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A happy excuse to sip a lot of wine

Thanksgiving wines available in Tacoma

Tacoma Wine Merchants owner Bill Bonnie can hook you up with the perfect wine for Thanksgiving.

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There are many things we leave until the last minute when it comes to our holiday meals, and we shouldn't. It could be the cranberry sauce. Who was supposed to bring that? Nobody wants to because no one eats it. AH! Whip cream for the pumpkin pie! Who is supposed to grab that? Speaking of, make it with real whip cream. It's not that tough.

What's usually left out is the planning for the dinner beverage. Usually Uncle Joe will grab a half rack of Budweiser or bring the infamous bottle of homemade mystery wine. This isn't right people. We need to treat our Thanksgiving dinner beverage like the stuffing - a perfect side dish.

It's doesn't have to be rocket science, since turkey is one of the easiest meats to pair wine or beer with. If you haven't noticed, turkey is really not that exciting unless you jazz it up a little bit. Smoke it, deep fry it, baste it in butter and herbs, something has to be done before turkey can get your attention.

For you red wine lovers, Pinot Noir is an excellent pick. Some Pinots, especially those from the central coast region of California or Russian River, have a tendency to be a little smoky and a more fruit forward. Oregon Pinots can be a touch lighter in body, but rich in flavor and higher in acidity. I recommend Toad Hollow from Russian River and Central Coast California winery, Hahn. You can find both of these wines at Abby's On Broadway.

If you want a little more fruit and spice, watch out for a Petite Sirah or Zinfandel. While the flavor profiles don't match up to cranberry sauce, they contribute the same kind of zest that can pull more flavor out of your turkey. Azarra Salon and Winehas the Huntington Zinfandel that will fill that bill and many others by their recommendation. CORK! and The Wine Bankcan help you with the Huntington Petite Sirah and more!

Drier versions of Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Viognier are my perfect white choices for the bird. All of these varietals have a lovely floral character and hearty body that compliment the turkey, but can stand up to the heavier sides like stuffing, potatoes and gravy, even brussel sprouts. Look for brands like Clean Slate Riesling, St. Joseph Gewürztraminer, Cougar Crest and Montpellier Viognier.Find some of these at Stadium Thriftway and Wildside Wines.

Want something in between? Think pink.Now, I don't mean pink like White Zinfandel. I am referring to rosé. Sparkling or still, you can't go wrong with rosé. It really IS the ultimate Thanksgiving wine. What's great about rosé is that it can come in any red varietal. I recommend rosé of Pinot Nior, Grenache, or Syrah. Ask Bill at Tacoma Wine Merchants for his favorite!

Is it beer you desire for Thanksgiving? I suggest Pike's Monk's Uncle, Anderson Valley Winter Solstice and The Bruery's Autumn Maple. Again, these are some of my favorites because they compliment the meal, not compete with it. Beer pairs with food, dare I say it, almost better than wine. Look for brown ales, Belgian Triples and winter styles with pie-type spices. The beers above can be found at 99 Bottles in Federal Way and some atStadium Thriftway too.

These are just a few of the many terrific options. Don't hesitate to ask questions when you shop for your holiday beverage(s). Wine and beer shop proprietors are teaming with knowledge and suggestions that will make your Thanksgiving memorable and much tasty! Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

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