Food by itself is fine. Wine by itself is great. Wine and food paired well together is divine. Wine is an essential element of a meal that will elevate the dining experience to new heights, amplifying taste and sensation of every bite. We invite you to experience the magic of that perfect pairing for Thanksgiving Dinner. Here are a few guidelines to help you choose the right bottle for your holiday meal:
Rule #1: Pair wine and food of the same “weight.” Heavier dishes call for a fuller-bodied wine, while delicate dishes beg not to be overwhelmed and prefer a lighter style of wine. We’ve all heard the age-old argument: “white meat with white wine” and “red meat with red wine,” and this rule is actually based on science. For example, fish’s mercury levels will often interact with compounds (like tannin) in red wine and cause the wine to taste metallic. So, it’s better to pair it with a wine without tannin. Cue the white wine. On the other hand, red meat is great with red wine because the meat’s protein plugs the tannin receptors in one’s palate, causing the wine to seem smoother than it actually is. A Thanksgiving turkey happens to be an in-between meat with white meat that is enhanced by both white wines, and lovely with lighter-style red wines, as well as dark meat that loves a lusher bodied red.
Rule #2: Fatty foods pair well with acidic wines. Think of the vibrant acidity in a wine as the “palate cleanser” between bites, allowing your taste buds to reset and not be weighed down by richness. A bright white wine is scrumptious with mashed potatoes dressed with turkey gravy.
Rule # 3: Spicy foods pair well with sweet wines. Chili heat in food will cause dry wines to taste bitter, acidic, and astringent, so it’s better to choose a bottle with some residual sugar in order to avoid this affect. An off-dry wine will be fantastic with spicy brussels sprouts.
Rule #4: Like relationships with your family at Thanksgiving, wine can be paired well when it either compliments or contrasts with the food you are serving. Sometimes a perfect pairing is one that is complimentary: the flavors of the dish are mirrored in the wine, such as a lemon butter sauce paired with a buttery Chardonnay with notes of lemon. In other cases, contrasting flavors go extremely well together, like a semi-sweet Riesling with salty bleu cheese.
Rule #5: Sweet foods pair best with sweet wines of equal or greater sweetness. We know that it’s sometimes difficult to justify pouring a sweet dessert wine when there’s already so much sugar in pastry items, but sugar in food will react with your dry wines in a way to make it seem bitter and unpleasant. Plus, who can resist ending a meal with a delicious dessert wine?
Keeping these rules in mind, we have created a few pairing recommendations for your Thanksgiving dinner:
Thanksgiving Turkey and Pedernales Cellars 2016 Viognier Reserve
Of course, we had to start with the main staple: turkey. Whether you are roasting it or frying it, the richness and juiciness of the turkey will be so delightful with Viognier, as the wine has a lovely viscosity that will mimic the weight of the food. Try it with mashed potatoes, too!
Roast Beef and 2016 Valhalla
This red blend, made with all Italian grape varieties, has a lively acidity and mouth-watering brightness that will slice through the heaviness of roast beef.
Pecan Pie and Pedernales Cellars Texas Dulce
Remember, sweet wines are a must with sweet foods. The nuttiness of the wine combines with honeyed and caramel flavors, mirroring the classic pecan pie flavors. This is truly a comparison of flavor that’s guaranteed to delight!
Pumpkin Pie and Glögg
Glögg is a Swedish mulled wine that we sell only during the holiday season. It has flavors of baking spice like nutmeg, clove, and cinnamon, all of which are found in a pumpkin pie. Indulge in a glass and a slice this holiday season; you won’t regret it!
We hope that you enjoy these pairing suggestions and that you feel emboldened to create your own, both during the holidays and beyond! Check out our full list of wines here: /Wines