The Perfect Reds to Pair with Your Thanksgiving Meal
Last week, we touched on the white wines that deserve a seat at your Thanksgiving table, and this week, we’re off to the other side of the wine aisle to talk about two types of red wine perfect for your Turkey Day feast: Pinot Noir and Beaujolais. Pinot Noir has become synonymous with Oregon wine as the Willamette Valley is home to some of the best Pinot on earth. Beaujolais comes from the Gamay grape and is named after the region where it’s grown, just a short distance from Burgundy, France (the Pinot motherland).
Pinot Noir has been a longstanding favorite at Thanksgiving gatherings because it’s the best all-round partner for turkey and all the trimmings, and with so many similarities, Beaujolais has become a meal-day mainstay, as well. There are a few special elements of these wines that will help bring out the flavor of anything in your Thanksgiving spread:
- The usually light- to medium-body won’t overpower the turkey or put the guests to sleep like a full-bodied wine tends to do.
- The vibrant and juicy flavor can liven up the turkey or stuffing, especially if they cooked up a little dry.
- An elegant flavor profile: red and black fruit, savory and earthy tones, and spicy or floral. The versatility will complement all the staple dishes.
- The gentle tannins go hand-in-hand with the greens on the table – brussel sprouts, kale, and the perennial go-to green bean casserole.
- A bright acidity enhances the flavor of the sweeter sides like candied yams and cranberry sauce.
It’s tough to go wrong with any Pinot Noir or Beaujolais, but here are three favorites we can raise a glass to this holiday!
Iris Pinot Noir 2013
Producer: Iris Winery
Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
Region: Cottage Grove, OR (just south of Eugene)
Be the hit of the party when you bring out this lovely bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir on Thanksgiving. It is no secret that this style of wine works well with turkey, but this particular bottle is spectacular.
This deep garnet Pinot exudes aromas of ripe black plum, cherry blossom, cranberry, orange peel, and baking spices. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied with rich black cherry, plum, and pie cherry, with hints of white pepper and minerals. The long, smooth, clean finish leaves you wanting to take another sip.
Beaujolais Nouveau 2016
Producer: Les Vins Georges Duboeuf
Varietal: 100% Gamay
Region: Beaujolais, France
The third Thursday in November celebrates the season’s first harvest and the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau from France. This vivacious fruity red wine is a favorite of both wine aficionados and style setters. Versatile with many popular dishes, Beaujolais Nouveau is the ideal accompaniment for holiday entertaining and has especially become synonymous with Thanksgiving.
The 2016 Beaujolais Nouveau displays a shimmering crimson color. The wine features a bright, fresh, fruit-forward palate with notes of raspberry, cherry, peach, and banana. It is a bit effervescent and should be served slightly chilled. (What do we mean by “slightly chilled”? Pop a bottle (or two!) in the freezer just before you take your turkey out to rest for the necessary 30 minutes. Fill glasses just before carving.
Les Vins Georges Duboeuf, which was founded and is still run by Georges Duboeuf, is one of the largest and best-known wine merchants in France.
Cru Beaujolais 2013
Producer: Domaine Hamet-Spay
Varietal: 100% Gamay
Region: Juliénas, Beaujolais, France
Such a beautiful Beaujolais! This Cru is elegant with bright fruit and hints of cherry and ripe vine fruit. It is very soft on the palate with notes of light spices. It is ready to be consumed now but will age wonderfully for several more years. Looking for way to impress a wine lover this Thanksgiving? Bring out a bottle of this, and they’ll ask, “Where did you get a Cru Beaujolais of this caliber?!” You’re more than welcome to take the credit, or you can say, “From CV at the Co-op, naturally!”
Now, you may be wondering, what is the difference between this Cru Beaujolais and the Beaujolais Nouveau above? Other than the Gamay grape, Cru Beaujolais has very little to do with fruity, lightweight Beaujolais Nouveau. Cru Beaujolais is the highest designation of the three types of Beaujolais wines. Crus are only made in 10 designated villages, all in the northern part of the Beaujolais region, and are some of the food-friendliest wines on the planet. This particular Cru comes to us from Juliénas, which is the oldest of all the Cru villages.