POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – Thanksgiving is a time to eat, drink and be merry. And 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.
At Wine Connection on Westchester Avenue in Pound Ridge, Chris White says, “We like to tell our customers that Thanksgiving is an American holiday, so stick with American wines.”
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 mild taste 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.”
Jay Goldstein, who owns Salem Wine & Liquors on Route 35 in South Salem, along with his wife Elyse, said that, before everyone sits down to eat, you might want to start the festivities with a champagne to get everyone relaxed and in the mood.
“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.”
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."