It seems as though every Thanksgiving people ask the same question: "What wine goes best with turkey?" I gave this some thought last Thanksgiving, while watching our annual 21-pound bird bob around like a giant McNugget in five gallons of boiling peanut oil, and decided that the problem isn’t the turkey at all. Turkey, as we all know, is about the least flavorful item on the Thanksgiving table. Sans gravy and stuffing, you could match anything from Albariño to Zinfandel with it and come out fine.
So the real issue is all those side dishes. What you want is a wine that goes equally well with brussels sprouts, sausage stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, creamed onions, corn bread and 15 or 20 other Thanksgiving must-haves. This means a wine that not only manages to have wonderful flavor but also wonderful balance— neither too tannic nor too acidic, neither too alcoholic nor too light. It needs the zip to cut through cream, the delicacy to enhance subtle seasonings and the flavor to stand up to a host of other, not always complementary flavors—all qualities the following wines have. And, of course, all of them are perfect matches for turkey.
2005 Hogue Pinot Grigio ($10) Pinot Grigio (or Pinot Gris; they’ re the same grape) has become one of the Pacific Northwest’s most widely planted white varieties. Hogue’s version hews to the lighter, more Italian style, with a light floral aroma and nectarine-citrus flavors.