With Thanksgiving just a few days away, we once again we pose the question: “What is the perfect pairing for Thanksgiving dinner?” I asked a few Sommeliers and Beverage Professionals from around Chicago for their recommendations on what they like to pour on Thanksgiving Day. Here is what they came up with:

Julia Burke @Stellenbauchery Wine Buyer at In Fine Spirits, South African Wine Enforcer

“I encourage my customers to drink South African wine all through the year, but Thanksgiving is an especially wonderful time to try South African Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and even Pinot Noir and Pinotage. My customers are crazy about Catherine Marshall wines; we are recommending the 2014 Sauvignon Blanc and 2014 Pinot Noir. Both are versatile, with brilliant acidity and minerality as well as bright fruit that I’ve found to be exquisite with squash and other root vegetable dishes.

As a former New Yorker I can’t have Thanksgiving without Riesling; my current favorite is Boundary Breaks 2014 Dry Riesling No. 239, from an outstanding producer on beautiful Seneca Lake. And since I do a brunch for a small group of friends on Thanksgiving morning, I’ll be serving Scar of the Sea Pet-Nat from California as well.”

Melissa Zeman @chiwineHouse Manager and lady of the House at wineHouse

“Besides akvavit making an appearance due to my aunt’s intense Swedish pride, my family usually does quite a number on sparkling Gamay. Holidays deserve a little sparkle and T-day of course deserves a little Beaujolais. It’s made in the pétillant naturel/Méthode Ancestrale style, is only about 8% alcohol, pairs with everything from goat cheese to turkey, and even grandma can get down with it. Win-win-win.”

John Lenart @jmlenart Wine Writer and Host of The Honest Pour Podcast (www.thehonestpourpod.com)

“When you consider the wide range of flavor profiles on the Thanksgiving table, wine pairing can become a real challenge. Good thing sparkling wine can be one of the most versatile when it comes to pairing. Sure, Champagne can be an easy choice, but it can be pricey and sometimes a bit austere to please the palate of your great aunt Mary. While I don’t want anything sweet like prosecco, (which is just fine in a hot summer day) something dry but with fruit that’s a bit more prominent than Champagne is what I’m looking for. That’s why this year for Thanksgiving I’m looking to Franciacorta in the north of Italy. This DOCG produces sparkling wine from predominantly chardonnay but might also contain some pinot noir or pinot blanc all made in the traditional method. Franciacorta isn’t expensive like Champagne can be, and while complex, presents bright fruit profiles.

The first sparkling wine form Franciacorta was made by Berlucchi. It’s bottling of NV ’61 is named for the first year in which Franco Ziliani made sparkling wine for Guido Berlucchi and set the path for an entire growing region. That’s why on my thanksgiving table I’ll be pouring Berlucchi NV 61 Brut. It’s widely available for about $27. Made from 100% chardonnay, it has a subtle nose of stone fruit, white flowers, with a bit of minerality. The full bodied wine has nice acidity with flavors of apricot, candied lemon, and bread crust.”

To learn more about Franciacorta listen to my Podcast The Honest Pour Episode 11 with Cristina ZIliani of Berlucchi. https://thehonestpourpod.com/2016/11/17/episode-11-cristina-ziliani-berlucchi/

Thanks again to everyone who contributed a recommendation for this blog post! I know how challenging it can be to find the time to handle things like this, Hopefully your recommendations will find their way onto a table this Thanksgiving, making it all worthwhile. Until next time, please be safe and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

-From the team at Blue Crane Imports.