This edition is not about the utility birds you can get for 79¢ a pound at No Frills. Rather I am writing in response to several questions last weekend that went something like “what is the best wine to serve with turkey?”
This is not a difficult question to answer as turkey is such a neutral meat that almost anything will be an acceptable match: red, rosé or white, dry or off-dry, still or sparkling, etc.
Turkey doesn’t generally have a great deal of fat so it is not a good match for a tannic wine made with grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Nebbiolo and the like. Tannins provide a perfect complement to fatty meats in a way that both the wine and the food are enhanced. Tannins will do just the opposite with turkey so that the meat will disappear from palate view.
The best matches will be wines that have juicy acid to wet the palate for the dry white meat, fruity aromas and flavor to add some zest to the meal and a light-to-medium body to complement the usually heavy side dishes that go with turkey (think mashed potatoes drowning in gravy, yams moistened with butter and maple syrup, etc., etc.).
Narrowing the field a bit this list would include wines made with the following grapes: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Grenache/Syrah blends (my favourite match wine with turkey is Châteauneuf-du-Pape), traditional fermentation Gamay or Cabernet Franc.
White wines are also a good fit and would include wines made from Chardonnay (unoaked, please – consider a Chablis), off-dry Riesling, or a Sauvignon Blanc blend from Bordeaux, such as a Graves.
There are several wine currently available at the LCBO that make the grade for a turkey match and here a handful of ideas:
Ontario, Niagara – VQA St. David’s Bench Château Des Charmes Gamay Noir Droit 2010
Dry, red wine – $16.95 per bottle (CPC 346742)
Ontario, Niagara – VQA Vinemount Ridge Tawse Quarry Road Pinot Noir 2009
Extra dry, red wine – $34.95 per bottle (CPC 307686)
France, Southern Rhône – AOC Côtes Du Rhône Coudoulet De Beaucastel 2011
Extra dry, red wine – $29.95 per bottle (Vintages CPC 48884)
France, Loire – AOC Saumur Champigny Réserve Des Vignerons 2010
Extra dry, red wine – $17.95 per bottle (CPC 103879)
Germany, Mosel – Prädikatswein Dr. Hermann Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Auslese 2005
Medium, white wine – $21.95 per bottle (CPC 324285)
France, Burgundy – AOC Chablis Domaine Chenevières 2011
Extra dry, white wine – $20.95 per bottle (Vintages CPC 277913)
I hope these ideas are helpful. I suggest you have a white and a red at the table. Experiment and see what works for you!
Copyright© W. John Switzer 2003 – 2014.