Thanksgiving Wine Pairings

With only a few days left until Thanksgiving, finding the perfect wines to pair with your Thanksgiving feast is likely at the top of your list!  We have made it easy for you by sharing some of our favorite red and white wine pairings for the Thanksgiving holiday!

Thanksgiving

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is a classic Thanksgiving wine pairing and is truly one of our favorites for the holiday.  There are plenty of great Burgundies around but lately I have been impressed with cool-climate Pinot Noir coming out of California.  Look for Pinot Noir from wineries like Failla and Red Car in local, specialty wine shops.  They are fantastic wines for your Thanksgiving table!

Gamay

Gamay is often overlooked for Thanksgiving but we love it paired with turkey and stuffing!  We are obsessed with Le Telquel Gamay and it is an obvious choice for the holiday.  Le Telquel is from the Loire Valley and has tastes of juicy red berries and spice entwined with racy acidity.  Pure, unadulterated, and best served slightly chilled.  This is one of the best Gamays you will find for under $20 and it is a great Thanksgiving wine!

Riesling

Riesling is one of the most food-friendly wines and is a great pairing with many Thanksgiving dishes.  We recently tasted 2014 Famille Hugel Riesling and discovered it’s not only delicious, but it’s also a killer value at $12.  This dry Riesling from the Alsace region of France is filled with tastes of lemon and orange blossom along with naturally bright acidity and hints of minerality.  Pair with everything from yams to mashed potatoes to turkey & stuffing!

Chenin Blanc

Chenin Blanc is one of our favorite white wines so it is always included at our Thanksgiving table.  Chenin is made in diverse styles so look for a dry Chenin Blanc to pair with turkey or yams.  Leo Steen Saini Valley Dry Creek Valley Chenin Blanc is a fantastic deal for under $20.  Sweeter styles can be a nice pairing with Thanksgiving desserts.

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White Wines For Thanksgiving!

It seems like so many people I know serve the same wines with Thanksgiving every year.  When I dine with friends or see pictures from Thanksgiving tables, Chardonnay seems to be the overwhelming white wine choice.  While I do enjoy a well-made Chardonnay, most people opt for a bottle that overwhelms the meal with oak, butter, and alcohol.  I recently tasted through almost a dozen white wines (tough job, I know) and came up with a few favorites for your Thanksgiving meal!

Narrowing down the choices…so many great white wines to choose from for Thanksgiving!

Riesling

Riesling is one of the most food-friendly wines and is a great pairing with many Thanksgiving dishes.  I recently tasted 2013 Famille Hugel Riesling and discovered it’s not only delicious, but it’s also a killer value at $12.  This dry Riesling from the Alsace region of France is filled with tastes of lemon and orange blossom along with naturally bright acidity and hints of minerality.  Pair with everything from yams to mashed potatoes to turkey & stuffing! ($12)

Chenin Blanc

One tradition we keep at our Thanksgiving table is making sure there is a place for seafood.  Oysters and Dungeness Crab always seem to work their way into our meal.  Dry Chenin Blanc is one of my favorite pairings with shellfish.  Chenin Blanc is made in many styles so look for a bottle that has nice acid and texture.  One bottle that recently grabbed my attention is 2014 Lo-Fi Chenin Blanc from the Jurassic Park vineyard in Santa Barbara County.  With bright citrus, stone fruit, and a rich mouthfeel, this wine is a great match for shellfish! ($26)

White Rhone Blends

If you come to our house for Thanksgiving, you will always find a White Rhone Blend poured with your meal.  One of my favorite domestic bottles is 2013 Two Shepherds Pastoral Blanc, a blend of 50% Roussanne, 25% Marsanne, 13% Viognier, 6% Grenache Blanc, and 6% Grenache Gris from the Russian River Valley.  The wine is beautifully balanced and bright with incredible texture.  It will really brighten up heavy dishes and is a staple at our Thanksgiving table. ($30)

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Thanksgiving Wine Pairings with Turkey

Tired of pairing your Thanksgiving turkey with Pinot Noir year after year?  This Thanksgiving, try some wine pairings that are a little less traditional.  Here are a few of my favorites that are just as delicious as Pinot, yet not on everyone’s radar.  Plus, the wines generally make great conversation pieces since many people around the table will not have tried them before.

Grenache 

Two Shepherds 2012 Grenache Noir
Two Shepherds 2012 Grenache Noir

Grenache is one of my favorite Thanksgiving wines.  It not only pairs well with turkey but also with side dishes like stuffing.  Look for a bottle with low alcohol, healthy acidity, and ripe berries.  One of my favorite picks is Two Shepherds 2012 Grenache Noir.  Refined tastes of cherries, cranberries, and strawberries are met with hints of spice.  Elegant with vibrant acidity, this is sure to be the highlight of your meal! (13.3% alcohol, $38)

Cinsault

Several weeks ago, I participated in a Cinsault tasting and all I could think about was how well the wines would pairing with turkey.  Turley 2014 Lodi Cinsault is an excellent option and is also a great value.  The wine offers layers of red fruit with bright acidity and excellent texture.  There are also savory and earthy notes to go along with the tart fruit.  A perfect match for turkey! (13% alcohol, $17)

Gamay

A well-made Gamay is pure, fresh, and delightful with turkey.  Martian Ranch & Vineyard “Absolute Magnitude” 2013 Gamay Noir is a great choice.  This Santa Barbara County Gamay is light-bodied with bright tastes of raspberries and strawberries along with hints of violets and spice.  A great addition to your Thanksgiving meal! (13% alcohol, $24)

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A Place for Rhone Wine at the Thanksgiving Table

We all tend to sip the same types of wines at our Thanksgiving dinners. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Champagne seem to be abundant this time of year and a lot of people never really think about introducing a few new bottles to the table. This Thanksgiving, I encourage you to stray from the traditional pairings and open up your meal to new varietals. There are many interesting Rhone wines that will really elevate the flavors in your holiday dishes. Here are the Rhones that will definitely be accompanying our Thanksgiving dinner this year!

