10 Chef-Approved Wines to Drink at Thanksgiving
This Thanksgiving, take a page out of Ina Garten’s book and simplify your drink menu by uncorking a bottle of vino. After all, delightful company and good food are only made better with fine wine. To help us navigate a medley of Turkey Day flavors, we tapped 10 chefs from around the country and got their go-to holiday pours.
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From crowd-pleasing reds to sparkling ciders, and even an unexpected vermouth, read on for their recommendations.
Bobby Flay, Celebrity Chef, Food Network
"An American Pinot noir such as Etude or Robert Sinsky and for Sauvignon blanc, Robert Mondavi Fumé Blanc.”
Marcela Valladolid, Co-host of The Kitchen, Food Network
"My fiancé Philip and I love drinking this Italian wine over the holidays. It’s become a tradition at Casa Marcela. It's pairs perfectly with our Thanksgiving dinner menu which will of course include a delicious turkey and mashed potatoes."
Allie Poindexter, Co-owner-Sommelier at Henrietta Red, Nashville, TN
"When putting together a wine list for Thanksgiving, most people rarely include vermouth as an option. Matthiasson winery in Napa Valley makes a delicious sweet vermouth flavored with homegrown blood oranges and sour cherries. The perfect companion for charcuterie and cheese plates, or pumpkin and pecan pie, I’ll serve it up at my Thanksgiving table and create converts along the way."
Danielle Walker and Justin Walker, Beverage Director and Executive Chef at Earth at Hidden Pond, Kennebunkport, ME
"At our house we start with Eric Bordelet Poire D'authentic pear cider. This is off-dry cider made biodynamically from 40-50 year old heirloom trees. We also love the Vie de Romans Dessimis Pinot Grigio Friuli Isonzo ($33; grapeswine.com). We first fell in love with this wine last year when the 2012 vintage transformed to an orange wine while oxidizing in our glasses, which made it a fun conversation!"
Daven Wardynski, Executive Chef at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, Fernandina Beach, FL
“I am a farm boy from Michigan so we stuff our turkey with burnt cinnamon and other aromatics and then we fry it back home. With that in mind, it’s about pairing that subtle fattiness and earthy spices with a set of bubbles! Many wines from the Mendocino area of California make great pairings, but for me one of the most unique is a bottle of 2013 Goldeneye Sparkling Brut Rosé from Anderson Valley.”
Joseph "JJ" Johnson, Executive Chef at The Cecil and Minton’s, New York, NY
"I love bubbles for a holiday meal and this Champagne from a small winery would is my go-to."
Kevin Bratt, Wine Director at Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab, Washington, D.C.
"Rosemary, thyme, and sage will most likely make an appearance on your Thanksgiving table. Try the 2014 Galerie, Riesling, Spring Mountain, California to match with these fall flavors. Subtle notes of chamomile and honey blossom in the wine work perfectly with cornbread stuffing and butternut squash."
Ryan Schelling, Executive Sous Chef at Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Orlando, FL
"I like ports and lean towards the Dow's 20-year Tawny Port. It has great aroma of raisin, along with some nice, deep flavors of caramel and honey. It pairs well with the fall flavors associated with traditional Thanksgiving foods: clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, sage, sweet potato, and cranberry."
Emily and Matt Hyland, Owners of Pizza Loves Emily, Brooklyn, NY
"Our go-to wine for Thanksgiving is White Rose pinot noir from the Dundee Hills in Oregon. Emily and I are part of their wine club and are always impressed by the wine’s beautiful roundness and elegance. It's a perfect pairing with duck since we don't do turkey.”
Matt Jennings, Chef-Owner of Townsman, Boston, MA
"I like the Westport Rivers RJR Brut, made locally in Westport, Mass. It's light and crushable, something you can sip gradually throughout the day. It has a pleasant medium-bodied mouthfeel with notes of vanilla and tart apple, and pairs well with seafood, charcuterie, cheese, and pretty much anything that will be on the table."