The right wine completes the Thanksgiving feast

I’ve enjoyed quite a few Thanksgiving feasts and completely appreciate that this is one holiday where tradition rings true. It’s easy to put on that “Thanksgiving Thirteen” over an extended four-day, gluttonous weekend of white turkey meat, brown turkey meat, gravy, sweet potato casserole, oyster stuffing, homemade buttery bread, tasty cranberry sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, pecan pie, chess pie, pumpkin pie, apple pie and, of course, the long string of leftovers and sandwiches.

The one trap in all of this tradition and “deadly sin” exercise is falling prey to the wine ideologues. These are the ones with the all-too-repetitive suggestion that one should drink boring French Beaujolais Nouveau for another Thanksgiving holiday just because Lafayette happened to show up at the American Revolution. Instead, do as Clark Griswold did in the movie “Christmas Vacation” when the squirrel attacked inside his home. After telling his son, Russ, to get a hammer, Clark’s wife questioned what the hammer was for. “I’m gonna catch it in the coat, and smack it with the hammer.” This year do the same with Nouveau – before it ruins another holiday.

Some may ask: Why not Nouveau? Simply put, there are a lot of flavors going on in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner: the many fruits like cranberry and pumpkin; the sage in the stuffing; the savory and saltiness in the gravy. So, if a traditional Thanksgiving feast is on tap this Thursday, then don’t be fooled by the lure of a bright and colorful label of houses or flowers that looks more like an Easter appropriate watercolor than a fall harvest wine. Instead, go with something that can not only complement those flavors but also offer up some style. No one wants that turkey to split open and ruin the night like it did at the Griswold family Christmas dinner. And no one wants to smile and pretend that Nouveau tastes good with anything other than fruitcake.

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Holiday wines to be thankful for

Followers of this wine column know that I’m not a fan of Beaujolais Nouveau. Suffice to say, I truly believe it’s just a gimmick to sell a bunch of overpriced, jug-like French wine that in all actuality is really quite, well, bad. Some may argue that it’s traditional to buy and drink Nouveau for Thanksgiving. To them we should remind that mud-slinging has become a political tradition that benefits no one.

This column is dedicated to the pursuit of introducing alternative wines for Thanksgiving dinner that are not only better compliments to the meal but also a lot better tasting than bathwater.

One of the preeminent new German Rieslings to reach the Knoxville market this year is by a producer named Geil. Although not as well known as other German wineries, Geil makes up for its lack of notoriety with an astonishingly vibrant Riesling that has all the right stuff for pairing quite properly with a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. From Germany’s Rhein River region, the 2009 Geil Riesling Kabinett exhibits exotic fruit notes of guava and a clean petrol bouquet. A tropical delight, the Geil Riesling is just what the turkey gobbled for.

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