What wine goes with turkey?
By Brenda L. Holmes
Hendricks County Flyer (Avon, Ind.)
Winemaker Dr. Charles Thomas said the holidays are a perfect time to appreciate the attributes of wine with food.
“The best news of all is that almost any wine goes with turkey,” Thomas said.
Thomas is proprietor of Chateau Thomas Winery in Plainfield. The winery was founded in 1984 and moved to Plainfield in ‘97.
“When my family gets together for holiday dinner, we normally have anywhere from 20 to 25 people,” Thomas said. “With all those people we will usually have eight or nine bottles of wine open to go with all that turkey.”
Thomas said turkey comes with a multitude of flavors that can compliment several different wines.
“It doesn’t matter what kind of wine you like,” he said. “You will find one you like during a holiday meal.”
But he does have a few suggestions for varieties of wine that go especially well with holiday birds, depending on how they are prepared.
“You basically have three ways to prepare a turkey — you can roast it, smoke it, or deep fry it,” Thomas said.
He suggests white wines like Riesling, Chardonnay, or Sauvignon Blanc to go with a roasted bird.
“I would say even a nice Pinot Grigio would go nicely with a traditional style turkey,” he said.
Thomas said a smoked turkey offers herbal flavors to the pallet. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Fraunc, and Sauvignon Blanc all offer a good flavor to the dinner, he said.
“A deep fried turkey offers a lot of buttery flavors,” Thomas said. “For that reason, I suggest Chardonnay or even give into the fruity reds.”
He said Zinfandel or a nice late harvest Port goes well with the deep fried variety of turkey.
Thomas cautioned serving any sweet wine during a meal.
“Sweet wines make you not want to eat,” he said. “And with all that food during the holidays, you want to eat.”
He said the sweet wines should be reserved for after the meal or during dessert.
“I’d save the sweet wines to go with pumpkin pie,” he said. “You want to start the meal with a dry wine. I know this can frighten people who have tasted the reds and found them bitter. Drinking the wine with food makes all the difference in the world.”
Thomas said what makes the wine bitter are called tannins.
“The tannins in the dry red wines go so well with food,” he said. “I promise.”
For those new to drinking wine, he said there is a festive French alternative called Beaujolais Nouveau.
“The grapes for this wine are harvested in September and bottled in November,” Thomas said. “People who do not have much experience with wine just love it because it tastes like bubble gum.”
He said the fruity fresh flavor will only stay around for the holidays and it should be thrown out after about six months.
“It’s good for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner,” he said. “But it is very tasty and not very expensive for those who don’t have much experience with wine.”
This type of wine becomes available Nov. 21, but Thomas said his winery does not carry it.
— Brenda L. Holmes writes for the Hendricks County Flyer in Avon, Ind.