Thanksgiving wines tend to be a little tricky because they have to pair with such a variety of delicious fatty fatty food flavors. Now my golden rule of pairing is: drink whatever the hell you want. My mom drinks Chardonnay, without abandon, with anything - lasagna, short ribs, ice cream - anytime, anywhere, and she's happy as a lil clam. But if you're into trying to really pair wine with your Thanksgiving feast this year (I will be forcing some branching out at our family gathering for sure), here are 10 cool and unusual wines that will make you the coolest wino at the table:
Cremant - Now I always go with Champagne, but it's expensive and also I'm a wine snob. Cremant is the next best thing - it's sparkling wine made using the same method as Champagne, and it's from France. It's just not from the Champagne region itself, so it has to call itself something else (oh those persnickety Frenchies). It's much less expensive, but can be just as good.
Sparkling Rose - Rose has really come into it's own in the last few years, in large part because of the realization that rose didn't have to be sweet! Yes, dry Rose is really how the French (the creators of this summertime fave) drink it, and it's really how you should too. When in doubt for a pairing, sparkling wine and rose are great go-to's, so mix them together and you have a win.
Lambrusco - Some of you may recognize this red Italian sparkler from the bad old days when it was a sickly sweet serving of fizz. No longer. Grab one marked "secco" (dry) and the combo of the lightness of a sparkling and the richness of a red will go well with any of your Thanksgiving delights.
Pouilly-Fuisse - If you're a big Chardonnay drinker, this will be the pairing wine for you. This is a wine from Burgundy, famous more for it's incredible reds, but gaining popularity for it's white wines predominantly made with Chardonnay grapes. It's not a big, buttery Chardonnay like you'll find in a lot of, say California Chards; it's a little crisper and racier, which means it will pair better with your grubbins. Trust me.
Gruner Veltliner - You'll find this in the Austrian section of your local wine shop (and most likely you'll need to go to a legit wine shop to find it). It's a white grape grown almost exclusively in Austria, and if you like Sauvignon Blanc, this is the white for you. Plus like most Austrian wines, it's a steal.
Gewurztraminer - Another underrated (and happily undervalued) white is this noble grape which you'll find in the French section of the wine aisle. If you (or very likely your grandma) like a little more of a fruity, sweeter wine like Moscato this should be your go to.
That's it, just Rose. This is a classically great Thanksgiving pairing, as it combines both the light raciness you want for a food pairing, with some of the deeper flavors of a red. Plus it's just really good whenever, with whatever, or all by itself. As I mentioned earlier, rose's popularity has increased to the point of t-shirts declaring that you should drink Rose all day (I do not recommend). Get it dry - the classic is from the south of France - but I've had great German, Italian, and American rose's as well. Just make sure it's dry and it doesn't come from a box.
Pinot Noir - Now we're in my territory. I used to work at a winery in Oregon wine country. Yes Oregon wine is a real thing, and yes it's taken very seriously by wine snobs. Oregon pinot rivals French Burgundies (red Burgundies being made from Pinot noir also) any day. Okay, not like the crazy nice Burgundies, but most of the wines we of normal means could drink. It's more expensive than say, California Pinot, but Oregon or Burgundy is where you want to grab a pinot from. They're lighter in body and pair really well with turkey, among other eats. Do it.
Zweigelt - Okay, I'm gonna be honest, this one's pretty hard to find, but if you do find it, grab as many bottles as you can shove in that wine box you keep in your car for such happy emergencies. This is another Austrian grape that is sorely underrated and happily priced as such. I've had many awesome bottles for under $20 and it's a perfect alternative to pricey Pinots.
Cabernet Franc - Another great pairing red that may be a little easier to find. Great values can be found from Chile or Argentina and if you see a French wine called "Chinon" from the Loire valley, it's made almost entirely from Cab Franc as well. If you tend towards big reds, this is the pairing wine for you.