CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I hope you've been training hard because we are about to embark upon a food and wine marathon that begins with Thanksgiving, shifts into high gear for holiday parties, and roars into overdrive for Christmas and New Year's celebrations.
We will consume more food and drink more wine during this period than at any other time during the year and, as a result, we will boost the first-quarter revenues of exercise clubs, diet centers and clothing alteration shops throughout this great land.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, you will also make more than 50 percent of your total wine purchases for the year. Therefore, I'll give you a few wine suggestions to accompany the first big holiday.
In the past, I have written about the versatility of turkey to be successfully matched with red or white as well as light or full-bodied wines. The reason this is possible is because turkey has a variety of flavors, colors and textures, which can match just about any wine.
Add to these dimensions, the manner in which the turkey is prepared (roasted, smoked, grilled or fried) and the type of stuffing used, and you have a complex set of flavor components that make matching wine with it fun. Indeed, Thanksgiving offers us a rare opportunity to sample several wines with the same meal (and that's something to be thankful for).
From an herbal sauvignon blanc (which pairs nicely with a sage-flavored bread dressing), to a medium-bodied yet rich Alsatian Riesling, to a lighter-styled pinot grigio, to a creamy, full-bodied chardonnay, turkey can accommodate each of these white wines quite nicely.
But what really surprises some wine purists is how well turkey matches with red wine, particularly when the bird has been roasted on a grill or smoked. Full-bodied reds like cabernet sauvignon, Rhone wines such as Chateauneuf du Pape, along with zinfandel, shiraz or Amarone go especially well with smoked or grilled turkey.
The traditional oven-roasted turkey is also very nicely accompanied by a pinot noir, Beaujolais or even tempranillo from Spain. And, given the celebratory nature of Thanksgiving, sparkling wine and champagne would be an appropriate match, too.