Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Day Wine: Discover Through Variety (NW)

Food and wine pairing has evolved dramatically over the years. Sure there are still certain wines that go well with certain foods. However, with the amazing availability of great food and fine wine today, many new pairings are being discovered in kitchens and dining rooms around the world. And Thanksgiving Day is a nice opportunity to discover new pairings. Let me explain.

The most fun I've had with wine on Thanksgiving has been opening several different types of wine at the same time and deciding as I go which to drink. This can be done without breaking the bank, too. If a special wine hasn't been chosen, take the opportunity to open several different, inexpensive wines. Trust me, this will contribute to the festive atmosphere. Even if someone is providing a highly-prized wine for the main meal, there is no reason other bottles can't be opened and enjoyed with snacks, appetizers, and desserts.

Last year, we opened two nice wines for the main meal: an Oregon Pinot Noir and a Washington State Riesling. It was interesting to see how the wines paired with traditional turkey and all the trimmings and side dishes. The Pinot Noir was good but too exotic to go with the food, so most votes went for the Riesling. We also had some bubbly and a nice bottle of Chateau D'Yquem Sauternes. The wines really helped to make the meal special.

I'm not a big fan of picking one wine for a big ocassion and drinking bottle after bottle of it. I think that variety can enhance the ocassion. If you've been to big dinner functions lately like charitable events, corporate black tie affairs, or even wedding receptions, you've probably noticed that multiple wines are poured. At the very least, you'll see one red and one white being offered with the stemware pre-set for both. Many guests will ask for both to be poured when the servers come around. Try this and you may be pleasantly surprised with how the wines interact with the various courses of the meal. Thanksgiving provides this opportunity, so if you're still undecided about what your wine selection should be, open two or more and be thankful for all of the wonderful wine choices we have in the world today! Raise a glass!

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