Perfect NJ Wine & Beer Pairings for Thanksgiving Dinner

The big bird goes well with many beverages, but our Libations columnist suggests serving some local booze this year.

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Every November, I field a flurry of panicked questions on what beverage to pair with Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve suggested fruity Beaujolais; a dry, funky cider; a Finger Lakes riesling; a sparkling wine; a yeast-driven saison beer.

Those recommendations still stand, but so does whatever you feel like opening. This year, I encourage you to pour a Jersey libation. Perhaps a wine that’s both red and bubbly, like the Beaujolais nouveau–inspired pét-nat Nouveau from William Heritage Winery in Mullica Hill. It’s made entirely with chambourcin, a hybrid grape that’s gained traction in Jersey vineyards, and employs an ancient method of sparkling-wine production known as pétillant naturel.

[RELATED: NJ Restaurants Offering Thanksgiving Meals and Takeout Specials]

Turkey-friendly cabernet Franc from Unionville Vineyards in Ringoes. Courtesy of Unionville Vineyards

If your go-to red is cabernet sauvignon, let me highlight the other cabernet grape. Unionville Vineyards in Ringoes makes an excellent cabernet Franc, a juicy, herbaceous, un-oaked, light red for all palates.

If you’re a beer fan, give lambics a shot—especially the ones from Muckraker in Franklin and Kane in Ocean Township. A little tart, a little fruity, they’re a great match for the flavor hodgepodge on the Thanksgiving table.

Most important, don’t fret. Perfect pairings, in my experience, rely more on your mood and whom you’re sharing with than on any exact match of flavor profiles. After all, what good is a bottle of anything if you have nobody to enjoy it with?

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