Unless you're prepared to get a little geeky, Thanksgiving is, ironically, a pretty boring time to show off your wine-pairing prowess. While it might be one of the most food-centric holidays of the year, as far as wine is concerned, you're basically limited to two options: full-bodied whites, like Chardonnay, and light-bodied reds, like Pinot Noir. Add to that the impossible crowd-pleasing factor ("But Grandma only drinks Manischewitz!") and the fact that no single wine will ever couple lovingly with jellied cranberry, beer-drunk turkey and green bean casserole, and you've gotten yourself into a bit of a conundrum.
We'd like to suggest a wallet-friendly alternative that everyone at the table can appreciate: cider.
These days, sparkling hard ciders are not sweet—far from it. Remember that trend toward drier Rieslings? Well, there's a similar boom right now in delicious, medium-to-bone-dry ciders, and they're becoming widely available. What's more, they're relatively low in alcohol—often ringing in around 7 percent ABV—which means they're perfect for sipping throughout a long, drawn-out meal. And their natural fruitiness and effervescence helps them pair easily with a wide gamut of flavors, especially when served in a traditional, tulip-shaped wineglass.
So which ciders are good choices for your feast? If you're looking for an all-American cider (as you most certainly should on this most American of holidays; it's worth noting that more than 500 ciders are now made domestically), pick up a bottle from Aaron Burr Cidery, based in Upstate New York. New Hampshire's Farnum Hill is also a great option. Look to Long Island, and you'll find delicious and dry white and rosé ciders from Wölffer Estate.
Another reason cider is perfect for Thanksgiving? As a true pilgrim favorite, it's incredibly traditional.
After all, no one was throwing back Burgundy at Plymouth.
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