Picking wines for Thanksgiving dinner? Keep it simple, sweetie

File photo by PHIL SKINNER

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File photo by PHIL SKINNER

Choosing the wines to serve with Thanksgiving dinner can be a daunting task — if you let it.

Let’s just admit that it’s impossible to find the perfect wine that won’t offend Aunt Florence, the consummate wine connoisseur of the family, while also pleasing cousin Fred, who drinks wine once a year and thinks all wines taste sour.

Not to mention the crazy-quilt flavors that are part of a Thanksgiving meal. There is no perfect match for sugar-laced cranberries, or marshmallow-glazed sweet potatoes.

Here are a few recommendations that keep it local, and, most importantly, keep it simple:

• Thursday, Nov. 16 is “Nouveau Beaujolais Day,” the annual release of the just-fermented, fruity red wine from Gamay grapes grown in the Beaujolais region of France (there are domestic versions as well). Some wine shops and grocers will be offering samples of the nouveau wines throughout the day and evening on Thursday. Call ahead, stop by, and taste a few. Then buy a couple of bottles of your favorite for the holiday dinner. Wine purists will turn up their noses (even farther) at nouveau, but the simple, refreshing wine, served slightly chilled, actually does go well with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

• Go to a local winery this weekend, sample, and buy what you like to drink. Why not extend the Locavore movement to wines, too? You can find most of the Miami Valley's wineries in this winery guide. But don't overlook JW's Wine Cellar at 724 E. Main St. in Trotwood, especially if you and your family like wines with some sweetness and other fruit flavors. The winery recently added Mango, Elderberry and Apple Twist wines to its lineup.

• Head to your local wine shop and ask for advice. The folks who work in our local wine shops are not snobs — they will help steer you to what you want, in the price range you want. And the wine shops have been on the lookout for deals. Here's an example: Rumbleseat Wine at 5853 Far Hills Ave. in Washington Twp. this week touted in its customer email newsletter a "Thanksgiving Day Bargain Hunter Wine:" a 2010 Joelle Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast that had an original market price of $54.99 but which is now available as a vintage close-out for $19.99.

• Or, stop by the Wine Gallery Wine Shop & Bistro at 5 W. Monument Ave. in downtown Dayton tonight, Nov. 15, after work for the shop's anniversary tasting. At least 20 wines will be available for sampling, allowing attendees to taste before they buy for Thanksgiving dinner. The event runs from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Samples are priced individually, based on the cost of the bottle.

Now THAT’S how to choose Thanksgiving dinner wines!

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