As an American dangerously close to becoming British, I’m happy to say I’ve taken to many traditions and celebrations (my favourite being bonfire night - it took me a while to get my head wrapped around celebrating failed terrorism with fireworks and a massive bonfire, but now I love it!). But one tradition I made certain to introduce to my British family and friends is Thanksgiving, which 16 of us will celebrate at my house next weekend.
We’ll be serving turkey, stuffing, sweet potato and sage mash, green been and mushroom casserole, red wine cabbage, steamed veg, pumpkin pie, and a cheese board. I’d like to pick up a case of 6 wines for around £75 to go with the the meal, but I’m struggling on the right combination. Do I buy a couple ‘nicer’ bottles and then supplement with a few under £8s? My family leans red, but I love a quality rich white (Alsace pinot gris perhaps). Should I remain loyal to the homeland and buy American or be humble and diversify? Decisions decisions. Any thoughts or wine recommendations are most welcome!
Tricky wine pairing task Julian, but no doubt you are experienced at these flavour combinations! It’s a bit like a Christmas dinner with all that variety of flavours. I’d be tempted to try Aussie Shiraz or perhaps a Californian Zinfandel if you want to loyal to the USA? Chablis if you want a white, perhaps? Pumpkin pie isnt something I have eaten so I googled possible wine pairings and sherry came up - oloroso or cream. TWS has some wonderful sherries so happy days! For the cheese just go for whatever you love best. Maybe introduce a bit of a French theme and have the cheese before the pumpkin pie if you want to keep drinking red wine.
I think it probably makes sense to go for 6 wines at around the £12 mark, rather than go for a bottle or two of something fancier and then some cheaper bottles. If you’ve got 16 guests, and only 2 bottles of the special wine, it won’t go very far! And at around £12 you can get some pretty good wine.
Some great suggestions from @JayKay there I reckon. I might suggest something a bit more full bodied than a Chablis for the white option. You could keep it American and go for this:
Nicely within budget!
As for reds, Zinfandel and Shiraz would both be good. There’s a bargain Aussie shiraz that I’ve enjoyed lately which would be a good shout:
There are a couple of reasonably priced Californian pinot noirs that might be worth a look - Pedroncelli Russian River Valley and Parker Station Pinot Noir. I guess they might be slightly on the light side for the turkey feast, but having something less heavy on hand for later in the day might not be a bad shout! Especially if you want to try and stay up for some of the Washington game…
Brilliant, cheers @JayKay & @Bargainbob! I should have noted that although there will be 16 around the table, six are kids and two are non-drinkers. Aussie Shiraz is a great idea - and the Benchmark will allow me to stretch my budget elsewhere. Also just realised this is a perfect occasion to try the new Exhibition Zin from Napa. Sherry is a great shout too.
NFL will definitely be on the tele. We’re celebrating Saturday so I’ll have to replay Thursday’s games. Fingers crossed I can avoid the results for two days…
Thanksgiving will also be celebrated at this house, though we only fly the stars and stripes on 4th July. If you want a really punchy Zinfandel try the Brazin. Don’t tell TWS but it’s on special offer at Waitrose at the moment.
I tend to go French for Thanksgiving (even though I’m originally from California). There are familial and vinous reasons for this, but if you need an excuse, go with the French support of America as it broke free of Britain.
I pretty much always have a Beaujolais Nouveau knocking about the table which is seasonal, fun and goes ok enough with the turkey, but the nicer wines from the region do work well for those who like lighter reds. For the heavier palates, you can’t beat a Châteauneuf du Pape, but for the price I’d suggest a well made Cote du Rhone. As for the white, I think a white Rhone would be absolutely perfect for your tastes. Two of each of the below would be the perfect mixed case for the table at your price, or swap one out for the sherry if you want a wine that would be good with both the cheese and the pumpkin pie.
Sorry @Justin, but 6 bottles between 16 people seems a bit mean. Isn’t generosity the spirit of Thanksgiving
With 6 standard 125ml glasses a bottle you’re looking at 2.25 glasses a person.
If you pick two bottles each of three wines to match each of the the main, cheese and dessert courses then each person would have less than 94ml of that wine.
Maybe all 16 people won’t be drinking…
My American friends tend to go for Chardonnay or Pinot Noir with the turkey and as you prefer reds, I’d suggest the latter. As thanksgiving is a soley North American tradition I’d go for US wines; I’ve been impressed in the past by the Lemelson PNs, there’s two on the TWS current list and the less expensive is
but would still make a dent in your budget.
As the tradition started there it should really be an eastcoast wine but TWS doesn’t currently list any from Virginia
But how about 2 Lemelson PNs = £39 for main course
2 Society Zins = £15.90
and 2 Societys Port = 19.90 for dessert and cheese
if you have only 6 wines for a 3 couse thanksgiving meal for 16 people I would go for 3 bottles of the Lemelson Pinot Noir and 2 of the Society Port. OK, that’s 5 bottles, but the smaller servings amd higher alcohol of Port evens things out
Either could go with the main course and cheese and the Port could match the Cheese and dessert,
That would take you £3.40 above your £75 budget, but you did say ‘about’ and if you collect the wines from the showroom you’ll get a discount of 25p per bottle bringing the price down to £76.90.
(edited because I got my sums wrong first time around)
Great ideas, Peter. I’ve had the chance to try the Lemelson Pinot Noir and it is absolutely delightful. I also think I have a bottle of the Society’s Port stashed away somewhere, which will free me up for another bottle of something else.
Also, I should have mentioned in my original post that there will only be 8 of us drinking; the other 8 include kids and a couple of non-drinkers. Thinking… maybe 6 bottles still isn’t enough