The Thanksgiving feast—with its mish mash of mashed potatoes, gravy, turkey, ham, green bean casserole, candied yams, cranberry jelly, etc.—provides the best of excuse of the entire year to not sweat the wine pairing.
But let’s say you’re a real foodie (and perhaps just a little bit crazy) and want to try your hand at a disciplined, multi-course Thanksgiving meal, complete with a wine pairing for each course (and your psychiatrist has given you the green light).
We asked the members of the Vinesse tasting panel to suggest specific courses, then put the best ideas in some kind of “logical” order, and came up with the following menu. Feel free to execute it at your own mental peril…
- Starter: Butternut Squash Soup. Wine: Sparkling Rosé.
Here’s a case where the food makes the wine taste better, and the wine makes the food taste better. The texture of the soup brightens the fruitful quality of the wine, while the subtle raspberry flavor of the wine enhances the soup’s denseness.
- First Vegetable Course: Brussels Sprouts With Bacon. Wine: Pinot Gris.
Brussels Sprouts are among the more challenging veggies to pair with wine, but the slight bitterness of Pinot Gris (an almost almond-like flavor) can make the match work nicely.
- Second Vegetable Course: Green Bean Casserole. Wine: Sauvignon Blanc.
More and more, Sauvignon Blanc is becoming the wine of choice for pairing with many vegetables—particularly green ones.
- Potato Course: Mashed Potatoes and Gravy. Wine: Riesling.
Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without the most creamy and buttery preparation of the humble potato. This calls for a wine with enough acidity to cut through the fattiness of the butter, along with a little bit of sweetness to balance the saltiness of the gravy. In other words, not just any Riesling will do; it needs to be off-dry (slightly sweet).
- Main Course: Herb-Roasted Turkey. Wine: Pinot Noir.
It’s a classic pairing, but it works only if you serve the bird separately from the mashed potatoes and gravy. If you serve the turkey and mashed potatoes together, a rich, creamy Chardonnay makes a better pairing partner.
- Dessert: Pumpkin Pie. Wine: Check back tomorrow for a comprehensive look at this possibly perilous pairing predicament.