Here at the Sub-Zero and Wolf Culinary Events Center at Riggs Distributing, we are constantly thinking about food and wine, and creating new menus bringing them together. Our talented Marketing Manager, Bryan Nies, has a passion for wine, and quickly became our resident wine expert. With a personal collection of over 200 bottles and a list of favorite boutique wineries that broadens our awareness of local great wine–Bryan is an endless resource for fresh ideas on wine selection this holiday season. Here are some of his unexpected wines for Thanksgiving dinner that may become a new favorite any time of year.

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The traditional Thanksgiving dinner is full of big flavored dishes with contrasting flavors; green bean casseroles with sauce, stuffings, brussel sprouts, rich gravy, and sweet, tart cranberry sauce all compete on the palate in one delicious, family-focused meal. Finding the right wine to bring all of these elements together can be an almost impossible task. For example, choosing the American varietal Zinfandel, with its heavy berry flavors, seems like a like an obvious choice to match the cranberry sauce, but the usually higher alcohol content can make sipping this wine seem more like a strong cocktail, post bites of turkey, than a smooth compliment to the dinner.

Sparkling Shiraz 

Every celebration needs a sparkling wine, and why not choose one that will please your red wine drinkers and pair with the meal? The bubbles and acidity help tame the cranberry sauce and rich dishes, while the dark berry fruit flavors balance the fall herbs and spices of the meal. Your guests will take notice and the meal will be memorable from the first sip.

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Pinot Gris from Alsace or Oregon 

Yes, Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio are two names for the same grape. Grow that grape in Alsace or the Williamette Valley area in Oregon (for all of those who need an American bottle on your Thanksgiving table), and you have a range from the complex flavors of the Alsatian versions to the deliciously smooth and balanced versions of the Oregon wines. Be careful choosing the Alsatian versions however as some can be slightly sweet. Save that bottle for pumpkin pie. Try Bleasdale, or for a splurge Joseph.

Grenache Blanc

This unusual white is for everyone who loves chardonnay and… those who don’t. This full bodied wine with crisp acidity packs a punch by melding well with the rich stuffing and sauces while also taming the marshmellow sweet potatoes at the same time. Even better, Grenache blanc is a tremendous blending grape, so if you have trouble finding a maker, go with a blended white from Rhone (or the US) as well. For American picks, try Jaffurs or Tablas Creek (blends and single varietals).

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Beaujolais 

Some people prefer a still red wine at dinnertime and for that a lighter red will work better than the usual Cabernets, Zinfandels, and many American Pinots. Because of this, turn to Beaujolais. Not the simply styled nouveau that is most familiar but take time to find a traditionally grown and aged bottle.  Look for Beaujolais-Villages AOC or Cru Beaujolais on the label. Try Chateau Thivin, or on the bigger but very classy side, Domaine Marcel Lapierre.

What wines do you prefer to drink with your Thanksgiving meal? Let us know your favorite Thanksgiving wines below!WS-30_S_Door Open_Display_Fahrenheit

No matter what bottle you choose on Turkey Day, perfectly preserve it in a Sub-Zero Wine Storage Unit. Available in many sizes, Sub-Zero Wine Units will maintain your preferred temperature while protecting your wine from UV rays, humidity, heat, and vibrations. To make an appointment in our showroom to learn more about Sub-Zero wine units, click here.