I've been invited to an intimate Thanksgiving dinner. I've been asked to bring a couple of bottles of wine. I need suggestions on sweet and dry reds and whites. The meats to be served are turkey breasts and ham. Any suggestions on what to buy and where? Thanks!
For this kind of meal, you do not want something too subtle or too complex. The wide range of flavors in a typical Thanksgiving meal call for straightforward fruit driven flavors with a good acidity level to cut the richness of the food. Sweet foods like yams will make the tannins in a big gutsy red like zin or cabernet or syrah taste harsh.
Go to Weygant Wines in Cleveland Park and buy Albert Mann Alsatian whites: Gewurztraminer, Tocai Pinot Gris would be great. Also a super choice would be a German reisling. These days, there are simply too many incredible rieslings to make signalling one in particular that valuable an exercise, but I would look for Saarberger Rausch Spatlese from Zilliken Forstmeister Geltz, or something from Kuntsler. All these wines should be available in the $15 to 25 a bottle range. I would skip Italy for the white, which is hard for me to say, because there is really no equivalent meal to a Thanksgivig meal and Italian whites that might go with part of you meal (say the ham and yams, would be pretty forgettable with the turkey etc. Try to tick to spatlese or QBA or Estate Reislings with a hint of sweetness and not the dryer style rieslings which I find less versatile.
For a red, Pierre Chermette Beaujolais en Primeur 2009 which Dave McIntyre reviewed in the Post this week. again your are most likely to find this at Weygandt. If you want to go wlesewhere, here are more suggestions: you could look for a dolcetto from Italy for a red: I like Liugi Einaudi Vigna Tecc, La Slina Dolcetto d'Ovada Georgio Cherico or Marcarini. A last choice on red would be Lagrein from Hoffstater or Abbazia di Novacella.
Seconded on the suggestion of a spatlese Riesling or maybe a Gewurz; trying to match that many flavors with a red will drive you crazy. If you have to bring a red, instead of a Dolcetto, you may also want to look at a Beaujolais, which is the "traditional" red for turkey; I personally think either wouldn't go as well with ham as the whites, but some people need to have their reds. If you do go w/ a Beaujolais, try to get a "cru Beaujolais"; here's an article with some good recs for specific ones: