If you're like me, you're always looking for wine recommendations, especially when it comes to the holiday season. Alec Bruggentheis, National Beverage Director at Smith & Wollensky steakhouse, is the perfect person to offer guidance on what varietals go with your turkey dinner.
The biggest thing to keep in mind, Bruggentheis told me via email, is that the wine plays a supporting role to the rich foods being served.
"For white wines, look for a wine that is medium-to-full-bodied that has some enough acidity to balance the richness of the food. "
However, if you're into a drier white, try these:
- Pinot Gris from Alsace
- Cool-climate Chardonnay from Oregon’s Willamette Valley or California’s Santa Lucia Highlands
Pro tip: don't be afraid of sweet wines. "Because of the spectrum of flavors on the table, a wine with slight sweetness is also a welcome approach."
Sweeter wines to try:
- Kabinett style Riesling from the Rheingau in Germany
- Vouvray from the Loire Valley in France
As for red wine, Bruggentheis says it depends on how the turkey is cooked.
For oven-roasted turkey:
- Try a softer wine like Pinot Noir from Oregon or the Russian River Valley.
For grilled turkey:
- Fuller wines like syrah (peppery and smoky undertones) or zinfandel (full, lush and spicy).
For fried turkey:
- Pinot noir or new world rosés, which have fresh acidity and rich fruit flavors. New world rosés are bolder and a bit fruitier than those from the south of France. Plus, they have the great acidity needed to cut the richness of the fried turkey.