LEWISBORO, N.Y. – Thanksgiving is a time to eat, drink and be merry.
While the eating and being merry part is easy, neophytes may be intimidated at the thought of buying the right type of wine or after-dinner drink. Fear not, local spirit shop proprietors are ready and eager to assist you.
Jay and Elyse Goldstein, who own Salem Wine & Liquors on Route 35 in South Salem say starting the festivities off with a sparkling wine is a good way to relax your guests.
“Prosecco is a nice Italian sparkling wine that I like a lot,” said Jay Goldstein. “Or you could start them with a cordial like Kahlua or Baily’s Irish Crème.”
To serve with dinner itself, Goldstein says you should choose something that isn’t going to overpower a mild-tasting meat, such as turkey.
“For a white wine, go with a Chardonnay or a Sauvignon Blanc,” he said. “For red – a Pinot Noir will go with just about anything.”
Goldstein said the best Pinot Noirs come from Oregon, but some good ones also can be found from California and New Zealand. He said New Zealand also produces good Sauvignon Blancs that have a “citrusy flavor that people seem to like.”
He said expect to pay around $14 to $28 a bottle for a Sauvignon Blanc and around $13 to $30 for a Pinot Noir.
At Wine Connection in Pound Ridge, Chris White says, “We like to tell our customers that Thanksgiving is an American holiday, so stick with American wines.”
Like Goldstein, he recommends a Sauvignon Blanc if you want a white wine, but also said Rieslings make a good choice.
“For reds, people like Pinot Noir and Zinfandels,” White said. “California grows more Zinfandel than anywhere else. It’s robust and spicy.”
White said he believes that when picking a Thanksgiving wine, you shouldn’t worry about the mildness of the turkey.
“It’s not just about the turkey,” he said. “You have sweet potatoes, stuffing, marshmallows – it’s such a strange variety of flavors so the wine has to be flexible.”
For after dinner, Goldstein recommends an ice wine – a sweet dessert wine made from frozen grapes. However, if your guest has over-indulged on turkey and stuffing, a digestivo – an after-dinner drink that soothes the tummy – may be in order.
For that, he recommends Amaro Averna, around $31 a bottle or Fernet Branca at $33. These drinks are made with an eclectic blend of many herbs.
“These are a real acquired taste,” warns White. “It’s like they were grinding up every herb and added water to it. It has a medicinal taste; you are drinking it for a cause.”
White says you may want to consider a port wine for after dinner.
“People will go for port after dinner especially when it’s cold,” he said. “It’s big and rich and isn’t cloyingly sweet like some after-dinner drinks.”
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