For many a meal, wine pairing is a no-brainer.
Thanksgiving just isn't one of them. There are simply too many flavors on the table to pick one "perfect" bottle.
Here's our advice where the wine is concerned this holiday: Don't stress. You've got enough on your proverbial plate already. Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to kick back and sip something you really like or to try something completely new to you and your guests.
That's why, when we asked for holiday recommendations, we gave a few of our favorite wine experts some pretty basic ground rules for Turkey Day pairings: Tell us what you're excited about, get geeky and have fun.
Patrick Cappiello | 2012 Dirty and Rowdy Napa Valley Semillon
Patrick Cappiello, Pearl & Ash, NYC
The pick: A full-bodied domestic white
"Thanksgiving is an American holiday, so I like to stick to American wines! The 2012 Dirty and Rowdy Napa Valley Semillon ($30) is a full-bodied white made entirely from the Sémillon grape, which is traditionally found in the sweet wines of Sauternes in Bordeaux. This California rendition is completely dry, rich and nutty, and very food-friendly."
Paul Courtright, Gardner, Austin, TX
The pick: A bubbly pink
"I like to look for something easy to drink on Thanksgiving, and the NV Domaine Renardat-Fâche Cerdon du Bugey ($19) is a wine that everyone at the table can enjoy, from the novice to the aficionado. Cerdon is a pink, slightly bubbly, off-dry wine that's very low in alcohol and not too fussy to sip on its own. It's also a great match for the shockingly wide array of foods on the table."
Brian Kalliel, Mélisse, Santa Monica, CA
The pick: Riesling
"At Thanksgiving, we want a white that has enough acidity and sexiness to find its way through a myriad of flavors. That's Riesling. The 2012 Weingut Emmerich Knoll Federspiel Riesling ($30) has white fruit and flowers in the nose, but for me, this wine is more about mouth-feel. It's a nervy little bugger with the balance of a dancer, the nervousness of a thief and a finish that can only be described as the liquid expression of a horizontal desire."
David Giuliano, The Clam, Market Table and The Little Owl, NYC
The pick: Orange wine
"If you can't decide whether to serve red or white, try an orange wine. They're white wines vinified in the style of red, so they take on additional power and complexity. One favorite is the Tocai Friulano Subida from Santa Barbara's Palmina Winery ($30). Think dried apricots and poached pear swirling with notes of fennel, honeycomb and hazelnuts. It'll give the wine geeks something to be thankful for."
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Brad Nugent, Porter House New York and Center Bar, NYC
The pick: An all-American, robust red
"For an esoteric pairing, I like Norton, a truly domestic varietal. Up until Prohibition, it was prominent everywhere east of the Mississippi, but now it's predominantly grown in Virginia. The grape makes a robust red, full of flavor, fruit and intensity. And nothing is more patriotic than drinking something uniquely American on Thanksgiving. Look for examples from Chrysalis Vineyards and Horton Vineyards."
Adam Nemirow, FIG and The Ordinary, Charleston, SC
The pick: A red that sips like rosé
"Thanksgiving at our house is a 14-hour-long, low-stress day with lots of grazing, snacking and turkey flybys. I like to serve something memorable, relatively inexpensive and fairly low in alcohol. This year, I'm going Corsican (it earns me brownie points 'cause my father-in-law is obsessed with Napoleon). The 2012 Domaine Comte Abbatucci Rouge Frais Imperial ($23) is a red that sips almost like a rosé, and the 2013 Domaine Maestracci Corse Calvi Blanc E Prove ($19) is a white vibrant enough to snap you out of your tryptophan nap."
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