Jewish Food

The Boozy Jew: The OTHER Thanksgiving Wine

Is the boozy Jew ready for Thanksgiving? Of course he is. Read More

By / November 24, 2010

I’m not ashamed to admit that of all the holidays available to us as Jews, both secular and non-secular, Thanksgiving is definitely my favorite. As Thanksgiving approaches, several people have asked me what beverage I would serve to best accompany the Thanksgiving meal, and my response is that there is nothing better than Zinfandel.

Most people will tell you that the quintessential wine to serve at Thanksgiving is Pinot Noir, referencing its popularity right now among American wine drinkers. But as my good friend the East Village Wine Geek has said, ever since that oh-so-popular movie came out a few years ago about two guys traipsing around Napa hating on Merlot and searching for the best Pinot, everyone just assumes Pinot Noir is the perfect American wine. In truth, however, while I do enjoy Pinot Noir, the increased demand for the wine (caused by this film) has subsequently made the affordable Pinot quality go downhill, leaving buyers with the choice of taking a risk on an affordable bottle or shelling out a pretty penny.

Zinfandel is also often associated with the U.S., having been grown here since the mid-19th century, first arriving via Long Island. Surprisingly, given how well it pairs with the Thanksgiving meal, it’s not typically recommended by wine merchants, writers and sommeliers as often as Pinot. Other wine writers, such as Eric Asimov, have also shied away from recommending Zinfandels for Thanksgiving because the wine has a reputation of having such a high alcohol content, often times 15%, but many producers have tamed the wine in recent years, and there really are some great ones out there.

Zinfandel pairs perfectly with Thanksgiving, given all of the fall spices present in the dishes and the luscious fruit and spice notes present in the wine. The combination of Pumpkin Pie with Zinfandel is a perfect example, the wine and the sweet spicy pie playing off each other beautifully. And, whipped cream on your pie only takes away from the experience of enjoying a Zinfandel—keeping things conveniently kosher for your meat meal.

Here are some of my favorites:

Teira Sonoma Zinfandel

Ravenswood Zinfandel Vinters Blend

Rosenblum Zinfandel Cuvee