For many, Thanksgiving is the greatest of holidays. What’s better than a day devoted to eating and drinking with family and friends? For me, nothing. But the question that recurs every year is what will we be drinking?

Looking back on the last few holidays, I always return to the same old favorites, and for good reason. How can you go wrong sipping on Chardonnay, Gamay, and Syrah with mashed sweet potatoes, beets, mushroom stuffing, and turkey? But maybe this year will be different. Maybe this year will be the first time the family smokes their turkey or even deep-fries it.

I reached out to friends, asking how they plan on cooking their Thanksgiving day bird. In the end, four preparations reigned supreme: roasted, deep fried, sous vide, and smoked.

Listed below are the four cooking preparations with the three general qualities the turkey will present. This will be our guide to figuring the best types of wine to drink. Each turkey preparation has white and red wine recommendations. I decided to recommend particular grape varieties instead of exact bottles of wine. This will allow you to decide on a particular grape (let’s say Pinot Noir) and then pick out a few different expressions of the grape variety. Maybe Pinot Noir from California, France, and New Zealand to see which one tickles your fancy the most. But if you’re interested, there are a few recommendations most of which can be found locally at our Charleston area wine shops (please note: price of wine could vary). So, let’s have some fun, drink some wine, and remember the only “wrong” glass of wine is one that’s empty.


The Classic Brine and Roast
herbaceous, citrus, moist

White Varieties: Chardonnay (classic), Chenin Blanc (alternative), Vernaccia (playful)

Red Varieties: Pinot Noir (classic), Rosé (alternative), Trousseau (playful)

Sandhi Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County, California 2011 — lemon, limes, toasty, nutty. $30
Domaine Huet, Le Haut Lieu, Vouvray Sec, 2011 — lemon zest, melon, chalky. $29
Montenidoli, Vernaccia, ‘Carato’, San Gimignano, Tuscany, Italy 2007 — citrus zest, bay leaf, honey. $39
Belle Pente, Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2011 — raspberry, allspice, mushroom. $25
Hirsch Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Bohan Dillon, Sonoma Coast, California 2011 — plum, cherry, fresh. $40
Lioco, Rosé of Carignon, Indica, Mendocino, California 2012 — floral, nectarine, dried herbs. $18

Deep Fried
crispy, succulent, textural

White Varieties: Chardonnay (classic), Riesling (alternative), Pinot Gris (playful)

Red Varieties: Cabernet Franc (classic), Nebbiolo (alternative), Nerello Mascalese (playful)

Jean-Paul Brun, Chardonnay, Beaujolais, France 2011 — melon, pineapple, apple, mineral. $20
Hexamer, Riesling, ‘Quarzit’, Pfalz, Germany 2010 — spice, rock, ripe pear, citrusy tang. $19
Big Table Farm, Pinot Gris, Wirtz Vineyard, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2012 — peach, tangerine, cinnamon, salty. $32
Philippe Alliet, Cabernet Franc, Chinon, France 2010 — raspberry, black pepper, spicy. $22
Vajra, Nebbiolo blend, Langhe, Piedmont, Italy 2010 — floral, plum, Asian spice, almond. $15
Romeo del Castello, Nerello Mascalese blend, Allegracore, Etna Rosso, Sicily, Italy — cherry, white pepper, smoky. $33

Sous Vide
precise, pure, flaky

White Varieties: Gruner Veltliner (classic), Pallagrello Bianco (alternative), Savagnin (playful)

Red Varieties: Gamay (classic), Frappato (alternative), Mondeuse (playful)

Bernhard Ott, Gruner Veltliner, ‘Am Berg’, Wagram, Austria 2012 — savory, ginger, weighty. $21
Vestini Campagnano, Pallagrello Bianco, Campania, Italy 2011 — waxy, honeysuckle, grapefruit peel. $18
Jacques Puffeney, Savagnin, Arbois, Jura, France 2009 — Fino Sherry-esque, nutty, sea salt. $29
Foillard, Gamay, Cote du Py, Beaujolais, France 2011 — cherry, prunes, unctuous. $39
Valle del Acate, Frappato, Sicily, Italy — bright berries, thyme, fresh. $35 (Magnum)

smoky, juicy, tender

White Varieties: Viognier (classic), Verdelho (alternative)

Other: Whistle Pig ’10 yr’ Rye Whiskey (playful), Syrah (classic), Tempranillo (alternative), Westbrook ‘One Claw’ (playful)

Melville, Viognier, Verna’s Vineyard, Santa Barbara County, California 2012 — beeswax, marshmallow, citrus zest. $29
Scholium Project, Verdelho blend, Midan al-Tahrir, Lodi, California 2012 — summer melons, hazelnuts, fresh yet weighty. $26
Chateau de Saint Cosme, Syrah, Cotes du Rhone, France 2012 — raspberry jam, bacon, herbal. $12
Patrick Jasmin, Syrah, Côte-Rôtie, France 2005 — currant, tobacco, baking spices, chewy. $46
La Rioja Alta, Tempranillo, Viña Alberdi, Rioja, Spain 2006 — coffee, vanilla, balsamic, rosemary. $19

David is the GM and beverage director at FIG

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