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Don’t Whine about Thanksgiving, Get Some Advice about Thanksgiving Wine

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Longtime readers (oh, the faithful, I thank you) may notice a change to the layout of Stay at Stove Dad. I’ve freshened the design and made it mobile friendly, so I hope it’s easier to use. One thing that hasn't changed, however, is an awareness of my limits as a father. My darlings Nina and Pinta remind me every day! So when it came to picking wines for the big Thanksgiving holiday, I knew enough to ask around. I checked with my friend W. R. Tish, a father of two and a certified wine expert, for some advice this year. Here’s what he has to share. I found it very reassuring. Happy drinking!

Here’s to Thanksgiving, Our National Wine Holiday

With Turkey Day fast approaching, a chorus of call-outs can be found all over the Web, and in stores, on TV… for wines that belong on the Thanksgiving table. Lucky for us: It’s all pretty good. 

Yes. Most all of the heapin’ helpings of T-giving wine recommendations bobbing to the surface of the Great Wine Sea are in fact excellent. 

Without fancy 90-point numbers, with critics and consumers alike recognize that the Thanksgiving spread, whether classic or modern, is an exercise in controlled food chaos (stuffing and yams and cranberries — oh my!). And for the most part, wine advice has followed suit. Merchants and writers are promoting flexible strategies and relative abandon. 

Perhaps more ironically than ever in this politically haywire year, the unifying force behind Thanksgiving wine is… Diversity.

You’ve got your bubblies and rosés and Rieslings. You can pick a Pinot or three—Noir, Gris, even Grigio. Chenin? Sure. Chinon. Double-sure.

Then there’s Bojo (as in Beaujolais, Nouveau or Cru) and Chardo (as in Chardonnay—steely or oaky okay).

And Gee-whats-her-name-er. Yes, Thanksgiving is the holiday where if you bring Gewürztraminer, someone will cheer.

Plus reds galore to be poured without fear: Zin, Syrah, Shiraz, Grenache, Tempranillo…heck, you can even unscrew a Merlot without flinching.

I do believe we’ve reached a tipping point. People get it: Thanksgiving is open season, a solid green light to drink whatever you want—and/or to experiment. Think about it: what really does not go with Thanksgiving’s peaceful riot of flavors? 

Actually, there are some red-wine flags. You can leave your trophy Napa Cabs in the cellar, I’d say. And heavy Italian reds.  What else doesn’t fit… wines from Turkey? Butterball Vineyards? If it’s grape-based and fermented, there’s probably room for it at the Thanksgiving table circa 2016.

All things considered, I think the time has come to declare Thanksgiving America’s wine holiday. Time to put the Fruit of the Vine right up there with turkeys and pumpkins and pigskins. Let’s make it an annual cork-popping celebration of good taste, of course, but even more importantly, of Diversity.

Tish’s 2009 T-giving Top 10

Here are some perennial greatest hits from T-giving at my house, where we have had anywhere from 12 to 20 guests:

            ◦           Beaujolais Cru. Bojo Nouveau is feeling sooooo 20th century. Go for the real deal. Morgan, Fleurie, Moulin-à-Ven

            ◦           Off-dry Riesling. A fruity foil to sweet and tart and gamey flavors alike; and pleases Aunt Tillie from the get-go.

            ◦           Rosé. Because everyone’s drinking it. And it does flatter turkey.

            ◦           Pinot Noir. This is the one wine that is splurge-worthy.

            ◦           Bordeaux. Humble Bordeaux, that is. Nothin’ fancy.

            ◦           Rioja Reserva. Like BDX, a quiet crowd-pleaser, and worth stepping up to the Reserva level.

            ◦           Buttery Chardonnay. Never fails to keep someone happy.

            ◦           P-X. Nothing says hola! to pecan/pumpkin pies like Pedro-Ximenez.

  1. W. R. Tish is the Managing Editor of Beverage Media, and develops wine tastings via his website wineforall.com. Follow him on twitter @tishwine
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