“As long as we have wine, Thanksgiving will be fine.” – Steve Miskew
The Miskews are fresh off a trip to California wine country, and while very travel weary, we’re blissfully content from indulging in some of the amazing food and wine the Napa Valley has to offer. More on that in the coming weeks but here we are with Thanksgiving a week away (how did THAT happen?) as well as the impending question of which dishes to prepare and, perhaps more importantly, which wines to pair with them.
If you’re a Francophile you may be thinking of breaking out the Burgundy or Bordeaux to pair with your holiday feast but I urge you to consider a French region you might not readily think of, the Languedoc. This diverse region spans the sunny Mediterranean coast and is the largest wine making region in the country. But what makes the region’s wines so perfect for Thanksgiving is a little term known as, garrigue. Garrigue refers to the aromas and flavors of the wild, plentiful vegetation that grows throughout the region, consisting largely of herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme as well as the regional staple, lavender. These delightful aromas and flavors are also expressed in the region’s wines, so what better selections to pair with your Thanksgiving feast?
I recently received a delightful package containing a “Garrigue Kit” which consisted of jars of dried herbs, a few bottles of Languedoc wine and Thanksgiving-inspired recipes to do a little experimenting just in time for the holidays. I’m happy to report the wines highlighted the flavors of the Thanksgiving dishes beautifully and, for these prices, they are incredibly hard to beat and perfect for entertaining a crowd! Below are the pairings we enjoyed most – please click on the name of the wine or dish for purchasing or recipe information:
1.) Oven Roasted Turkey with Sage Butter: This traditional incarnation of the holiday bird by Chef Tyler Florence is simply slathered with sage butter (over AND under the skin to keep the breast meat from drying out) and then roasted to a delightful golden hue. The resulting savory flavors and sage-scented meat and crispy skin harmonized beautifully with the 2014 Chateau de Landure Minervois ($10). This medium-bodied red is a blend of 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache and 20% Mourvèdre exhibiting enticing aromas of red and black fruit and spice. On the palate, flavors of cherry, blackberry, leather, black pepper and garrigue accompany supple tannins and a lovely, pleasing acidity.
2.) Farmhouse Herbed Stuffing: If you love a simple, meatless, old-school stuffing that highlights Thanksgiving’s glorious, traditional herbs then THIS stuffing recipe is for you! While we enjoyed this recipe, I recommend making your own bread cubes by simply toasting day old bread in the oven and then stuffing as much of the mixture into the bird to cook as possible. We really enjoyed the flavors of this stuffing paired with the 2014 Chateau de Lancyre Coteaux de Languedoc Pic St. Loup Vielles Vignes ($24). This red blend of 65% Syrah and 35% Grenache, has savory notes of blackberry, plum, cassis and earth with supple tannins and a garrigue-tinged finish. The wine’s food friendly acidity also makes it a very versatile pairing at the holiday table.
3.) Lavender Roasted Potatoes (scroll down for recipe): I must admit, I’ve never incorporated the flavor of lavender in my Thanksgiving meal but I’m really looking forward to it this year! For this recipe I used both yellow and purple potatoes to complement the color and flavor of the lavender. While these roasted potatoes also pair nicely with a lavender-imbued rosé, we especially liked them with the 2014 Luc Pirlet Corbières ($10), a medium-bodied blend of 50% Carignan, 30% Grenache and 20% Syrah. This wine exudes fragrant aromatics of blue and black fruit and earth while notes of plum, blackberry, cassis and black pepper delight on the palate while beautifully accentuating the lavender in the dish.
To learn more about the wines of France’s dynamic Languedoc region, please click here. I hope you have the chance to enjoy these remarkably food friendly wines over the holidays and if you do, please be sure to let me know in the Comments section below! For more delicious Thanksgiving recipes or wine recommendations from The Glamorous Gourmet, please click here. If you’re preparing the holiday meal this year you also won’t want to miss our Thanksgiving Day Cheat Sheet with oodles of helpful information.
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