NEW YORK (Reuters) - Thanksgiving, the U.S. holiday that anyone who likes to eat loves to celebrate, is just a week away and experts agree there is not one perfect wine to accompany the feast, but many.
“No other holiday celebrates the gift of wine like Thanksgiving,” said Natalie MacLean, author of the new book, “Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines.”
“Wine is a taste of the harvest along with all the delicious dishes on the table,” MacLean said, conceding that sometimes choosing a bottle can feel like a thankless task.
Her advice, echoed by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg, authors of “The Food Lover’s Guide to Wine,” Mark Oldman, who wrote “Oldman’s Brave New World of Wine” and wine columnist Lisa Carley, is to start with bubbly.
“Sparkling wine is a great aperitif to sip while you wait for the turkey to finish cooking,” MacLean said.
And while the price of Champagne continues to rise because of the growing demand from Asia, there are plenty of less pricey sparklers to choose from including Cavas, Spanish sparkling wines, such as Segura Viudas or Huguet Can Feixes, or Italian Proseccos from Mionetto, Adami or Bisol.
Page and Dornenburg prefer California sparkling wines such as Iron Horse, while Oldman said any American sparkling wine would do. Carley recommended Australia’s Jacob’s Creek sparkling rose Moscato, adding it could stand up to butternut squash soup and cranberry sauce.
Even with the best of cooking techniques, turkey can be dry in texture, so the experts said the solutions are white wines such as Rieslings from New York’s Finger Lakes region, Spatlese Gewurztraminer from Germany or Sauvignon Blanc from Sonoma, the Loire or New Zealand.
Reds for Thanksgiving are easier.
“Pretty much anything that isn’t very tannic will work,” Carley said.
Pinot Noirs from California including MacMurray Ranch, Kenwood, Educated Guess or Oregon’s A-Z, Erath and McKinlay topped the recommendations. From New Zealand wine from Nobilo, Felton Road and Two Paddocks were top choices.
The experts said Cru Beaujolais, Beaujolais Nouveau’s older cousin, would also work well along with low-tannin Italian reds such as Tommasi Valpolicella Classico Superiore or Barbera d‘Alba Cascina Roccalini and Tempranillo from Rioja or Ribera del Duero from Spain.
For dessert the cardinal rule is that the wine should be sweeter than the food. A Madeira or Port from Portugal, a Trockenbeerenauslese from Austria or Germany or an Icewine from Canada should go nicely with the pumpkin, pecan or apple pie.
But with so many dishes and flavors the experts guests should bring what they like, and lots of it.
Editing by Patricia Reaney