A Thanksgiving Dilemma

Picture it. You are invited to your girlfriend’s parents’ house for Thanksgiving. Based on your experience last Christmas, and then again at Easter, you are pretty sure they are going to serve turkey with all the flavour of a 2 x 4, paired with a bottle of the syrupy sweet red they buy by the case. You, on the other hand, would much prefer the bottle of Pinot Noir you gifted them back in April, and know full well is still sitting in the kitchen cupboard. What to do?

First off, dude, take a step back and show a little gratitude. Be thankful your potential future in-laws are serving you anything. If you were going to my parents’ house for the holidays, you’d be lucky to get a glass of Baby Duck. Second, show a little humility. One trip to Walla Walla hardly puts you in the Robert Parker league of wine critics.

With that said, you really only have two options: drink the wine they are servingor not. How you answer that question mostly depends on how serious you are about your relationship. If you don’t anticipate a lifetime of holiday dinners at that particular address, then (politely) inquire as to whether or not they have tried your Pinot. Assuming they come clean with the fact that it is yet unopened, suggest they may want to try it with the turkey. Tell them your sommelier friend (from Oregon) taught you that the earthy notes of mushroom and truffle found in Pinot Noir make it the ideal match for almost any turkey dinner. I don’t know your in-laws, but if I had to guess, the most likely scenario is they won’t hesitate to serve you a glass or four of your wine, and still open their red plonk, happy not to have to share any of it with you.

On the other hand, if the relationship is a keeper, suck it up and drink their wine. As per the scenario above, they might not care all that much about what wine anyone drinks. But why risk it? Maybe they did put a lot of thought into this particular pairing. Maybe their wine you disparage is their “special occasion wine”, only to appear on the table during fancy dinners when they take the good wine glasses out of the China cabinet. If you’ve got your heart set on a big ole turkey leg paired with Walla Walla Pinot Noir, get yourself to your nearest wine store and pick up a bottle. Then, once dinner is over, ask your mom-in-law to pack up some turkey leftovers to take home.