Selecting The Right Wine For Thanksgiving
Finding the perfect wines to complement a dinner whose dishes range from sweet to buttery to salty to spicy can add a whole new layer of stress to an already high-stakes meal. But selecting wines for this multi-flavored dinner doesn’t have to be hard. Writer and wine critic Eric Asimov offers a few strategies.
Human behavior is often unpredictable. But immutable rules seem to govern certain situations, like Thanksgiving entertaining.
Rule No. 1: You will be anxious before the holiday.
This is inescapable. You will worry that you have not sufficiently disguised the conditions under which you ordinarily live, which is what cleaning house usually achieves.
You will be concerned that you do not have enough food, while at the same time fearing that you have too much, and that the turkey will be ready too soon, or too late, or never.
You will dread underlying tensions among family members and overbearing behavior.
I have not even mentioned the wine.
Rule No. 2: The holiday always goes beautifully.
This is the saving grace, invariably forgotten. If kept in mind, it can easily make these jittery few days far more bearable.
For most families, Thanksgiving this year will not be unlike Thanksgiving any other year. Whatever new elements arrive in 2017, the foreboding is the same as always.
Nonetheless, the projected disasters almost never occur. Everybody has a great time. Remembering this will not help to achieve preliminary serenity, but understanding the process can make the angst easier to endure.
In order to help, the Thanksgiving wine panel annually tries to eliminate wine selections from your areas of concern. Each year, we share a Thanksgiving feast in advance. We each bring two bottles of wine to the meal, each costing no more than $25, with the aim of adding to our understanding of which types of wines work best.
As with many families, we welcomed a new member this year. Our colleague Tejal Rao — sitting in for Julia Moskin, who was away on assignment — joined me, Florence Fabricant, Pete Wells and our tasting coordinator, Bernard Kirsch.
Over the years, we have learned and affirmed that wine is the least consequential issue anybody will face at Thanksgiving. Why is that?
Rule No. 3: If the food is good and the company convivial, you cannot go wrong with the wine. If the food is bad and the company annoying, wine can only help.
To see Asimov’s wine recommendations, click here.
Emily Brendler Shoff
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