When It Comes To Thanksgiving Wine, Buy Early, Buy Often, And Don’t Forget The Bubbly!

Red, white, pink, dry, sweet or fizzy, there are many acceptable colors and flavors to uncork for your Thanksgiving feast.

  While there are a few ideal wines to pair with the prized bird, there’s more to consider than the turkey when choosing bottles for Thanksgiving dinner. In fact there is much to consider:

  • You may want to begin the festivities with light appetizers.
  • Dinner also includes yams, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and other varied foods.
  • Your guest list probably includes some finicky wine drinkers (the only-Chardonnay crowd or the big, bold Cabernet crowd).
  • You may be on a tight budget after buying all the food.
  • Ideally, you’ll be drinking all day, so buy enough for the marathon.


Image result for holman ranch wine turkey


A few hard and fast rules

  • It’s always nice to start the day with a glass of bubbly. Whether it’s Champagne, Prosecco or Cava, it all helps create a festive mood. And a glass of bubbly prepares the palate for all the food to come.
  • Don’t break out the expensive stuff. Odds are good the majority of your guests will not appreciate your vintage Barolo, so save it for another occasion.
  • Choose low-alcohol wines because through the family squabbles, football games, post-dinner naps and turkey sandwiches, it’s always a long day.
  • Plan on one bottle of wine per person, which is more than enough, but will save you from a late-day wine run. And remember, there are many fine bottles at wine shops for $15 or less.

Best wine to pair with the bird Roast turkey works well with many types of wine. It’s the flavors of the gravy, stuffing, and side dishes that have a greater impact on the palate. Here are some options:

  • Zinfandel is America’s sweetheart, and is an ideal wine with turkey because its lower tannins help moisten even the driest turkey. And its secondary flavors of cinnamon, clove and vanilla work well in this season.
  • Often people assume red wine should be served with the Thanksgiving meal but don’t overlook light, refreshing whites. Just try new varietals, such as a Chenin Blanc from South Africa. They are light-bodied, but have nice acidity and are under-valued.
  • A dry Riesling is another versatile choice. Bright acidity cuts through all the fat in the gravy, stuffing, potatoes, yams and the richness of spice in cranberry sauce. Every sip feels like hitting the reset button on your palate.

Best wine with pumpkin pie

  • The best wine to pair with dessert isn’t a wine at all. A Belgian-style beer (with its essence of coriander, natural creaminess and lots of tiny bubbles) is a light option to lead into the evening’s end.

Aroma Wheel Helps Us Find The Descriptive Words To Describe Wine

Famed author Ernest Hemingway once said: “A person with increasing knowledge and sensory education may derive infinite enjoyment from wine.”

In wine tasting, wine is always smelled before being drunk in order to identify some components of the wine that may be present.

It is through the aromas of wine that wine is tasted. The human tongue is limited to the primary tastes — acidity, bitterness, saltiness and savoriness — perceived by taste receptors on the tongue

Conversely, the human olfactory bulb in the brain interprets a wide array of flavors, and in wine that includes fruity, earthy, floral, herbal, mineral and woodsy.

Hemingway, of course, was a man of many words. For others, though, it’s difficult to accurately describe the wine aromas swirling around our nasal receptors. We just can’t find the words.

That’s why Ann C. Noble, now a retired professor from the University of California at Davis, invented the Wine Aroma Wheel — a tool to enhance one’s ability to describe the complexity of flavor in red and white wines.

Initially, most people can’t recognize or describe aromas, so the purpose of the wheel is to provide terms to describe them. The wheel has very general terms located in the center (such as fruity or spicy), going to the most specific terms in the outer tier (such as strawberry or clove). These are not the only words that can be used to describe wine, but represent ones that are most often encountered.

Noble designed the wheel to enhance the whole wine experience.

Fortunately, we can all easily train our noses and brains to associate descriptive terms with specific aroma notes in wine. Using the wheel during wine tasting will facilitate the description of the flavors we perceive. More importantly, users can begin to easily recognize and remember specific details about wines.

After earning her Ph.D. in Food science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Noble arrived at UC Davis in 1974 to work in its sensory research program. After studying the techniques and application of wine tasting, Noble discovered that there was no objective framework or widely agreed upon terminology that a wine taster could use to describe things such as “earthy” aromas or the different smells of various fruits that can show up in a wine. In 1984, her research led her to develop the Aroma Wheel. It provides a visual graphic of the different categories and aroma components that one can encounter in wine. It uses standardized terminology for use by both professionals and amateur wine tasters.

The wheel breaks down wine aromas into 12 basic categories and then further sub-divides them into different aromas that can fall into those main categories.

  • Chemical: Includes aromas like sulfur and petroleum
  • Pungent: Aromas like alcohol
  • Oxidized: Aromas like acetaldehyde
  • Microbiological: Aromas like yeast and lactic acid
  • Floral: Aromas like geraniums and linalool
  • Spicy: Aromas like licorice and anise
  • Fruity: Aromas like blackcurrant and apricot
  • Vegetative: Aromas like eucalyptus and artichoke
  • Nutty: Aromas like walnut and hazelnut
  • Caramelized: Aromas like butterscotch and molasses
  • Woody: Aromas often imparted by oak like vanilla and coffee
  • Earthy: Aromas such as mushroom and mildew

Noble retired from Davis in 2002 and in 2003 was named Emeritus Professor of Enology. Since retirement she has participated as a judge in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Her famed Aroma Wheel can be purchased from the website www.winearomawheel.com.