perfect starter (gets you through the laborious turkey carving, if you know what I mean). The Duval Leroy leans towards yeast and grains, but is equally matched with delicate fruit.

For a more sophisticated evening: 2006 Adelsheim Pinot Noir Willamette Valley

One of my favorite Oregon Pinot producers is Adelsheim. It might be hard to track down, but this classy, Burgundian-influenced Pinot is worth it. Refined texture, layers of plum and good acidity--it is sure to be a crowning compliment to the bird. Adelsheim consistently gets good ratings and national recognition. Affordable, yet impressive, this wine runs about $30.

Crossing the finish line: 2006 Inniskillin Vidal Icewine

A Canadian dream is what this is...the vidal grapes are naturally frozen on the vine and picked at the climax of Niagra's cold winter when the temperature drops below 10 C. Only a few drops of juice can be extracted from each grape, which is why it's a little pricey. But trust me -- "money-schmoney" will be the first words out of your mouth once you take a sip of this sweet nectar. Peach, apricot, honey and pineapple. Try it with your pumpkin pie and you wont be sorry....opposites attract!