Happy Hour

Wine Wisdom

Thanksgiving is around the corner, and most of us will sit down with friends and family to stuff ourselves until we can hardly walk. With the plethora of food available, wine should have a place at the table, too! Here are my top picks for turkey day.

1. Champagne is a great selection to kick off the holiday, and it’s perfect with any snacks you enjoy while waiting for the turkey to cook. If you don’t want to break the bank, Cremant de Alsace is a good choice. Lucien Albrecht is a wonderful producer of sparkling wine that can be found at almost any reputable wine shop. His sparkling rosé also is incredible and pairs well with main courses. (If you are still undecided, go for an inexpensive bottle of prosecco.)

2. Riesling is another top choice for the season. High in acidity like champagne, this white wine gets your mouth watering and ready for food. I would go for sweeter varieties; dry ones may fall flat with Thanksgiving food, so avoid Australian and Rheingau selections. Any choice from the Mosel region should work just fine. These typically have residual sugar, which means the wine is sweet or semi-sweet, and that’s what you want with dishes like turkey and cranberry sauce. A less expensive alternative to German rieslings is Chateau Ste. Michelle from Washington state.

3. Beaujolais plays well with glazed baked ham, and it won’t overpower the white meat on the table. It is made from the Gamay grape grown in southern Burgundy. For Thanksgiving, you want a Beaujolais Nouveau, a fruity and non tannic style of wine. Pick up recent vintages at your local wine shop or grocery store.

4. Zinfandel is another great option for the Thanksgiving table. It’s a fruit-forward red wine with berries on the nose and palate. Zinfandel grapes are picked when some are ripe or overripe and some are not; this gives the wine a touch of sweetness that goes well with Thanksgiving dishes. Look for selections from the Lodi region of California.

5. Dessert wine is a no-brainer with so many treats being passed around. Whether you choose Sauternes, Port, Tokaji, Vin Santo or Icewine, your guests will enjoy these luscious beverages with their pie and cookies. Make sure the wine is sweeter than the dessert itself.

Anthony Geary is sommelier at The Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis.