Turkey Tipples

The Best Wines to Pair With Your Holiday Dinner

A master sommelier's cheat sheet.

By Megan McDonald November 1, 2017 Published in the November 2017 issue of Sarasota Magazine

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Whole Foods master sommelier David Gouveia shares his favorite wines to pair with Thanksgiving dinner.

Image: Shutterstock

You’ve got your holiday side dishes mapped out, your turkey brined and your desserts on lock. But which wines should you serve with your festive feast? We asked sommelier David Gouveia for advice. Gouveia, who was previously the general manager of the restaurants at The Plaza in New York City and The Breakers in Palm Beach, is now the specialty associate coordinator for Whole Foods Markets in Florida (including Sarasota), overseeing the stores’ wine, beer and cheese departments, as well as their juice bars. Gouveia, who’s also a certified cheese professional—one of only 200 in the world—told us his latest favorite wines to pair with holiday dinners.

Empire Estate Dry Reisling

“People love or hate Reislings. Some are bone-dry and some are sweet,” Gouveia explains. “But this one is light, with a thinner opacity [and notes of] lime zest and golden peaches, finishing off with a mineral finish. It’s the best of both worlds, and it’s perfect for starters, especially light-style cheeses.”

Monte Rustico Langhe Blanco

Gouveia recommends starting the meal with white wines, and another one he loves is this light white from Italy. “It’s similar to a sauvignon blanc, but a little thicker,” he says. “The nose is floral, with elderflowers, jasmine and orange blossom, but it’s got a lot of depth and finesse. It’s great for hors d’oeuvres, but it will even hold up to poultry.”

Banshee Pinot Noir

A pinot noir is a great go-to red for Thanksgiving or the holidays. Gouveia recommends Banshee pinot noir from Sonoma County; the pinot grapes thrive in the region’s cool growing climate. The wine is aged in oak, with a fruity nose (think cherries and plums) and a silky finish with notes of cherry, hibiscus and orange. “This is an elegant wine,” Gouveia says. “And it’s great with turkey.”

Criterion Cabernet Sauvignon

From the Coonawarra region of South Australia, Criterion’s cabernet sauvignon is inky and rich. “The Coonawarra region is famous for its high-mineral soil,” Gouveia says. “It sits on top of limestone and gives this wine a unique eucalyptus, black plum and currant flavor. This is the wine for the meat section of your meal.”

Lassalle Champagne ($40-$45)
Jacques Bardelot Champagne ($30-$35)

Gouevia likes to finish off a holiday meal with champagne, and he particularly likes two sparklers. The first is J. Lassalle, a premier cru at an “unprecedented” price. “This will compete against any of the big guys, and it goes well with anything from cheese to turkey to dessert,” Gouveia explains. The second: Jacques Bardelot, which comes from a small growing region in France. “If you like Veuve, you’re going to love this,” he says. Pro tip: The better the wine, the longer the finish. “You can tell a wine is a high-quality product when it lingers for 30 seconds to a minute or more on your palate,” Gouevia says. Both of these fit that bill.

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