Thanksgiving is less than a week away – do you have your turkey recipe and wine pairings all picked out? If not, never fear! The Glamorous Gourmet is here to help you out of your culinary quandary. First, let’s talk wine:
Trying to find a wine to pair with such an extensive and diverse group of flavors can cause a common vinous affliction known as WPP aka Wine Pairing Paralysis. With the cacophony of flavors and textures involved in a meal designed to stuff you until bursting, what wine could possibly (1) complement the meal, (2) appeal to a variety of palates and (3) not break the bank? Here are a few tips and recommendations to help make the process a little easier for Thanksgiving or any other holiday meal:
#1 When presented with dishes such as roasted turkey, caramelized onion and cornbread stuffing, cranberry compote, sweet potato casserole and Brussels sprouts at the same meal, the best wines to select (and guests too I might add) are those that “play nicely with others.” Choose wines that are fruit-forward with a food-friendly acidity that will not only stimulate your taste buds but “do no harm” to your already flavor filled meal. Hold off on tannic Cabernet Sauvignons or heavily oaked Chardonnays and opt instead for wines that are lighter in style like the 2012 Hahn Pinot Gris from Monterey, California ($14) or for reds, the Art + Farm’s The Messenger Red Wine Number One, NV ($16), also from California.
#2 The same principles apply when trying to satisfy a variety of palates at your holiday gathering. Avoiding wines with harsh tannins and heavy oak influence is usually a good game plan. Select a fruity, approachable Alsatian white wine or crisp, sparkling wine like Prosecco to appease your guests. While universally appealing, these wines will also complement the flavors in your meal beautifully. Try the Helfrich Gewürztraminer, Alsace, France, 2011 ($14) or the BiancaVigna Prosecco DOC, Veneto, Italy, NV ($15). For a red, try the elegant Copain “Les Voisins” Pinot Noir, 2010 ($42) from California’s Anderson Valley.
#3 We all know holidays like Thanksgiving can involve feeding a small army of family and friends; however, finding an appropriate wine to serve doesn’t have to break the bank. Choose wines from regions known for producing great values at reasonable prices and save your Classified Growth Bordeaux and California cult collectibles for another occasion! Stock up on your favorite value wines and have them on hand when guests drop by for some “holiday cheer.” Great examples include this duo from Domaine de Triennes, the Sainte Fleur Viognier, 2011 ($16) or for red, the St. Auguste, 2008 ($22) a blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot fermented in 2-6 year old barrels from Domaine Dujac in Burgundy.
Also, if you’re still not sure which turkey recipe to try, I’m happy to share two of my all time favorites that are sure to please a crowd. The first is a classic recipe from Chef Tyler Florence for Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter. The sage butter is slathered over the bird and under the skin and makes this turkey the most beautiful shade of mahogany you have ever seen! Have your camera ready because you will be snapping photos right and left. After years of going through all the trouble of brining my bird, I made this recipe one year and was hooked. In addition to creating beautiful color, the copious amount of butter also keeps the bird from drying out so brining was no longer necessary. You can also still make gravy from the drippings, see below for a wonderful gravy recipe. If you do make this turkey recipe you must also make the Caramelized Onion and Cornbread Stuffing that pairs with it. It is mouth wateringly delicious and I highly recommend cooking the stuffing in the bird, there is just no substitute. In case all the delicious stuffing doesn’t fit, be sure to have a buttered casserole dish on hand to bake the excess.
If you’re looking for a bird that’s a little different from the classic preparation, The Barefoot Contessa’s Roast Turkey with Truffle Butter is simply out of this world! The white truffle butter enhances the flavor of the turkey so beautifully yet the bird never seems overly “truffled.” My husband Steve is not the biggest truffle fan and yet he loved this recipe. If you choose to make this turkey you also have to make the best gravy I’ve ever tasted, which is also an Ina Garten recipe. Her delicious Homemade Gravy includes Cognac in addition to white wine, heavy cream and the drippings from the bird which synergize to create pure deliciousness. This gravy also works well with the aforementioned Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter.
I hope you enjoy these Thanksgiving wine pairing suggestions and recipes! All the wines mentioned in this post are available at The Wine Atelier and we’d be happy to consult with you on your Thanksgiving menu as well. You can always text or call 561.317.6663 with your food and/or wine pairing questions. Steve and I would also like to wish you a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving.