Hopefully your holiday menu planning is well in hand or, if you’re lucky, you’ve managed to abdicate hosting duties altogether, which means you can focus your energies on the boozier parts of the festivities. But where to begin? Try American Provisions. The boutique shops (there’s one in Southie and one in Dorchester) have a beautifully curated selection of beer and wine (as well as plenty of tasty treats to complete your table or bring to your host and/or hostess). Wine Director Mira Stella, who’s overseeing operations at their new wine bar Gray’s Hall, (which will be opening on East Broadway in December), shared some recommendations so you can pick up the perfect accompaniments to your Thanksgiving dinner and the whole holiday weekend.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching… what are you looking for when you pick wines to pair with the traditional holiday meal?
Variety and ease. Thanksgiving food can be rich in fat and sometimes starchy, so whether or not your guests know it they need some acid to cut through everything. For a white I’d be looking for something with some weight to stand up to bigger flavors. For a red, something with generous fruit and bright acidity: a Pinot Noir or Gamay perhaps.
What do you recommend as the ideal bottle to bring (as a guest) for your host? Something that’s versatile and accommodating but also kinda cool with maybe a talking point or two.
I’m always the person who shows up with white wine. Lots of folks are just thinking red for the holidays, so it helps to have some variety. Maison En Belles Lies has an affordable and crazy delicious Bourgogne Aligote that fits the bill perfectly. It has texture and body, as well as a cutting minerality and fresh acid. It’s versatile enough to carry you from the prep counter to the dinner table without missing a beat. The less-known varietal and cool producer also helps to move the conversation along.
If your host is a bit more traditional, a Beaujolais can never be wrong at Thanksgiving. Famille Dutraive has a stunning Chénas. It’s totally electric with bold violet and bright red cherries. Jean-Louis Dutraive created this label with his children, so the winemaking is really a family effort. Throw it in the fridge for half an hour before dinner and it will be at a perfect temp.
Is there anything in particular that you like to have on hand to start the festivities – something that’ll get the conversation flowing and open up the palate, but not have guests in their cups by the time dinner rolls around?
Definitely something bubbly and festive. One of my favorites is i Clivi RBL; Brut Nature Ribolla Gialla that only goes through one fermentation. A perfect blend of seaspray and fresh citrus with a lean herbaceous quality and delicate bubbles. It’s one of those wines that anyone can enjoy, and it doesn’t crush your palette before feasting.
I also love a low ABV beer to start. Oxbow Farmhouse Pale Ale is dry, hazy, and super bubbly. It goes great with cheeses and veggies, or whatever else your hosts have prepared for snacking.
Lots of folks will be eating pie after their big holiday feast – what dessert wine would you suggest to accompany the usual suspects (apple, pecan, pumpkin etc.)?
Go with Sherry! I’d recommend a dry, oxidative style like Amontillado or Oloroso. El Maestro Sierra’s 15 year Oloroso is hard to go wrong with. It brings to mind roasted nuts and salty caramel while finishing dry, perfect with any rich desserts.
What about when you’ve overindulged a little bit? Some people swear by fernet; are there other digestives that’ll do the trick?
An Americano Cocktail. A little sweet vermouth, a little Campari, and soda water finished with an orange peel. It’s refreshing, eases digestion, and it gives you a little break being low in alcohol.
Some chilled, super light red wine. You’ve overdone it for (probably) a few days, so don’t challenge yourself or over-think it.
What’s a good thing to have on hand over the holiday weekend if you’re holed up somewhere chilling out with the whole family — a crowd-pleaser for all (21+) ages, if you will!
Pink or red bubbly. Furlani Rosso Frizzante is hard to go wrong with. Or you could use up some of that vermouth and Campari from your Americano Cocktails to impress everyone by whipping up some post-lunch Negronis.