Scratch this item off your Thanksgiving to-do list: deciding which wines to serve with the meal. Brian Duncan, wine director at Bin 36—a renowned Chicago restaurant and wine bar that strives to demystify wine and food pairing—solves the what-bottle-to-buy dilemma with these suggestions (all under $20) for our Thanksgiving menu:
Prefer to serve a red wine with the turkey? Duncan offers these tips: "Turkey has a neutral flavor, so it depends on how you're seasoning and cooking it. The classic roast turkey and bacon-nut stuffing on this Thanksgiving menu would be great with a Pinot Noir, which goes well with smoky bacon and has an acidity that works with a broad range of poultry, meat, and fish. Try the 2005 Hahn Estates Pinot Noir, from California's Monterey Coast." If you opt for the 45-minute roast turkey, "play to the garlic in the recipe with a Sangiovese like the 2005 Chianti DOCG from Fattoria di Piazzano in Tuscany. Its earthy hints of red plum, black tea, and leather will complement the herbal notes and pungent garlic."
If you're serving the endive, radicchio, and orange salad as a first course with its own wine, Duncan suggests a crisp white like the NV Vouvray Demi-Sec from Vigneau-Chevreau, in France's Loire Valley.
For a spectacular finish, says Duncan, serve the pumpkin mousse with gingersnaps alongside a glass of sherry, such as the 2003 Pedro Ximénez de Añada from Spain's Alvear winery.