Wine

Thanksgiving Wine Pairings

By • November 7, 2011 • 2 Comments

Heather Munden  Wine

Wine got you worrying this Thanksgiving? Put a cork in it! Heather Munden of the St. Francis Winery has you covered, as she shares easy pairings for Turkey Day and her wine-friendly recipe for St. Francis Winery-Style Pancetta.

Heather writes:

As a professional winemaker and designated foodie amongst friends and family, when November rolls around I field the age old question: “What wines pair best with Thanksgiving dinner?” 

The answer is simple: a wide variety of wines complement Thanksgiving fare. The choice of red or white can be as easy as pie! 

Thanksgiving dinner wines must pair well with a wide assortment of dishes. In my family, this includes grandma’s wacky cranberry jelly, my uncle’s French-fried green bean casserole, and mom’s beautiful oyster dressing. Wines need to work with all the idiosyncratic variations that a family brings the table. Below this short primer you'll find some of my favorites for the turkey holiday:

Bubbles - Everyone loves a little sparkling wine. It's a terrific choice because it pairs well with almost everything; appetizers or main course. 

White - Thanksgiving means strong, earthy flavors so I recommend finding a white wine confident enough to live in harmony with such food. A fresh, zippy Sauvignon Blanc is a nice alternative to its lighter cousin, Pinot Grigio. An alternative is Chardonnay, a tried and true classic with both round and fresh flavors.

Red - Thanksgiving is the great American holiday, so let's pay homage to the country's only indigenous varietal: Zinfandel. At the winery, I make it from vines that are 50-100 years old, which creates beautiful a concentration that can go head to head with heavy dishes like casseroles and stuffings. Another red to explore is Syrah: deliciously robust, it will satisfy cravings for blackberry, cocoa, and spice.  

Port - Please don’t forget port! Pecan pie paired with an aged tawny port is one of the most beautiful combinations I can imagine. 

Don’t be shy with wine. Branch out and try new varietals. A group atmosphere is the perfect opportunity to discover something different and share it with friends and family! These are some of my favorites:

Sparkling

Fun - Caposaldo Prosecco ($15). Italian, affordable, and super food friendly. A great starter.

Elegant - Domaine Carneros Rosé ($35). Dry (not sweet), but with hints of strawberries. Organically farmed not too far from my house in Napa.  

White

Different - Benziger Lake & Sonoma Counties Sauvignon Blanc ($14). Certified sustainable with notes of white peach, papaya, and zippy lime. 

Classic - Domaine Ferret Pouilly-Fuisse ($32). A perfectly balanced Chardonnay with great minerality. Biodynamic too!

Red

All American - St. Francis Sonoma County “Old Vines” Zinfandel ($23). Ripe, black cherries on the palate and made from America’s only indigenous varietal!  

Hearty - St. Francis Sonoma County Syrah ($18). Robust and full bodied, while still maintaining elegance with layers of cocoa, white pepper and intense blackberry fruit.

Port

Perfect with Pecan Pie - Taylor Fladgate 10 or 20 Year Old Tawny ($35/$55). Rich and luxurious with notes of praline and apricots. A terrific ending to a lavish meal. 


Comments (2)

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over 2 years ago Bob Hall

Good choices recommending Rose and Zinfandel, we have had excellent results with THE turkey wine, Gewürztraminer. The spicy flavor blends perfectly with the assertive flavor of the bird. Our second choice would be an Alsatian Pinot Gris. For a red, I like an Alsatian or Austrian Pino Noir.
Bob Hall
Chez Bob
Easton,MD
[email protected]

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over 2 years ago lorinarlock

We loved Heather's pancetta demo at St. Francis. Her wines were really yummy too. The St. Francis Chardonnay would be really delicious with creamy soups and the St. Francis Claret would rock with stuffing made with sausage and herbs. Thanks again for hosting such a nice get-together on Saturday night.