A Spanish Thanksgiving


Paella on Thanksgiving?  Where’s the turkey? 

Well, perhaps if you’re dining at a Spanish table, you’ll be lucky enough to enjoy both.

Spain is home to many celebrations, but there is no holiday like Thanksgiving.  Like many immigrant groups who settle in the United States, many Spaniards embrace this very American tradition and share their knowledge of food and wine with their families and friends in celebration.   

As we all try to figure out which wines to pair with our Thanksgiving meals, keep in mind that the majority of Spanish wines are designed to be enjoyed with food.  Spanish wines pair well with traditional Thanksgiving ingredients and flavors. 

Pre-game cooking is made easier with a glass of sparkling wine such as Cava or pét-nat.   Before the sit-down dinner, begin with an aperitivo such as vermut, or cocktails with artisanal craft gins.  Serve any small plates with a glass of fino or manzanilla sherry.  If you’re serving seafood, albariño is a fine match, as well wines made from the xarel-lo, godello, and treixadura grapes.  For the lighter fare, a rosado or clarete can bridge the gap for a variety of foods at the table served at the same time.  When the heartier courses are served, opt for classic, aged Rioja or Ribera del Duero Gran Reservas.  If you want a more adventurous pairing for red wines, check out the high altitude garnacha from the Sierra de Gredos, mencía from Bierzo and Ribeira Sacra, and spicy red blends from Montsant. 

Or join in on the natural wine movement in Spain for organic and biodynamic, juicy, unfiltered, low to zero sulfites added, expressions of purity and terruño. Outside the box pairings include wines fashioned with indigenous varietals such as albillo, viura, macabeo, samso, sumoll, monastrell, and listán negro and blanco, among others.  Be bold and serve some amontillado, oloroso, or palo cortado sherry for a mind-blowing experience.  By the time the dessert and cheese are rolled out, moscatel, cream and PX sherry do the trick, as well as island sweet wines from Lanzarote.  The wind down to digestivo can be answered by some Galician orujo, brandy, or Pacharán.

So bring on that paella and turkey too, because whether you’re with family or having a friendsgiving, celebrate the Thanksgiving spirit with Spanish wines and spirits.