Wines to Dine With

Local experts share their selections for worry-free wine options this Thanksgiving


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With so many tastes making their appearance on your Thanksgiving table, choosing the wine to complement your menu may seem like a challenge. But we’ll let you in on a secret: There are no rules when it comes to picking the right one. “If you like it, buy it,” says Tim Gonzales, co-director of the tasting room at Millbrook Vineyards and Winery. “Start with the styles of wine you like, and build from there.” 

You can, however, select wines that will enhance the feast. Here’s what the experts are suggesting this November:

Begin with a sparkler. “I love a sparkling wine for Thanksgiving,” says Bob Barrow, winemaker at Brotherhood Winery in Washingtonville. “It is always refreshing and palate cleansing, leaving you ready for more food.” Debbie Gioquindo, CSW, aka “The Hudson Valley Wine Goddess,” says your sparkler doesn’t have to be expensive. She recommends a Spanish Cava, Prosecco or Grower Champagne.

Experts also recommend a rosé for the table. Though typically thought of as a summer wine, it’s a versatile year-round option that complements the diverse flavors of a Thanksgiving meal, and is eye-appealing in the glass. But if you are looking for a red, Ben and Kimberly Peacock of Tousey Winery in Germantown think Pinot Noir is your perfect pour. The medium-bodied fruit and bright acidity makes it easy to pair with many different dishes, while the earthiness brings out the best of the gravy, stuffing, and turkey.

“Another favorite is a sparkling Lambrusco from the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy,” says Peter Yi, the owner of Twin Star Orchards in New Paltz. “The red sparkling wine is medium-bodied, smooth, and fruity. It can stand up to most flavors with a smile, plus it’s inexpensive and super easy to drink. Try producers such as Lini, Cleto Chiarli or Cavicchioli.”

And after dinner? Try a late harvest Riesling. “A dessert wine should be as sweet, or sweeter than dessert, so it isn’t overpowered by the food,” says Gonzales.  


Serving Wine 101
Tips from “The Hudson Valley Wine Goddess,” Debbie Gioquindo, CSW

  • The worst thing you can do is run out. Plan one bottle per two drinkers. Extras can be sent home with the leftovers or enjoyed later during the holidays.
  • Prep your pours appropriately. Remove white wine from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before dinner is served. You won’t get the full effect of the taste and aroma of the wine if it’s too cold. Around the same time, pop the cork on the red wine so it breathes a little before you sit down to eat.
  • Place the bottles on the table so guests can try what they want.
  • Use smaller glasses for dessert wines, which are more concentrated and tend to be higher in alcohol content.
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