QUAFFER’S CORNER

HEAD SOMMELIER AND MANAGER OF LUTYENS RESTAURANT

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I’m devoting this week to helping my American readers select a wine to have with their turkey. It’s not a festival that we celebrate in New Zealand but, as my sister-in-law is from New Mexico, I’m familiar with the palate of flavours and the challenges there are to matching these with wine.

I think it’s only right to drink American for such a quintessentially American festival. Champagne has its place at other celebrations but this is the perfect time to kick off with one of the hoppy US craft beers that have become increasingly easy to find in UK shops (Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is widely available and delicious). It’s the perfect palate cleanser to sharpen your appetite.

Let’s be frank here: there is a lot of sweetness going on, from the squash and sweet potato (maybe with some sneaky marshmallows) to the cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

Turkey is a forgiving (dare I say bland) meat and will happily accommodate just about anything, but I tend to think that as the nights are getting shorter it’s best to drink red. I like the red fruit and warm spice of Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (Belle Glos, La Crema) and my Canadian assistant Andres is a great advocate for Beaujolais (but stick to one of the 10 Crus such as Morgon or Juliénas). There’s been an explosion in quality in Beaujolais recently (particularly with the excellent 2009 vintage) so if you’ve not tried one recently, give it a shot. If it’s not vulgar to say so, this is a celebration of nature’s bounty so choose something at a price that will allow wine to flow abundantly (while drinking responsibly of course –ahem).

When the pumpkin pie comes around, I must confess that I struggle to select a wine to accompany it. Why not throw caution to the wind with a bottle of rye whiskey (spicy Sazerac 18 would be my choice), then tweak the nose of the trade embargo by sitting back and enjoying a fine Cuban cigar. If you’re celebrating in London rather than back home, why not take full advantage?

Follow Andrew on Twitter @LutyensWine