What wine goes with Thanksgiving turkey?
First, as I always say, greet your guests at the door with a welcoming glass of bubbly. It’ll give shy Uncle Herman something to do with his hands.
Now for the turkey: If you make the most traditional recipe, stuffing the bird with carrots, celery and onions, basting it with butter, scenting it with rosemary and thyme, then a nice, rich California chardonnay could be just the thing.
If you make a spicy Cajun bird, with cayenne, garlic, allspice, sweet paprika, oregano, black pepper and such, a super-fruity Beaujolais might do the trick.
That’s the thing about turkey: It’s so amenable to added flavors you might as well roast a chameleon.
Beyond that, of course, your wine must go with the stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, candied yams, brussels sprouts, cranberries, even parsnips.
What to do? Give everybody two glasses, set out several wines and let your guests make the hard choices. Abundance is what the holiday is all about.
For the most part, you want rich and hearty wines to match the many flavors. Viognier and riesling among the whites, zinfandels and even lambruscos among the reds.
Or you could pair the wines by contrast, pouring tart sauvignon blancs or a powerful cabernet sauvignon.
For your beer-loving friends, you could even serve the brew of the season — a pumpkin-flavored ale.
And, since the theme of this meal is variety, you might even serve that up-and-coming beverage: hard cider.
Mix it up. Give everybody a chance to try a couple of new food-wine pairings.
▪ 2012 Matanzas Creek Winery Chardonnay, Sonoma County: full-bodied and rich, with aromas and flavors of ripe peaches and tropical fruit; $26.
▪ 2012 Landmark Vineyards “Overlook” Pinot Noir, San Luis Obispo, Sonoma, Monterey counties: hint of oak, crisp and lively, aromas and flavors of sweet cherries and espresso, ripe tannins; $25.
▪ 2012 Pedroncelli Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley: spicy, rich and hearty, with red raspberry and chocolate aromas and flavors; $20.
▪ 2013 Trione Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Trione River Road Ranch, Russian River Valley: hint of oak, aromas and flavors of oranges and apricots, rich and smooth; $23.
▪ Samuel Adams Harvest Pumpkin Ale: brewed with pumpkin and deeply roasted malts, this amber ale tastes like roasted pumpkins; $8 to $10 per six pack.
▪ 2013 McManis Family Vineyards Syrah, California: rich, hearty and smooth, with aromas and flavors of black plums and cinnamon, ripe tannins; $10.
▪ Nonvintage Anna de Codorniu Brut Cava sparkling wine, Penedés (70 percent chardonnay, 30 percent parellada): lots of active bubbles, aromas and flavors of tropical fruits and citrus; $15.
▪ Angry Orchard Cinnful Apple Hard Cider: sweet-tart and spicy, cinnamon, crisp and lively; $8 to $10 per six pack.
▪ 2013 “Premium Vecchia Modena” Lambrusco di Sorbara DOC red wine, Italy: very lightly sweet, with aromas and flavors of strawberries and blueberries, soft and lush; $15.
▪ 2012 Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County (cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah, merlot): hint of oak, aromas and flavors of black raspberries and espresso, firm tannins; $20.