Old-World Style Grenache 

I love an elegant Grenache with so many Thanksgiving dishes. It pairs very well with turkey, cranberries, and stuffing. Look for a bottle with low alcohol, healthy acidity, and ripe berries. A Tribute to Grace Grenache is an excellent choice with beautiful flavors that are both balanced and vibrant.  (http://gracewinecompany.com,  $44)

A Tribute to Grace Grenache...a wonderful Thanksgiving wine!
A Tribute to Grace Grenache…a wonderful Thanksgiving wine!

White Rhone Blends

When many people think of pairing wine with dishes such as buttery mashed potatoes and turkey, they often reach for a rich, buttery Chardonnay. Sometimes, an equally rich wine really overpowers both your palate and the food. I usually pair a White Rhone Blend instead. Make sure the wine has plenty of acid to cut through the richness of the food yet enough texture to complement the rich flavors. I really enjoy Pastoral Blanc from Two Shepherds. The blend of Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, and Grenache Blanc will really bring to life (and not weigh down) heavier dishes.  (http://twoshepherdsvineyards.com, $28)

Rosé of Syrah

Rosé of Syrah can be an excellent, food-friendly Thanksgiving wine. It pairs well with ham, turkey, and cranberries and also makes an excellent aperitif. I prefer a Rosé aged in stainless steel to oak as I find they tend to have cleaner flavors. Ampelos Cellars has a great Rosé of Syrah you can pick up for well under $20. Full of red berries, watermelon, and a refreshing finish makes it a nice Thanksgiving pick! (http://www.ampeloscellars.com, $15)

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Thanksgiving Wine Picks!

In just a short time, we will all be gathered around the table feasting on my favorite meal of the year, Thanksgiving.  In my family, we happen to have a wonderful tradition of spending Thanksgiving in Napa or Sonoma…just one of the many things I am thankful for each year.  No matter where your Thanksgiving plans takes you, here are some excellent wine pairings for your turkey day!

Rosé and Turkey

Château Bonnet 2012 Rosé
Château Bonnet 2012 Rosé

Rosé is an excellent match with turkey and most of the traditional Thanksgiving spread.  Look for a Rosé that features dry flavors of cranberry or cherry and a little spice. I recently sipped a bottle from Chateau Bonnet.  The 2012 Rosé is a blend of Cabernet and Merlot with bright tastes of cranberry and grapefruit. Beautiful acidity makes it extremely food friendly and a great choice for your entire meal. ($15)

Grüner Veltliner and Ham

Birgit Eichinger 2011 Grüner Veltliner
Birgit Eichinger 2011 Grüner Veltliner

Looking for a wine that enhances the flavor of your juicy ham?  I would reach for a bottle of Grüner Veltliner.  The lively acidity in Grüner cuts the fat in the ham and helps bring the flavors to a whole new level.  One bottle that works really well is Birgit Eichinger 2011 Grüner Veltliner.  It features crisp acidity and plenty of flavor to stand up to any Thanksgiving feast! ($15)

Tawny Port and Pumpkin Pie

Quinta do Infantado Medium-Dry Tawny Port NV
Quinta do Infantado Medium-Dry Tawny Port NV

For me, dessert can be one of the trickiest wine pairings of any meal.  Generally, a lot of wines don’t work well with sweet flavors.  So, when our dessert course comes around, I generally reach for a beautiful glass of Tawny Port.  Look for a bottle with a balance of sweetness and spice to pair with the sweet and spicy flavors in pumpkin pie.  If you want something a little lighter, opt for one of my favorite ports for under $20, Quinta do Infantado Medium-Dry Tawny Port NV.  If you want something a little sweeter (and relatively easy to find), grab a bottle of Churchills 10 Year Old Tawny Port ($30).  Either way, both of these picks will make dessert a great finale to a delicious meal!

 

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Starting Off My Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations with a Dry Rosé

Thanksgiving is my favorite meal of the year.  There are so many incredible dishes and wonderful flavors but it makes it hard to serve just one wine.  I try to serve a few different wines to bring out the flavors in each dish.  One of my favorite wines to serve with turkey is a dry rosé.  The rosé (ideally with notes of cranberries or cherries) will complement the turkey as well as the dishes that accompany it.  Frederick Wildman was kind enough to send me a bottle of Michel Torino Malbec Rosé and it is definitely a nice pairing with turkey.

About the Wine- From the Winery

Michel Torino Malbec Rosé 2011 is 100% Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina.  It retails for $13 and for more information see www.FrederickWildman.com

Now the Fun Part- Tasting the Wine

Michel Torino Malbec Rosé pours a bright strawberry color in the glass.  The nose is very fragrant with aromas of melon, cherries, and a hint of rosemary.  The palate is packed with fruit flavors including notes of cherry and strawberry.  The finish is dry and spicy with lingering white pepper.  Light, refreshing, and food-friendly…a really nice match for your turkey and cranberries!

My Wine Rating- B

Food Pairing Suggestions- This dry rosé pairs well with turkey, cranberries, or a salad with pomegranates, candied nuts, and goat cheese (one of my favorite Thanksgiving salads)

*This wine was sent to me as a sample for the purpose of review

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