So it’s that time of year again, when families gather ’round for Thanksgiving festivities; meals are served, and wine is poured in abundance (perhaps for the meal, perhaps to deal with the gathering of the family). For me, wine is an essential part of any Thanksgiving (for both reasons). But nothing can throw off a great turkey than a wine that tastes like turpentine, and this can easily happen with the wrong pairing. I’m a bit of a foodie, okay make that a lot of a foodie, and have developed a bit of an addiction to my favourite food ‘vlog’ Food Wishes. So in a nod to social media, I thought that I would share some Youtube recipes that I have had my eye on for the long-weekend, and some pairings that are sure to make both your tastebuds and your family happy.
Turkey & Chardonnay
A classic. This pair is a old as they come, but a true and proven delight. A buttery, chardonnay is a perfect companion for a savoury, oven baked turkey. The chardonnay has just enough acid to bring the often mild tasting bird to life, and to cut through the heavy gravy without feeling too heavy. Chardonnays come both oaked and unoaked but for a turkey, oaked is always my go to. Pick one from California, I particularly love ones from the sunny, southern regions like Santa Barbara. Saturday is turkey day in my home and we will be sure to be opening this gem from Mer Soleil.
Prime Rib & Bordeaux
Just say “Prime Rib” to be and I’m shivering with excitement. This is easily my favourite food to cook, and I love it because it can pair fairly flexibly with a number of wine styles, depending on how it is cooked. Personally, a good Bordeaux is always a safe bet, as they are generally a blend of Cabernet and Merlot, two grapes big enough to stand up to a nice big ‘hunk’ of meat. If you have the time to hunt one down, and don’t mind spending a couple extra dollars, look for a Pomerol – Merlot is the dominant grape here and gives a rich, velvety texture. Another great and budget friendlier choice is Saint-Emilion, another Merlot forward Bordeaux. Take a sniff, and see if you can smell any herb-y aromas, for me this pairs perfect with a great rosemary rub!
Cheese & Ice Wine
I get a lot of funny looks for this for this but I’m really not a dessert food fan, but I do sometimes like something a little sweet at the end of a meal. My go to is Ice Wine and a couple of pieces of cheese (and some fruits too, because you know, it’s healthy and all). We are so lucky to live in one of the very few countries in the world that produce this liquid delicacy. Made from grapes that are frozen on the vine and pressed out and fermented to produce a sweet, vicious, alcoholic gold. Ice wine can pair nicely with a number of desserts, but for me a small glass with a plate of something rindwashed or slightly blue takes the cake over cake any day. Don’t like stinky cheeses? Test out a glass of ice wine with this stunning tartine.
Apple Pie & Moscato D’Asti
In spite of my aversion to dessert foods, there really cannot be a Thanksgiving post without mention of apple pie. My family are apple pie fanatics, and usually pair theirs with a big glass of ice cold milk. Do they go well together? Absolutely. Is milk half as fun as wine? Absolutely not. So we’re scraping the milk this year (at least for the grown-ups) and pairing up our holiday delight with a little Moscato D’Asti. Moscato’s are crazy popular this year due to their extremely sweet nature and accessible price point, but beware some can toe the line of alcoholic syrup. Look specifically for ones from Italy, and even more specifically ones that are labeled Moscato D’Asti. These are lightly effervescent, sweet, and are brimming with flavours of peach and poached apple, giving your apple pie something to be thankful for.
I hope this guide helps to steer you in the right direction as we move closer to the holiday weekend- may your turkeys be juicy, prime ribs flavourful and pies flakey. However if this all fails, just remember to add more wine.