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Hosting a Spirited Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is a time to gather around the table with family and friends, and while an abundant amount of food (including those next-day leftover turkey sandwiches) is the main event, you can make your Thanksgiving dinner stand out with spirited drink pairings to help set the mood from starters through dessert. Here’s your Clos19 guide to matching all of those dishes to the proper drinks. And who wouldn’t be thankful for that?

Traditional Dishes

Whether you're traveling hundreds of miles to visit family or staying local for a more casual "Friendsgiving" gathering, there are some traditional items you would expect to see on tables across the country. Regional styles and variations abound across America, but turkey remains the most popular main course, and presents many different opportunities for preparation (wet brine? dry brine?) and cooking methods, including roasted, spatch-cocked, or deep-fried. And it isn't unusual for the many side dishes to outshine the bird, whether cornbread dressing, creamy mashed potatoes and gravy (always double-down on the gravy), sweet potato casserole, or roasted Brussels sprouts. And after you've gone back for seconds, there's dessert, which on Thanksgiving means all varieties of pie, especially pumpkin, apple, and pecan. 

No matter how many people you're hosting on Thanksgiving, there is a lot of necessary preparation to consider. It's important to draft a series of to-do lists leading up to the main event, covering everything from shopping lists, food preparation (you can make many items in advance), and organizing all of the serving dishes, glasses, and tableware. 


What to Drink

When it comes to what to serve in the glass, be sure to pick up what you need in advance and take the time to properly chill your beverages as needed. Here are some drink choices to match your Thanksgiving staples:

Now is the time to pull out the big guns if budget allows. Start with bubbles - a prestige Champagne if you can. Greeting your guest with a glass of Champagne will immediately put everyone at ease and give you the appearance of a host or hostess with everything under control (even if you're wondering if you've pre-heated the oven). The richness and complexity of Krug serves as a perfect aperitif and will take you through starters to your first course. If budget is key, then Veuve Clicquot Brut NV champagne will still bring plenty of glamour, and a touch of sweetness, to your toast. 


For the main course, having a good red and white wine on hand will cover all bases, but the typical richness of the holiday meal calls for a rich, weighty white wine. Chardonnay is an ideal grape for this and the Newton Unfiltered Chardonnay will add extra texture and flavor and really shine through the heavy food. For a lighter but still flavorful option, the Terrazas de los Andes Chardonnay is a full-bodied and crisp crowd-pleaser. 

The turkey with its trimmings can certainly handle red wine as long as it's not too heavy. Pinot noir is an ideal partner, as it doesn’t have too much weight and tannin. Try Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir as a good all-purpose bottle or upgrade to their stunning Te Wahi pinot if you really want to make a statement.