This is pretty last minute, but what kind of wine should I serve with Thanksgiving dinner? We’re having the usual stuff. — Todd
Young fellow, first be sure that, whether muscatel or Margaux, the wine is wine you like. There’s nothing sillier than running off and buying six bottles that some critic has anointed (even such an authority as myself), only to find that, to you, the stuff tastes like plonk. A holiday feast is a time for family and familiarity, not first-time meetings.
As for myself, I prefer to explore the dustiest alcoves of my wine cellar in search of lost treasure — I enjoy the childlike delight on my guests’ faces when I uncork a 1929 Latour — but the great Bordeaux and I are old, old friends.
Beyond all that, be sure that it’s wine you want, not something else. Wine is, of course, the only civilized mealtime drink, but perhaps you have only a passing acquaintance with civilized society. Nothing to be ashamed of! Many a trembling punter steels himself for a trip to the wine merchant, feeling only wine will do for the festive occasion. But if he loves beer, so be it — though a well-laid table deserves quality ale, not lager in cans.
And if, perchance, you find the cocktail hour extends through the dinner hour, and your guests clamor not for wine but for another Manhattan — well, a good host pleases his guests, rather than enforcing his will upon them. Enjoy your peculiar American holiday.