Turkey Special!

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!

à bientôt…

Copyright© W. John Switzer 2003 – 2014.


Author: John Switzer

I am wine writer, educator and tour guide. From 2005 to June 2014 I published a bi-weekly newsletter, the Winesights Vintages Newsletter (WVN). This Newsletter was closed in July 2014 when the Government of Canada put in place the onerous administrative requirements of Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation. The legacy of WVN continues on this blog spot where I post wine-related articles as well as reviews of a small selection of best-value wines from each bi-weekly LCBO Vintages release. I hold the WSET Diploma, I am a WSET Certified Educator, I teach in the WSET program at the Independent Wine Education Guild in Toronto where I am the past Director of the WSET Diploma program. Since 2010 I have been a judge at Decanter World Wine Awards on the Rhône panel and I am a member of the Society of Wine Educators.

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