It’s the details of each family gathering that become traditions and are what make the holidays so special. In our family it was my mother’s roast turkey and sage dressing (not stuffing; this is Western Pennsylvania), sweet potatoes—no marshmallows; she was always on a diet—mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, green bean casserole, and Jello salad. And of course there was homemade pumpkin pie. We did not have wine with dinner. The only wine we knew about was altar wine, which my dad would sometimes get as a gift from someone who got it…from somewhere.
Moving to the big city and being able to travel numerous times to Europe (for work!), I learned how lovely a meal can be when it is paired with the right wine. My Thanksgiving dinner still sticks close to my mom’s (sans Jello salad), but now we seek out wines that will complement the explosion of flavors that turkey and the trimmings bring to our palettes.
Lately we’ve relied on Moore Brothers, a wine shop that specializes in the wines of small producers, to recommend just the right thing. This is the list that appeared in my inbox this morning. It begins with a sparkling rose from the Loire Valley, a perfectly festive way to greet family and guests and distract them from talking about politics. The wines for dinner include a German Riesling and an American Pinot Noir. For anyone who hasn’t tried one lately, we say give Riesling a chance. It’s now one of my favorite wines and possibly the best match for the Thanksgiving spread. But get advice from an experienced wine merchant. This is not territory you should wander through alone.
Once the desserts roll out pour a glass of Moscato d’Asti, a sparkling dessert wine produced in the foothills of the Italian Alps. It will transform the simple pumpkin into a glorious finale.
Chinon La Cravantine Brut Domaine Fabrice Gasnier
Biodynamically grown Cabernet Franc and the Champagne method yield an intrinsically fine wine: fascinating as it evolves over time in a glass, with the nuance that identifies a unique and interesting place, in this case, Fabrice’s tiny parcel of friable, chalky tuffeau in Cravant-les-Coteaux. Pour the first glass for the chef, and then one for yourself. And keep an eye on the bottle – you’ll want a second glass before it’s gone.
Wawerner Ritterpfad Spätlese Feinherb Spätlese Feinherb
Weingut Johann Peter Reinert 2015
The Wawerner Ritterpfad vineyard lies on a forty-percent slope (!) of iron-tinged red Devon slate (no machines make it into the vineyard here), which gives an extra mineral kick to the wine’s bright Fuji apple and ripe quince flavors. And I promise that this vibrant Saar Riesling is not at all “too sweet.” Its natural acidity and razor-sharp mineral cut are a great match for roasted turkey, stuffing, and any side imaginable.
Chad Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2017
Like Peter Reinert’s Riesling, this classic wild cherries and rhubarb infused 2017
Willamette Valley Pinot Noir will have plenty of utility around your Thanksgiving table.
The wine’s fresh acidity and mineral lift will pair perfectly with turkey breast and lighter vegetarian cuisine. But at the same time this generous, finely honed, silky Pinot Noir has wonderful inner-density, with cardamom-perfumed red and black fruit flavors that complement heartier fare, from dark turkey meat or ham to gravy-laden mashed potatoes.
Moscato d’Asti Gianni Doglia 2017
A bottle of Gianni Doglia’s graceful and lightly sparkling Moscato d’Asti will ensure a refreshing end to your Thanksgiving feast. This is an absolute joy to drink. And at a mere 5% alcohol, you can savor a glass (or two, with minimal consequence) alongside the dessert of your choice, as I plan to do with a slice (or two, with maximal consequence) of my mom’s sour cream pumpkin pie.
Our thanks to Moore Brothers Wine Company, which represents the work of winegrowers committed to natural farming, small production, and the traditions of their respective regions. Many of the producers they represent are considered among the finest in the world. Through their personal relationships with these small family farms, the wines are shipped directly from their cellars to Moore Brothers under perfect temperature-controlled systems. The company was founded in 1996 when Greg Moore, Sommelier and General Manager of the renown Le Bec-Fin, and his brother David, a prominent wine retailer, created a wine store that set out to do things differently. Moore Brothers has retail locations in Brooklyn, New York, Pennsauken, New Jersey, and Wilmington, Delaware. They ship to 36 states.
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