Thanksgiving’s Wine BFFs: Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
It is a perennial story this time of year: “What are the ultimate Thanksgiving wines?” In most cases, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the top picks among food writers. We asked our La Crema Winemaker to explain why these wine varietals pair perfectly with Thanksgiving.
One of the primary reasons Chardonnays are at the top of a Thanksgiving wine list is the flexibility inherent in America’s most popular white wine grape. Chardonnay flavor profiles can range from fruit-forward with bright acidity, to big, rich and opulent. In either case, it’s the right white for the job.
Our winemaker recommends choosing a more delicate Chardonnay, like our Monterey Chardonnay, if you prefer white meat and lighter fare. If darker meat is your preference, consider a richer style. The lush mouth-feel, spice and caramel notes of our Russian River Chardonnay can hold up to the more intense flavors of the wing and leg meat while offering a complimentary taste spectrum to dishes like sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.
“The great thing about Pinot Noir is that it pleases a lot of palates,” our Winemaker remarks. “And it doesn’t overwhelm typical Thanksgiving food.” She adds that Pinot’s inherent earthiness and notes of plums, cherries, and spice notes like vanilla and nutmeg are a natural pairing with cranberries, dark meat turkey, stuffing and root vegetables.
Like Chardonnay, find a Pinot Noir that matches what you plan on eating. A darker, more concentrated Pinot Noir, like our Monterey will hold up to deeper flavors, while our Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, more elegant with hints of tea leaves and blueberries, is a good option for pairing with the variety of flavors of delicious side dishes that a Thanksgiving feast delivers.
Most of us here at La Crema never need a reason to break open a Pinot Noir Rosé. If you haven’t already polished it off, the brightness and crisp finish of the wine — like a lighter Chardonnay — can help cut through the richness of Thanksgiving turkey, or it can serve as a preamble to the main feast, to enjoy over cheese and conversation.