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What Wines Go Well With Turkey? White Plains Expert Offers Advice

Every November, just before Thanksgiving, the new wine from Beaujolais is released.
Every November, just before Thanksgiving, the new wine from Beaujolais is released. Photo Credit: Courtesy photo

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Good wine can make up for dry turkey. So says Stu Levine, the owner of VINO 100 on Mamaroneck Avenue.

In fact, he says, Thanksgiving may very well be the number one wine holiday -- and for good reason. Aside from being the "feasts of all feasts," there's also, at least in some families, a little discord. In other words, said Levine, "You  know you really need that extra glass of wine if you’re going to have Uncle Hank sitting with your third cousin twice removed who's still reeling from that drumstick incident three years ago."

But we digress. Here, some pointers for matching the right vintage to your meal.

  • For those serving a tart, fruity sauce, look for a lighter to medium-bodied wine like pinot noir. Versions from California, Oregon or New York are good choices or go with the always popular Beaujolais nouveau. "Every November, just before Thanksgiving, the new wine from Beaujolais is released to great fanfare," said Levine. "Try to seek out some new labels that you haven’t seen before." As for whites, German or New York Finger Lakes area rieslings work extremely well.
  • For those hoping to match their meal to earthier flavors, try France's Cotes du Rhone, or it’s big brother Chateauneuf du Pape. "Bordeaux can also be good, but if it is too young it may be a bit tannic and out of balance with the lower-fat and drier white meat," says Levine who advises sticking with merlot-based wines like a St. Emilion. White Burgundy is a great white choice. A nice poully-fuisse (that won't overpower the food) is another option and can found for under $20. For something a little more exotic try a white crozes-hermitage from the northern Rhone Valley. This blend of roussane and marsanne grapes will work nicely.
  • Another goes-well-with-everything option is a sparkling wine. Prosecco, for example, contains the acidity and lighter-body that matches well with different foods, explains Levine. Classic Champagne or sparkling chenin blanc from the Loire Valley are also great choices.
  • Most importantly drink what you and your family enjoy, he said. Don’t simply match with what is recommended. Added Levine: "Trying to do what seems 'proper' may only cause you grief in the end if you end up spending money on wine you don’t like." Plus, dare we say, it could start a drumstick incident.

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