I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
You owe no greeting cards, no gifts. You’re not particularly expected in church, synagogue, mosque, lodge hall, etc.
You can stuff yourself silly, drink too much wine, then pass out in front of the TV, opening an occasional eye to check the score.
By the time you wake up, if you’re lucky, somebody nicer than you has done the dishes.
And by dark it’s time for that annual turkey/stuffing/cranberry sauce on white bread sandwich, since there’s nothing like a big meal to make you hungry later.
Finally, if the cook has planned properly, you have a few days of some of the world’s finest indulgences — leftovers.
Are you feeling thankful yet?
Good. Now let’s get to the wine/food pairings. These are easy too, because with so many flavors on the table, any wine you serve is bound to go with something.
Modestly priced wines work well here, because the culinary chaos on the table diffuses the attention paid to them. Save the expensive bottles for the showier year-end holidays. Besides, you’ll need several bottles to go with so many flavors serving that table full of relatives, from your significant other to Uncle Percy to that third cousin who’s twice removed and still too close for comfort.
First, welcome guests at the door with something bubbly — Champagne, sparkling wine, cava or prosecco. It’s a nice personal touch.
Keep pouring the bubbly during the hors d’oeuvres hour while the smell of roasting turkey is driving everybody crazy. It’s too soon to fill up on heavier wines.
When the meal is served, you can avoid hard decisions of what wines go with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, glazed carrots, roasted squash, that green bean casserole from the soup can recipe, corn bread, Waldorf salad and stuffed onions with a simple maneuver. Serve a couple of whites and a couple of reds and let the diners make their own choices.
Because the meal has so many flavors, I like blends for both white and red wines. Plus that bridge between white and red wines called rosé.
When the pumpkin and pecan pies arrive, surprise your guests with a succulent and powerful red port. Serve in tiny glasses to prevent overload.
Oh, and for that post-game leftover turkey sandwich slathered with mayo because the bird is dried out by then, I’d serve a friendly, unthreatening shiraz.
By then, the groaning board has become the guests’ groaning tummies, and your duty is done. Happy Thanksgiving!
▪ Nonvintage Scharffenberger Cellars “Excellence” Brut Rosé sparkling wine (57 percent pinot noir, 43 percent chardonnay): fine bubbles, lush and fruity, with aromas and flavors of strawberries and red raspberries; $23.
▪ 2013 Oomoo South Australia Shiraz, McLaren Vale, South Australia: hint of oak, aromas and flavors of black raspberries and mocha, soft and mellow; $15.
▪ W&J Graham’s 10-Year-Old Tawny Port, Portugal: amber hue, fairly dry, aromas and flavors of dried plums and nuts, warm and mellow; $35.
▪ 2013 Tie Dye Red Blend, North Coast, California (25 percent syrah, 21 percent barbera, 15 percent merlot, 13 percent tempranillo, 11 percent pinot noir, 11 percent cabernet sauvignon, 4 percent petite sirah): aromas and flavors of black cherries and blueberries, soft and smooth; $19.
▪ 2014 Stoller Family Estate Pinot Noir Rosé, Dundee Hills, Oregon: pale ruby hue, floral aromas, flavors of red raspberries, crisp acid, long finish; $25.
▪ 2014 Ad Lib “Hen and Chicken” Chardonnay, Western Australia: pale golden hue, hint of oak, crisp and lively, flavors of ripe pears; $17.
▪ Nonvintage Dark Horse “Big Red Blend” (tempranillo, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, merlot, malbec, petit verdot; California, Argentina and Spain): dark hue, hint of oak, big, mellow flavors of black plums, coffee and cinnamon, soft and smooth; $10.
▪ 2014 Parker Station Pinot Noir, Central Coast, California (100 percent pinot noir): light and lively, with aromas and flavors of strawberries, raspberries and spice, soft tannins; $15.
▪ 2014 Trivento “Amado Sur” Chardonnay white blend, Mendoza, Argentina (chardonnay, pinot grigio, viognier): pale yellow hue, aromas and flavors of mangoes and peaches, crisp; $15.
▪ 2014 McManis Family Vineyard Zinfandel, Ripon, California (100 percent zinfandel): rich and hearty, with aromas and flavors of strawberries and red raspberries, soft and sweet; $11.
▪ 2012 Tom Gore Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, California (91 percent cabernet sauvignon, 6 percent merlot, 2 percent malbec, 1 percent petit verdot): ruby hue, aromas and flavors of black plums and espresso; smooth and ripe; $15.
Fred Tasker: firstname.lastname@example.org