Worry-Free Wine Presentation at Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving can bring out the worry. Happily, there's one area that doesn't require excessive concern, and that's wine presentation. Here are my stress-relieving tips:
No Perfect Pick: Despite what some wine snobs say, there is no go-to wine for Thanksgiving. Some guests will like white, some will dig red and others (like me) will require both, so always have a white and a red on the table.
Start Sparkly: The fact that Thanksgiving doesn’t involve streamers and noisemakers isn’t a reason to avoid bubbles. Prosecco, Cava, Champagne, American sparkling wine or any other sparkler will add an expansive, celebratory prelude to your feast.
Cool the Reds: Chilling your reds — especially if they are the low-tannin, moderate-weight types I like to recommend — will focus their flavors and make them more refreshing. And who wouldn’t want to keep things cool with the dining room overheated from all that cooking, gluttony and familial tension?
Never Run Out: If your Thanksgiving is anything like mine, there’s always a contingent of dieters and deniers that venture only a few sips throughout the night. Don’t let these killjoys influence your wine planning; always have the equivalent of least a bottle per person ready to pour, as this is a holiday of plentitude, not a date with denial.
Go Big: Speaking of quantities, nothing beats serving some of your wine in large format bottles (e.g., magnums). Casual wines are increasingly available in large sizes, and nothing promotes welcome-to-the-feast conviviality like an XL bottle.
Think Inside the Box: On the subject of large containers, there’s no shame in using wine in a box. Not all boxed wine is created equal, however, so ask a good wine merchant to steer you to the best ones. And if a wine snob is coming to dinner, you have my blessing to hide the box in the kitchen and serve the wine in a fine crystal decanter.
Mark Oldman is a wine expert, acclaimed author and lead judge of the hit series The Winemakers.