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A Sommelier’s Guide to Thanksgiving Dinner Food + Wine Pairings

It’s time to celebrate the abundance of the harvest in Nova Scotia! Saturday morning farmer’s market shopping is the absolute best this time of year. Vendor’s tables are simply overflowing with a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables and I always want one of everything. 

The harvest bounty is reflected on the Thanksgiving table, too, where you will find a sampling of all the local vegetables, variously prepared, and tantalizing the senses with aromas of intensely fragrant herbs and spices.  Of course, the star of the show is usually that perfectly cooked (fingers crossed!) Turkey.    

When plates are overflowing with so many sides, and maybe even multiple main dishes, with a range of flavours, aromas and textures, where does one start when it comes to pairing a wine to the Thanksgiving meal? 

Sparkling Wines:

Try to pick wines that compliment a broad range of food, rather than focusing on individual flavours of single dishes. Because the Thanksgiving meal prep is a long, drawn-out and typically communal affair, you’ll definitely want to have something open to sip on during that process. Here’s where the bubbles come in handy!

Open some sparkling wine to set the festive mood and make the meal prep more fun. Some people may want to stick with the sparkling wine for the entire meal and a Nova Scotian sparkling wine is the logical choice for a local harvest feast.    

Red and White Wines:

If you have a crowd of wine geeks who love the opportunity to sample a few different wines and styles with others, you may want to open a few different styles of wine that can be sampled throughout the meal. Nothing wrong with keeping it simple to one white and one red though.  

For whites, you can’t go wrong with aromatic wines like Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc; the aromas can stand up to the fragrant herbs and spices of the meal, plus they offer concentration on the palate while still being light on their feet. The refreshing, cleansing acidity that characterizes these grape varietals counterbalances the overall richness of the meal. 

For reds, look for light bodied and unoaked, fresh fruit-driven wines with low tannin. Wines made from Gamay (Beaujolais) and Pinot Noir are very traditional choices, as they are packed with juicy primary fruit and offer refreshing acidity without overwhelming the range of food flavours.  Alternatively, a red fruit dominant and spicy Grenache, Grenache blend, or Tempranillo would work well, as would the always food0friendly Italian reds like Barbera, Dolcetto and a softer style Sangiovese. 

Think Pink

If you can’t decide between white and red, the obvious choice is rosé.  Most rosé wines quietly blend in nicely and fit just about any meal, any time of year.  Thankfully, the wine community has realized that rosé is not just for summer anymore and these wines are available year round, with lots of styles to choose from from local and international producers.   

Looking to save a few dollars? We currently have a selection of rose on sale that will pair perfectly with this weekend. 

As you can see, there are just about as many wines that could be enjoyed with Thanksgiving dinner, as there are sides and mains on the table! Ultimately, you want to like the wine you are drinking, so let your personal taste guide you as you shop for wines for this holiday weekend.  

Shop our online selection or pop into our shop this weekend- we’re open regular hours Saturday, Sunday and Monday!

Thanksgiving Picks 🦃

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