Thanksgiving dinner is one of the more difficult meals to pair a single wine with. From the hors d’oeuvres that you nibble as the rest of the family slowly makes its way to the house, to the roasted turkey (which itself wouldn’t be too much of a headache, blank canvas as it is), to the more troublesome sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and stuffing, tomorrow night’s meal is enough to challenge even the most wine-versed among us.
Which is why you shouldn’t worry about sticking with one wine. Keep your options open, mix and match throughout the meal, and see what works best. Personally, I always have a bottle of bubbly on the table, as well as crisp whites (both dry and a bit sweeter), an aromatically bright red (try Pinot Noir or Beaujolais-Villages), and something for dessert. Below are three wines I’ve tasted in the past week that would work beautifully.
Gini Soave Classico 2009
There’s a distinctively crisp, clean, mineral-driven nose here, with flecks of dried apricot and spice at the edges; it’s a fantastic counter to anyone who says that Soave can’t have a sense of purpose and real complexity. On the palate, it shows zippy peppercorn flavors wrapped around ripe lemon and orange, preserved lemon peel, and something approaching acacia. For all this linearity, however, this is a Soave that should not be drunk too cold: You want to experience it in 360 degrees, and this one has more than enough character to shine at cellar temperature.
Rocca Sveva Soave Classico 2008
This is a totally different expression of Soave: Waxy and nutty, with lots of cream and perfumed flowers. It reminds me, in a lot of ways, of a white Rhone, especially considering the density of the aromas. The nuts and cream continue through to the palate, where they take on a slippery, almost glycerine texture that gives this wine remarkable weight and presence. The minerality and lemon notes are still here, as are loads of apple and a hint of something near persimmon. Totally different, completely unexpected, and thoroughly delicious.
Inniskillin Vidal Icewine 2007
It’s clear that this is a very special wine from the moment you pour it into the glass: The rich gold tone is the first thing you notice, but then the aroma lifts out of the bowl and intrigues with its scents of dried pineapple, caramelized apple, candied orange peel, and the slightest flutter of flowers. These fan out on the palate and are complicated by flavors of super-fresh pineapple, grilled white peach, mulling spices, and spun sugar. It’s a rich wine, like the best sweet ones are, but never heavy or plodding: There’s a strain of acidity keeping it bright and maintaining a sense of linearity from attack through finish, which itself lingers on with more tropical fruit, flowers, and mouthwatering brightness. Wonderful intensity and balance, and never too sweet: What a great way to end Thanksgiving dinner.