Thanksgiving: 10 Tips For Drinking Well On This Best Of Drinking Holidays

Every year, it's the same story: what to pair with the Thanksgiving Day meal. Here's a newsflash for you: nothing pairs with the Thanksgiving Day meal. Or rather, so many different wines pair with so many different parts of the meal that trying to match one or two to the spread is an exercise in oeno-futility. But you have to drink something, right? We tapped Daniel Beedle, wine director at Betony in New York, for tips on happy Turkey Day drinking without all the pairing malarkey.

"The Thanksgiving Day meal is an amalgamation of many different plates from many different sub-cultures in America," says Beedle. "You'll have deep-South dishes like sweet potatoes and marshmallows, then Texas-style stuffings with walnuts and raisins, then turkey and vegetables. It's difficult to get one wine to pair to all of these. A better strategy is to find wines that drink well with everything. That means keeping things simple."

He offers 10 Thanksgiving drinking tips:

1. This is no time to geek out. Save the fancy or obscure stuff you break out to impress your wine geek friends and stick to straightforward wines. "Not everyone is going to be an aficionado when it comes to wine. Uncle Bob likes to drink his Budweiser no matter what," says Beedle. "The Montrachet is not really necessary here. Avoid anything too cerebral." But that doesn't mean you can't serve something interesting. Riesling can please both your inner wine geek and Aunt Mary, especially one with a hint of sweetness to stand up to T-Day's sweeter dishes. Go for a zesty, peachy Schloss Schönborn Kabinett Riesling 2009 from Germany ($25 or a homegrown 2012 Riesling with a drier, fuller palate from Forge Cellars in New York ($20 at

2. Drink American. "It's all about American wine for me on this American holiday," says Beedle. Here, here. Time to break out the California Zin and the Oregon Pinot Noir. From Sonoma, organic Sky Vineyards' Mt. Veeder Zinfandel 2009 is lively yet muscular ($37 at Montebruno Eola-Amity Hill Pinot Noir 2010 from Oregon is made naturally, showing great minerality and acidity ($25 at K&L Wine Merchants).

3. Pop a cork. People usually associate bubbly with New Year's Eve, but isn't the fall harvest reason enough to celebrate? It doesn't have to be Dom Perignon. In fact, per Tip No. 1, it's probably better if it isn't. Try a floral, elegant Bellavista Franciacorta from Lombardy ($30 at Sherry-Lehman). Or a fruity, spicy Huber Hugo Rosé Sparkling from Austria ($14 at Wollaston Wines).

4. Speaking of pink... "I don't want to pass up rosé," says Beedle. And your fussy cousin Pat won't either. Who can turn down a pretty, pink wine? Go for ripe and gulpable Domaine Rimbert's Petit Cochon Bronze from the Languedoc ($22 at Or make your life easy with our longtime favorite, organic boxed 2009 rosé from Yellow + Blue Wines ($11 at Gordon's Wine).

5. November is Beaujolais season. "Gamay is really easy-drinking, very expressive and really affordable," says Beedle. "You get a lot of value out of it, depending on how it's produced, which can be anything from light and quaffable to more complex and age-worthy." Marcel Lapierre's Raisins Gaulois 2012 is aways a great deal ($12 at Or treat yourself to a silky, complex cru Beaujolais like Guy Breton Morgon 2011 ($26 at The Old & Rare Wine Co.).

6. Find some red fizz. Forget the sickly-sweet stuff you've long associated with sparkling reds. The category has grown up since the fizzy grape juice you swilled back in the day. Dry and off-dry wines manage to be fruit-forward without being overwhelmingly grape-y. Try Lambrusco dell'Emilia Camillo Donati 2010, made much like champagne, but red ($20 at Aliança Tinto Bruto is a rustic Portuguese sparkler made from the native grape Baga ($11 at Saratoga Wine Exchange).

7. Seek out cider. We must have bubbles on the brain. Or maybe cider is just the perfect autumnal sipper. Farnum Hill Extra Dry from New Hampshire, made with heirloom apples and no "dosage" – that's champagne talk for added sugar – is crisp, tart and a little earthy ($16 at Gordon's Wine). Or opt for off-dry Eve's Cidery Autumn Gold from New York ($14 at Northside Wine & Spirits).

8. Avoid high alcohol. "High-alcohol wines are just going to put you to sleep," says Beedle. "You want to stay up to spend time with your family, right?" So, save the Napa cabs for another night – or at least for the latter half of the meal.

9. Serve something sweet. What to serve with pumpkin pie? "For something affordable and accessible, try a moscatel. You're going to want something to go with cardamom and baking spices, something with good acidity." He recommends viscous and bright Jorge Ordonez Victoria #2 2011 from Spain ($19 at

10. Digest, damn you! You might be struggling to keep yourself upright at the end of the meal, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't serve a nightcap. A bitter, herbaceous digestivo will help turkey-filled tummies settle. "One that even grandma would like is vermouth. Just put an ice cube in it — it drinks beautifully." Atsby Armadillo Cake from New York is bittersweet and spiced ($39 at

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