Penny’s Pairing Recommendations: Great Wine for Thanksgiving Dinner
By Penny Adams, winemaker
I love Thanksgiving. It’s a fantastic day to enjoy the company of family and friends, reflect on the best parts of our lives and to break out a few bottles of delicious wine. It may seem daunting to pick the perfect wine for Thanksgiving dinner. A complex menu like those serve at traditional Thanksgiving begs for versatile wines. A sure fire key to success is selecting more than one type of wine to pair with different dishes and to please a plenitude of palates.
Whether you are cooking at home or attending dinner at a friend’s house, plan to have one bottle of each wine for every two people in attendance. As a guest, you might not need to supply all the wine, but you should always bring a bottle of something to augment the host’s supply. It’s a nice gift if it isn’t served.
I’m a traditionalist and wouldn’t consider serving anything but a domestic wine on a truly American holiday like Thanksgiving. And being a Texan, I can’t help but reach for Texas wines to pour for this important celebration of thankfulness. Here are a couple of my recommendations for your feast.
The Right White
In general, white wines tend to be food friendly with bright acidity that brings various flavors of food to life. They typically don’t overpower a meal either.
2014 Terre Blanc
French Rhone blends, like our Terre Blanc, are excellent for the Thanksgiving table. It’s fruitiness and lively tanginess makes it versatile to pair well with a wide variety of food on the Thanksgiving table. The 2014 vintage is a blend of Marsanne, Viognier and Roussanne grapes, with a dash of Trebbiano grapes grown in the Texas Hill Country. The dominance of Marsanne grapes gives it a rich texture, honeysuckle fragrance, with pear and white peach flavors and a bit of spice. The Roussanne brings scents of tea, and spiced apricot flavors. They are a great match for the stone fruit, ripe pear, and lemon zest flavors of the Viognier.
Together the grapes make a lovely wine with the weight, bright finish and complexity to go with anything Thanksgiving can throw at it.
Don’t Forget the Red Wine
The table is loaded with an incredible array of foods from tart cranberries and creamy green bean casserole to buttery mashed potatoes and savory stuffing to the luscious pièce de résistance, the turkey. You might not think of red wine when you gaze at that succulent turkey breast, but lighter style reds deserve a seat at your table. Wines with lush fruit, mild alcohol and soft tannins give it the versatility to pairs well with not only Turkey, but also with red meats and just about any dish.
Our salute to the Spanish Rioja region, Tioja is made predominantly with the Tempranillo grape from Mirasol Vineyard and Tio Pancho Vineyard, in the Texas Hill Country AVA. It’s an elegant, fruity red wine with fresh acidity that loves the rich fat of the turkey dark meat and the gravy. Unlike some of your relatives, these wines won’t dominate the conversation — or the food. Better yet, this earthy, spicy wine with sweet tobacco, blackberry, and plum flavors won’t get lost in the cacophony of flavors in the feast.
Like its sister Spanish wines, our Tioja has a backbone of dusty tannins. I recommend decanting this wine an hour before serving to really see it shine.
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