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November 21, 2009

Howard Hewitt: Pairing wine with holiday meals

Even non-wine drinkers find themselves with a glass of wine around the holidays. Many people will pick up a bottle for those bountiful holiday meals and social gatherings.

There is ample advice on which wine one should serve with turkey — remember Grape Sense Rule No. 1 — If you like it, drink it!

There are lots of great options. But, your wine selection for Thanksgiving dinner should not be limited to a discussion of just pairing wine with turkey.

“Usually I quiz people on what side dishes are being served and how is the turkey being prepared,” said Tena McClanahan, Wine Styles, Carmel. “If you have a turkey someone is deep frying and they’re injecting it with Cajun seasoning that’s a whole lot different than roasting it with carrots, onions and celery in the center.

“It’s generally all about the side dishes, personally I love Pinot Noirs. If somebody likes red wine I think Pinot Noir is the perfect Thanksgiving wine (for roasted turkey). If it’s Cajun injected turkey then maybe a Zinfandel. I’d avoid the really bold wines.”

McClanahan also has a great suggestion for white wine lovers. She recommends a dry Gewurtztraminer as a perfect pairing. Gewurtz is a spicy and often floral wine that is dynamite with food. There are dry and sweeter versions, but pick up a dry or semi-dry if you’re going to have it with dinner. You can find great Gewurtz from Germany and France! Don’t forget Indiana’s wineries because most make nice Traminette which is very similar to Gewurtz.

A dry Riesling is a great choice for Thanksgiving as well. If you go semi-dry to dry you’ll be happy with your choice. Washington State offers a lot of great Riesling choices. New York state Riesling is another good buy and good choice. Again, some of the Indiana Riesling is also tasty.

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