Thanksgiving Wines


Thanksgiving Wines 

Selecting a great Thanksgiving wine doesn’t have to be a source of stress and it doesn’t have to break the bank.  There are a lot of different flavors and textures on your Thanksgiving plate, so you really want a “bridge” wine that will harmoniously blend and stand up to the cornucopia of goodness on your holiday table.  Your wine selection should be a vinous highlighter working in concert with every dish, not competing for top billing!  Consider starting your festivities with a sparkling wine as an aperitif and then opt for a white and a red selection for your main course and let your guests decide what pairing they enjoy the most.

White Wines: In general, when it comes to selecting versatile Thanksgiving wines, look for a white wine with mouthwatering acidity like an off-dry Riesling from Germany, an Alsatian Gewürztraminer or an unoaked Chardonnay to cut right through the gravy and cream sauces. If you typically prefer a heavier, oaky and buttery Chardonnay, it will overpower your meal.  A moderately oaked Chardonnay with vibrant acidity will be the better option with this meal. A floral and aromatic Viognier or dry to off-dry Petit Manseng can also work wonders with your Thanksgiving Feast.

Red Wines: When it comes to red, opt for a fruit-forward wine like a Pinot Noir or Beaujolais with vibrant acidity and moderate tannins.  Keep in mind, turkey is a blank canvas and is pretty lean, so something too tannic will compete against the food.  A Cabernet Franc can be a nice option too, with its typical notes of raspberry, violet and sage. This can work wonders with a sausage, sage & cranberry stuffing. Cabernet Franc is considered the Pinot Noir of Bordeaux and Virginia is producing some exceptional bottles of this varietal.  A dry rosé or off-dry rosé is also another excellent option, it’s approachable and versatile with good acidity and it tends to please both white and red wine drinkers at your table.

Episode 9: Claude Thibaut, Thibaut-Jannison

Claude ThibautChampagne Master Claude Thibaut of Thibaut-Jannison dropped by the WCHV studios to talk about sparkling wine production in Virginia. Born and raised in the vineyards of Champagne, Claude shares his winemaking journey from France to California to Virginia. Often referred to as the king of sparkling wine in the Commonwealth, Claude discusses what it’s like to produce bubbly in Virginia. We also breakdown the complicated sweetness scale of sparkling wine, discuss non-vintage sparkling and perfect pairings with the Thibaut-Jannison Blanc de Chardonnay. Plus, Claude shares his first wine experience with us! Enjoy the show!

Super Bowl Bubbles

Beer may be the beverage of choice at many Super Bowl parties, but I wouldn’t rule out bubbles for the big game.  Believe me, the ladies will be more than thankful!  Sparkling wines are versatile, boast nice acidity and help cleanse the palate. They add a touch of class to bar food and work great with everything from chips to buffalo wings to crab dip.

Since we are celebrating an American past time, here’s a list of my top 5 American sparkling wines under $35:

  1. Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs, Napa, California ($32)
  2. Thibaut-Jannison Blanc de Chardonnay, Charlotteville, Virginia ($28)
  3. Trump Blanc de Blanc, Charlottesville, Virginia ($25)
  4. Gruet Brut, New Mexico ($16)
  5. Gloria Ferrer Brut, Sonoma, California  ($20)

There are also some great still wines that make perfect pairings with your favorite pigskin treats. Here are a few ideas that I hope will help inspire your game day menu!

  • Guacamole – Pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc and if you like it extra spicy try a Riesling instead.  A dry sparkling would also do the trick!  Check out the Kim Crawford or Ponga Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand for under $15.
  • Crab & Artichoke Dip – This creamy delight calls for a wine with high acidity and crisp finish like a Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.  An unoaked Chardonnay would also work well. Check out the Chatham Vineyards Church Creek Steel Chardonnay from the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  The Hendry Pinot Gris and the Tiamo Pinot Grigio are budget friendly wines under $15.
  • Hot Wings – I love adding a little class to bar food by pairing hot wings with a nice sparkling wine like Brut Champagne. If you’re looking for a budget friendly alternative, check out a Cava from Spain. The Dibon Cava & Rondell are both nice party wines under $10.
  • Chili – I will admit Chili has to be one of the hardest dishes on the planet to pair with wine.  If the chili has a nice balance with a rustic depth of flavor not too much heat, a big, bold, jammy Zin would be a nice choice.  If you’re going for the knock your socks off kind of heat that will make a grown man cry, you may want to stick with an ice cold beer!
  • Potato Chips & Dip – I love the way a nice sparkling balances the saltiness of the chips. This is a must try!
  • Short Rib Sliders w/Bacon Bleu Slaw – This has to be one of my all time favorite guilty pleasures and game time treats.  This hearty crowd pleaser calls for a big bold Zinfandel. I really like the Sobon Estate Fiddletown Zinfandel and the Predator Zinfandel for budget friendly options. A nice meaty Syrah would also be a nice match.
  • Meat Lovers Pizza – There are many options for a hearty pizza including a Zinfandel, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Barbera, Chianti or a Vino Nobile.
  • Prosciutto wrapped asparagus w/balsamic glaze – Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.