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Thanksgiving Uncorked

The holiday season officially kicks off this week with the much-anticipated arrival of Thanksgiving. The big meal means a lot of things: food, family and more importantly, wine. (Probably lots of wine.)

We chatted with Kevin Hodge, Head Cheese/Bacon Fiend, at Cellar Rat Wine Merchants to get his input on the wines we should all be drinking and gifting for this nap-inducing, celebratory meal.

Spaces: For someone who doesn’t have a lot of knowledge of wine, what’s the easiest way for he/she to go about choosing a wine for the big turkey meal?

Hodge: Ask for help! Don’t be shy or embarrassed if you don’t know stuff about wine, after all, I have to call electricians, plumbers, mechanics, etcetera.

Spaces: What are your top three wine suggestions for a Thanksgiving meal?

Hodge: Pinot Grigio (also known as Gris), Pinot Noir and dry Rosé.

Spaces: What makes those wines so perfect for this type of meal?

Hodge: Typically, on a Thanksgiving table, there are a lot of different flavor types, and you could very well pair a different wine with each and every type of meat, side dish and dessert, but that would be a pain and cost too much. The three wines I chose are friendly enough not to overpower anything, but have a fresh acidity component that make them great with food, and are all easy on the palate.

Spaces: Is there a benefit to having white wine instead of red with a Thanksgiving meal or it is it just what your palate prefers?

Hodge: As for what you choose for your table, it is simply a preference. Now, we will say more whites will be a better match, but don’t let anyone tell you your wine isn’t a good pairing—if you think it is, that’s all that matters!

Spaces: Since many people head to someone else’s house for their Thanksgiving feast, what’s the best wine to give as a gift for hosting?

Hodge: I truly feel the best wine to give as a gift is a bit of the bubbly! If you can have it chilled, it’s a perfect ice breaker because let’s face it, I dare anyone to have a sad or grumpy face when they hear a sparkling wine cork pop from the bottle! There are great bubbles from inexpensive to really expensive, and everywhere in between.

Spaces: How long do you REALLY need to let wine breathe before you consume it? (We’re not ones for waiting—ha!)

Hodge: However long it takes you to put the wine opener down, pour it and take a sip! Actually, there’s not a set time of letting wine breathe. Usually the heavier and younger the wine, the more time it will need. We like to taste it right out of the bottle, and see how it develops, plus, who wants to look snooty during the holidays?!

Spaces: Does Cellar Rat have any special classes surrounding the holidays?

Hodge: We offer holiday classes, but unfortunately they’re all booked up. However, we do a lot of different tastings, and we will have some wines for a Turkey Day Tasting on Wednesday from 5 to 7pm, that is open to the public.

Spaces: Anything else to add?

Hodge: I would say try not to overthink it. Let’s face it, our family and friends are just happy to have a glass of wine in front of them, and we are giving thanks after all. I love picking out wine for people, and we are willing to get as geeky as you need us to be, but first and foremost, we want our customers to feel comfortable on every level.

Get your holiday wine from the experts at Cellar Rat. They’re located at the corner of 17th Baltimore in the Crossroads Arts District and offer multiple public and private events.