Russ Winton: Wine List

Wine tips for your turkey dinner

By Russ Winton

For some, Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they see only once a year and then decide once a year is way too often. For others, it is a day of relaxation and feasting with people they love. If you are hosting the big day and stressing about wine, here are a few simple suggestions.

▪ Start with Champagne. A few bottles of sparkling wine will jumpstart the party, and chilled bubblies are perfect with appetizers. You don’t have to buy expensive French Champagne. Cavas and proseccos work just as well (see below).

▪ If you request that your guests bring wine for the dinner, make every effort to serve it. If they bring wine on their own, consider it a gift. If however, the wine is appropriate for the meal, feel free to serve it. If your guest asks you to serve the wine they brought, bite your lip, honor the request and don’t invite them next year.

▪ Pour in the correct order. Light white wines (pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc) first, then rich whites (chardonnay, viognier), dry roses, light reds (grenache, pinot noir, gamay), big reds (merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah) and finally sweet dessert wine (port, sherry, muscat). Pour ladies first, starting with the eldest.

▪ Pour the right amount. Don’t pour a full glass (5 ounces). A 3- or 4-ounce pour is ideal. After the pour, place the open bottles within reach of your guests. As host, before your refill your own glass, you should ask those sitting next to you if they would like more. Plan on one bottle per person. I know that seems like a lot but Thanksgiving is a daylong affair and someone will want a turkey sandwich before the table is even cleared.

▪ Bubblies to consider. Bargain (under $7): Barefoot Bubbly Rose Cuvee, Zonin Prosecco, Freixenet Carta Blanca Cava. Near bargain ($8-12); Korbel Brut or Extra Dry, Domaine Ste. Michelle Brut or Extra Dry, Segura Viudas Cava Brut. Moderate ($13-16) Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut, Mumm Napa Brut Rose and Domain Chandon Blanc de Noirs. Upper end ($17-20); Kirkland Champagne, Roederer Estate Brut and Scharffenberger Brut. Remember to serve the best/expensive bottle first and don’t worry about those guests who come late.

▪ Cheers! At some time during the day, someone should toast the host and hostess. If no one does, you should do it. Thank them for coming and making the day special. Since we are a country of immigrants and thankful to be here, saying cheers in your native language always adds a nice touch to the toast. Here’s to a great Thanksgiving.

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