Wines have a tough job at Thanksgiving. They have to adapt like culinary chameleons, hopping among the platters of various flavors in the typical spread. For example, our Minimalist Menu includes turkey and gravy, tangy stuffing, sweet maple potatoes, and a salad with salty cheese. With so many different flavors, it's best to put a white and a red on the table, and let folks help themselves to what they like. A California red zinfandel such as Rosenblum Cellars Vintners Cuvee (Sonoma; $11) has the fruit and spice to handle all those tastes quite well. For your white, skip the oakiness in many chardonnays and choose a grape with the body and lushness to handle both meat and sweet flavors. Viognier, an aromatic white varietal, does the job nicely; try Smoking Loon (California; $9).
The bold flavors presented in our Inspired Recipes for Leftover Turkey, Thai Curry Turkey and Tangy BBQ Sandwich, also present a challenge for wine pairing. For Thai Curry Turkey, the spicy ginger-apricot flavors of Gewürztraminer would be perfect with the exotic scents of coconut milk and curry. Try Columbia Crest Two Vines Gewürztraminer ($8).
For the Tangy BBQ Sandwich, the zesty acidity of a New Zealand sauvignon blanc will stand up beautifully to the tang of the barbecue. Go for Monkey Bay Sauvignon Blanc ($9.99).