Wine With Thanksgiving Dinner

The Pilgrims held the first Thanksgiving Day in February 1621 to celebrate their first successful harvest season. Thanksgiving signifies family, food, drink, fun, history, and tradition, all wrapped up into one mid-week day.

My “cooking tip” will guarantee a golden brown turkey, which will be the envy of all sitting around the dinner table. Take a bottle of red sweet vermouth and pour two glasses. (Hint: the first glass is for the chef.) Now, take a clean paintbrush and using the second glass of vermouth, paint the entire turkey—legs, wings, top, bottom, and so forth. Place the turkey into the oven and every half-hour or so repeat this important step. When the turkey is finished cooking, the color will amaze everyone.

Turkey is inherently dry (especially when overcooked) unless brined or basted. Before I recommend a few wines, let’s give some thought to what we often spread over or eat with pieces of turkey. I hope that you said cranberry sauce! Now cranberry sauce is sweet and inherently tart, offering moisture, flavor and a berry character to the turkey. Therefore, we want to pair turkey with dry or even off-dry wines, providing they have plenty of fruit.

My wine suggestions for Thanksgiving are:


2013 La Scolca Gavi, Italy: Bursting with fruit, lemon, green apple, almonds, peaches, and pears.

2013 Standing Stone Riesling, N.Y. State: Perfumed, flowery aroma of peaches, apricots, and green apple. Quite dry, with plenty of acidity to balance the high fruit.

2013 Rutini Encuentro Chardonnay, Argentina: Concentrated tropical fruit flavors; crisp acidity, oaky, layers of vanilla, and honey.

2012 Moreau Grand Cru Chablis “Valmur, France: Bouquet and flavor of ripe peaches, orange-oil, nutmeg, spices, and vanilla. Very crispy with a wonderful and long aftertaste.

Red & Rosé

2013 Jaboulet Parallèle “45,” Rosé, France: Perfumed aroma of a fruit salad; wild berries, candy-apples. Light-bodied with a zesty aftertaste.

2012 Hansen Grunner Pinot Noir, California: Aroma and flavor of dark berries, toasted vanilla, crushed cranberries, and plenty of spice. Very soft and elegant.

2012 Melini Chianti “Borghi d’Elsa,” Italy: Cherry color; dry, loaded with wild cherries, licorice, and plum flavors.

2010 Tenuta Santa Maria alla Piave Ripasso, Italy. Aromas of cherry, blueberry, licorice, and cinnamon. Dry with layers of dark, dried fruit (plums, raisins).

2011 G. Washington Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, California: Bouquet and flavor of dark cherries, black currants, and blackberries with chocolate and espresso notes.

2012 Black Bear Red Chair Petite Sirah, California: Deep dark rich color. Bouquet of crushed blueberries, vanilla, dark berries, spices, and cola.

Well, there you have it…wines to satisfy even the hungriest, most discriminating guest. Just be certain to save room for another slice of pumpkin pie.

Bob Lipinski, Executive Director of High Impact Business Solutions and author of nine books, writes, consults, and conducts training seminars on many subjects. He can be reached at OR




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