Many of my neighbours to the south are now enjoying their Thanksgiving. This of course involves choosing good wines. For most, it’s finding a wine to complement the main event: the turkey. Others might want to start off with a lighter wine to have with appetizers while watching the football game. Those planning to brave the crowds on Black Friday may choose a casual sipper to enjoy before or after they secure their annual deals.
As a Canadian, I celebrated Thanksgiving in October. My only task for our get-together (my sister graciously offered to host and cook the dinner), was to choose the wine. One to go with the starters and something for the main feast.
No matter how you celebrate, selecting a suitable wine for the holiday that your guests will also enjoy can be daunting. Which wine goes well with turkey? Should you serve red or white? Is a full-bodied wine better, or would a lighter variety go best with your main dish?
It’s relatively easy and typical to get wine suggestions from friends, wine critic reviews or the Internet. But until you understand your own palate (and ideally that of your guests), these opinions and research can direct you straight down the path to disappointment.
As an avid Quini user, I know which wines I like, ones to avoid, and which ones my close friends prefer. On the app, I follow users with similar taste profiles to mine, and fortunately my family’s preferences are in that range.
This year I decided to take a chance and experiment with something new for the turkey. So I chose a label that’s all the rage but that I’d never tried. I also grabbed a few bottles of my personal “go to” varietals: Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc.
The Riesling was a perfect fit to kick off the evening with the football game. It was a hit. Exactly what everyone expected and enjoyed. Crisp, refreshing and fabulous with the appetizers.
Then came dinner and the experiment wine. Appetites whetted, we were eager for the perfect pairing. Alas. This wine was not too hot. While I am sure many wine drinkers out there find it fantastic, it just did not suit our group’s palates and expectations, including my own.
Had we opened the Sauvignon Blanc with dinner, we would have had a much different experience. This varietal continuously ranks in my top three whites in Quini, followed closely by Riesling. They’re favourites for a reason as they simply please my palate. I’m virtually guaranteed to enjoy a glass.
We always have fun when the family gets together, good wine or not. But my experiment did reinforce that learning and following your palate can make a world of difference. That’s if you plan to enjoy the wine. Just because a wine is claimed to pair well with turkey, doesn’t mean it will pair well with you.