Thanksgiving Wine Pairing Guide

Thanksgiving wine pairing

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and we’ve put together this helpful guide to assist you with choosing wines to pair with your holiday feast. Whether you’re cooking a traditional turkey or putting together something a little more unconventional, we’re here to help you choose your Thanksgiving wine pairing. This guide will help you elevate your meal from traditional to transcendental.

What’s on the menu?

Appetizers

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Cheese plates: Pair with dry, mineral-driven white wines such as Chenin Blanc, Cava, or Champagne.

Seafood Canapés: White wines are a no-brainer for seafood snacks. Look for Sancerre, sparkling Vouvray, or rich and minerally Catalan whites.

Aperitifs: If you want to skip the pre-feast delicacies and go straight for an aperitif, try a vermouth cocktail, pétillant naturel from the Loire Valley, or any joyful sparkling wine to get the conversation flowing. Cocktails are also a great option, and one of my favorites for a pre-dinner libation is the French 75.

First Courses

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Soups: Many rich and creamy soups will pair beautifully with an equally rich and creamy white wine. Try a Cour-Cheverny, California Chardonnay, or aromatic Viognier. If the soup has some sweetness (like butternut squash bisque), try to find a wine with a little sweetness to match.

Salads: Pair your wines according to the dressing on your salad. If you’re doing a bright and acidic vinaigrette, stick with wines with lots of acidity like Melon de Bourgogne, crisp and dry Chenin Blanc, Chablis, or Gruner Veltliner. If you’re using a balsamic vinaigrette, pair it with a Provencal Rosé instead of a white wine. If you’re doing a creamy dressing, choose fuller-bodied whites with creamy texture such as white Burgundy, California Chardonnay, or Viognier.

Main Courses

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Turkey (or any other poultry): Nothing says Thanksgiving like your traditional turkey. Whether it’s thoughtfully brined and roasted, deep fried in your back yard, or smoked in a fancy smoker, the right wine will bring it class and elegance. You can go for a white wine, a rosé, or a lighter-bodied red – any of them will knock it out of the park. Consider fuller-bodied whites such as white Burgundy, California Chardonnay, Rhone whites (Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier), or even a light and fresh Provencal Rosé. For reds, excellent choices would be Beaujolais (gamay), medium-bodied Zinfandel (look for examples from the Russian River Valley), light red Burgundy, Pinot Meunier, fresh and juicy Carignan blends, or even Cheverny rouge (Pinot Noir/Gamay blend).

Ham: Another old standby for Thanksgiving Day is a honey-baked ham. My go-to in this case would be an off-dry rosé, fruity Pinot Noir, cru Beaujolais, Gewurtztraminer, or hard apple cider.

Lamb: Although a bit unconventional, it’s not unheard of for people to prepare lamb for Thanksgiving. My go-to for fall lamb would be wines to compliment the gaminess such as Counoise, new world Pinot Noir, Gamay, red Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Rioja, or Malbec. Choose medium-bodied wines with an herbal component if you’re doing herb-roasted lamb served rare, and fuller-bodied wines if you’re braising shanks or shoulder.

Beef: If you’re anything like me, you might be preparing something untraditional such as beef. Maybe you’re roasting prime rib, or braising meltingly-tender beef cheeks. In this case, excellent pairings would include Cabernet Sauvignon, red Bordeaux, rich Italian Teroldego, or smoky Austrian Blaufrankisch.

Vegetarian dishes: Most of us have a beloved close friend who prefers their protein from vegetable sources. For mushroom-based dishes, look for earthy wines such as red Burgundy and other French Pinot Noir-based blends. For tomato-based dishes, look for spicy Italian reds or tomato-y Cabernet Franc. For something creamy like a veggie pot pie, equally rich and creamy whites like white Burgundy, Viognier, or Grenache Blanc. Orange wines are a great option for roasted vegetable dishes.

Dessert Course

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Pairing wine with dessert can be difficult to wrap one’s head around. Our very own Colleen McGarry wrote this helpful article to assist you with pairing wine with dessert. In a nutshell, you want to pair wines that have an equal amount of sweetness, or that are sweeter than your dessert. Try Sauternes with your apple pie or blue cheese, eau de vie (fruit brandy) with dishes made from the same fruit, or Gewurtztraminer with your spicy pumpkin pie. Chocolate-based desserts will be complimented best by ruby or tawny ports.

Need help choosing which wines to pair with your Thanksgiving feast? Feel free to reach out to us by emailing info@winelandia.com!

