Friday, October 30, 2015

Wine Suggestions For Thanksgiving

 Traditional and Alternative Wine Pairings

Are you ready to pair the perfect wines with your Thanksgiving dinner? Whether you celebrate a traditional family dinner or join friends for an informal Friendsgiving, you’ll be looking for a fantastic wine as a host gift or to serve your guests. Try some of these ideas for traditional and out of the ordinary wine selections.

Pairing wine with appetizers can be easy. Start with something light like Sparkling Wine or Rosé to enjoy with your sausage-stuffed mushrooms, avocado-bacon deviled eggs, and savory pumpkin hummus. For best results serve both wines and let your guests create their own perfect pairing.

Note to football fans: If you’re enjoying a beer while watching the Cowboys-Panthers football game, avoid hoppy IPAs if you plan to drink wine with dinner. There’s nothing worse than the residual taste of Cascade hops with your Pinot Noir.

I hope you find the following wine style suggestions useful for dinner; they assume a menu that includes turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, dressing, cranberries, veggies, condiments and dinner rolls. 

Chardonnay, a rich white wine, and Pinot Noir, a light red wine, are traditional favorites for Thanksgiving dinner. A balanced Pinot Noir that has a good amount of acid and low tannins will pair well with turkey and dressing. An oaked Chardonnay is a very good complement to turkey, but doesn’t always pair as well with the rich and savory flavors of side dishes.

For those who like lighter white wines, try a turkey-friendly Sauvignon Blanc or a Grenache Blanc this year. The green and herbaceous flavors in Sauvignon Blanc go well with recipes that feature parsley, rosemary, basil, cilantro or mint. In addition to accompanying delicate fish, chicken or lamb dishes, this wine is a great match with turkey and mashed potatoes.
Straw-colored Grenache Blanc has a relatively high alcohol content with crisp acids and fruit flavors of tangerine, Mandarin orange, green apple and peach. It pairs well with roast turkey, gravy, sweet potato and cranberry sauce. Additionally, it also goes well with herb-rubbed roast chicken and pork chops.

Red wine alternatives include both light and bold red wines. The light red Grenache (or Grenache Noir), a cousin to the lighter Grenache Blanc varietal, is viewed as an outstanding match for roast turkey… but not everyone agrees. This is a good excuse to sip some Grenache in advance to determine your preference.

Bolder red wines are GSM and Syrah. GSM is the blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre; it is medium- to full-bodied, fruit forward and pairs nicely with big, full flavors and red meat.
Heading outside to barbeque your turkey for Thanksgiving? Then you might try a full-bodied Syrah. The dark fruit flavors that range from blackberry, blueberry and boysenberry to savory black olive, plus a spicy peppery finish will pair well with all types of roasted, grilled or smoked dishes.

Friendsgiving meals are filled with fun and often-eclectic menus.  Choose versatile wines like dry white Gewürztraminer, light red Sangiovese or more fruit forward Zinfandel. Enjoy any of these with your friends and don’t sweat the pairing!

What should you buy?
There are many fine wines from Australia, Europe, New Zealand, and South America, but on this uniquely American holiday, why not enjoy an American wine? In the Conejo Valley we are fortunate to be relatively close to Central Coast wineries. Many local wine stores offer selections from the major California wine regions. If I were pushing your online or real shopping cart I’d steer you towards the following selections.

Click here to view a wine shopping list page with store locations, prices, and online links, plus a JPG to print to take with you.

Do you live in the Conejo Valley? Then you'll likely see these wine recommendations in the November Conejo Valley Lifestyle magazine, or click here to view the rest of the magazine online.

Cheers & Happy Thanksgiving!
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