Pairing food and wine can be a daunting task, even for the most expert wine drinker. When it comes to Thanksgiving, our wine choices become scattered between the highly acidic cranberries to the smooth and creamy mashed potatoes and the rich flavors of turkey. Here are some basic food and wine pairing tips to help guide you through the intricacies of the Thanksgiving meal. And remember… no matter what you choose, it can always be enjoyed when paired with good company!
1. Pair with the most prominent flavor.
Most great combinations come to life when the flavors compliment each other. For example, if you’re serving an earthy, mushroom-based dish, pair it with an equally earthy wine, such as a Pinot Noir.
Turkey Day Tip: The light body of the 2013 Pinot Noir will lay a pleasing framework throughout the meal. It slides in flavor-wise where the turkey, cranberries, and stuffing intersect.
2. Texture and acidity are key.
As with flavor, wines will be the most complimentary when paired with a food of similar texture and acidity. Both food and wine range from light (green beans) to very heavy (creamy mashed potatoes).
Turkey Day Tip: For rich texture and subtle acidity that will stand up to both white and dark meat, the 2015 Etcetera Rosé is a must-have at the table. This rosé style wine will please both red and white wine drinkers (and it’s the CGT staff favorite for this meal)!
3. Pair by sweetness.
Wine should be equally as sweet (or sweeter) than the dish itself. Keep in mind sweetness when planning dessert… choose a port or late harvest wine to really balance the flavors.
Turkey Day Tip: The 2014 Late Harvest Riesling should stand up to the rich textures of pumpkin pie and the sticky caramel on apple pie.
4. Keep the crisp with the salt.
Crisp wines, often served chilled, can help balance out salty foods. The refreshing mouthfeel of crisp wines will perfectly compliment a heavily salted dish, for prolonged enjoyment.
Turkey Day Tip: For citrus, honey, and refreshing all over, try the 2015 Dry Riesling to go with the saltier dishes (did grandma over salt the green bean casserole again?) Its herbaceous qualities should go well with white meat and stuffing.
5. Tannins help cut the fat.
Tannic wines such as Pinot Noir or Cabernet Franc cut right through the coating that fatty foods can leave in your mouth. How do you know if a wine is tannic? Take a sip, and if it feels dry in the front to middle of your mouth, it has the characteristic of a tannic wine.
Turkey Day Tip: Gravy, gravy, gravy. Our go-to crowd pleaser, the 2012 Silhouette, will help cut through the fatty (and terribly delicious) flavors that are prominent throughout the meal. This off-dry, medium bodied red wine is food friendly from start to finish.