Wine 101: Sparkling Wine Terms

sparkling wine

As the fall & winter holidays approach, many wine consumers turn their sights away from rosé and towards sparkling wines. Champagne, crémant, pétillant naturel, frizzante, Cava, and Prosecco are all different types of sparkling wine, yet many people use the term “Champagne” to refer to any sparkling wine. This is a widely accepted, though incorrect use of the term. In this blog post, I will cover various types of bubbles and what the names actually mean.

Champagne: A variety of sparkling wine from the Champagne region in France. Only wines made according to the Champagne AOC rules may bear this term on the label (with a few exceptions). The grapes must be grown in Champagne, and the wine must be made using méthode champenoise (called méthode traditionnelle outside of Champagne). Champagne blends allow the use of chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot meunier grapes. Pinot blanc is also sometimes allowed.
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Crémant: A term used to describe sparkling wines from France made outside of Champagne. For example: Crémant de Limoux, Crémant du Jura, Crémant d’Alsace, Crémant de Bourgogne – you get the picture. Crémant is made utilizing méthode traditionnelle, and can be made from a number of different grapes (depending on AOC rules). Not all sparkling wines made outside of Champagne are called crémant.
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Cava: Sparkling wine from Catalonia (Spain) produced utilizing méthod traditionnelle. Cava blends typically contain the indigenous Spanish grape varieties macabeu, xarel-lo, and parellada.
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Prosecco: Italian sparkling wine from Veneto, produced using the charmat method. Prosecco must be made from the glera grape variety, though other varieties are sometimes blended in.

Frizzante: An Italian term for sparkling or semi-sparkling wine.
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Pétillant naturel: Also referred to as “pet-nat”, a French term used to describe wines produced utilizing méthode ancestrale. In this method, the wine is bottled before primary fermentation is complete. Primary fermentation completes in the bottle, adding a natural effervescence to the wine. Pétillant naturel wines are typically un-disgorged (meaning the lees is left in the bottle), though many commercial pet-nats are disgorged (lees removed) to be more appealing to a wider audience of wine consumers.
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Special Offer: Four Festive Wines for Thanksgiving Day

Wines for Thanksgiving Day

The holidays are fast approaching, and we’re here to help you select the perfect wines for Thanksgiving Day. We’ve put together a special Thanksgiving 4-pack to pair beautifully with your holiday creations. We’ve hand-picked each of these delicious, crowd-pleasing wines with food-friendliness in mind, and all of them are bound to impress your guests.

Each order includes all 4 wines listed below. Email orders@winelandia.com to reserve yours today!*

Price on 1: $107 ea. + tax & delivery
Buy 2 or more and save 10%!

*Available to California recipients only

The Wines:

2012 Champ Divin Zéro Dosage, Crémant du Jura
Type: Sparkling wine, Biodynamic farming
Country: France
Blend: Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
Course: Serve this fun sparkler when your guests arrive to get their appetites going and the conversation flowing.
Tasting Notes: Fresh and exuberant, with notes of apple cider and a touch of minerals.
Pairing: Perfect for any appetizer, but smoked trout canapés on thinly sliced apples will really make it shine.

2013 Celler Frisach “Vernatxa”, Terra Alta
Type: White wine, organically farmed
Country: Spain
Blend: 100% Grenache Blanc
Course: Serve with your first course of soup or salad, or with a cheese plate.
Tasting Notes: Texture! Minerals! Ripe meyer lemon!
Pairing: Winter squash bisque, cheese plates, hearty radicchio and arugula salad with roasted delicata squash, shaved fennel, and pomegranate seeds.

2013 Teutonic Pinot Meunier, Willamette Valley
Type: Red wine (light), sustainably farmed
Country: United States (OR)
Blend: 100% Pinot Meunier
Course: Serve this with your second or main course.
Tasting Notes: Succulent red fruit, sweet herbs, and delicate earth. Light-bodied yet lush, with super-soft tannins and juicy acidity.
Pairing: Herb-roasted birds, mushroom ragout, braised rabbit, ham

2013 Brea Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles
Type: Red wine (bold), sustainably farmed
Country: United States
Blend: 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot
Course: Enjoy this bold red wine at the end of your meal, and continue to enjoy it after dinner in front of your fireplace.
Tasting Notes: Black currants, peppers, spice, and herbs. Beautifully structured and balanced.
Pairing: Braised beef cheeks, roasted rack of lamb, prime rib