Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves choosing the perfect wine for Thanksgiving dinner. You have exactly one week to navigate the shelves at your local wine store before deciding on a vino selection that doesn't suck. It is essential that you succeed in this undertaking: The wrong choice may result in death, destruction, or worse, a crappy holiday celebration. Your guests are depending on you. This message will self-destruct in five seconds.
Seriously, choosing wine for Thanksgiving dinner doesn't have to be intimidating. Just follow these five handy wine-buying tips for the big day.
1. Decide on a price point. Cost is probably the biggest factor in your wine decision. Determine how many guests will attend your celebration and how many glasses of wine each will drink throughout the day. Using these numbers as your guide, figure out how much you are willing to spend on each bottle, and try to stick to your budget.
2. Ignore the "traditional" wine-pairing rules. So what if red usually goes with hearty meats and white goes with fish? Thanksgiving involves several courses, so you'll drive yourself crazy trying to match each one with its "appropriate" pair. Better to choose an easy-drinking wine that will complement everything.
3. Pick a light-bodied wine. Thanksgiving is a marathon -- not a sprint. In other words, your guests will likely be drinking all day -- or at least for several hours -- so it's best to choose something that goes down easy (and, if possible, has a low-ish alcohol content). How about a light pinot noir that tastes like cranberries or a fresh and citrusy rose? My favorite thing to serve is a sweet Riesling, preferably from South America.
4. Ask for help. If you generally know which varietal you want but are still unsure about a specific bottle, then ask the people who work at the wine store! Don't feel embarrassed: That's why they work there. Ideally, you would serve a wine that you already know and love, but if that's not possible, then seek out a good, well-informed opinion.
5. Go with what you like. Ultimately, you should be drinking what you like to drink -- not what someone on a blog tells you to drink. Learning to have confidence in your own palate is what wine drinking is all about.
Which wine do you serve on Thanksgiving?
Image via derekGavey/Flickr