The Thanksgiving Food and Wine Pairing Guide

November 23, 2010

Food and wine pairing is simple. Really. Take two flavors that you like and see if they work together. If they do, it’s a great pairing. If not, try again.

But you don’t want to be left experimenting at the Thanksgiving dinner table — there’s too much at stake with trying to impress in-laws, friends, parents and/or siblings. Plus, the diversity of Thanksgiving flavors (and guests) makes it a little more difficult to match perfect tastes with perfect sips.

We’re here to help with our fool-proof Thanksgiving wine pairing guide.*

Snacks

With football on TV, it’s a safe bet there’ll be some meat, cheese and cracker spreads on the coffee table. There might even be an artichoke dip if you’re lucky. Nothing cuts across these flavors better than some bubbles. Not to mention, a sparking wine (either Champagne or Champagne style is a fun way to get any party started).

Suggestion: Gruet Winery Blanc de Noirs from New Mexico ($14).

Appetizers

If your gathering starts with actual appetizers, the guess is they will be on the lighter side since few people want to load up on heavy meats and too many extra calories before dinner. Stick with the sparkling wine here or switch over to an easy-drinking white wine.

Suggestion: Bonacquisti Sunnyside Pinot Gris, $15, (only available in limited quantities at the winery).

The turkey (plus 8 sides)

It’s dinner and Americans love big Cabernets. We are here to tell you that you should dial back your wines when serving with turkey. This is a lighter white meat that will be overpowered by a huge red. Go against the grain and consider a white wine. Sauvignon blanc, Viongier and Riesling are all excellent choices here. These wines typically have a diverse flavor profiles and citrus and herbal notes that can work with not only the turkey but the cranberry sauce, green beans, mashed potatoes, yams, stuffing, sautéed carrots and more. If you opt for a red, try a lighter blend like Vinny No Neck.

Suggestion: Bonacquisti 2008 Bella Risa, a Sauvignon Blanc and Orange Muscat blend ($15), or Vinny No Neck, a Sangiovese and Merlot blend ($16).

Dessert

There’s going to be some pie on the table, isn’t there? Cookies, chocolates, pumpkin pie, cheeses…. We love to go nuts with a cornucopia of desserts following the awesome over indulgence at dinner. This pretty much makes it darn near impossible to match the perfect wine. So we say drink what you like here and worry about the perfect pairings later.

Suggestion: Bonacquisti Port-style Zinfandel, which happens to go great with chocolate truffles and Stilton ($18).

What do I do with my Bonacquisti Cabernet Sauvignon?

If you’ve enjoyed our wines before, you know that many of our reds are big and bold. You can still drink them at Thanksgiving. If you absolutely love our Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Zin or Cab, then you’ll probably enjoy it with the turkey despite our preference for something a little lighter on Thanksgiving day. Better yet, pick up one of these reds for your Christmas dinner as they love being served with medium rare roast, smoky meats and other great holiday dishes.

* This guide is not actually fool proof. But if you’re drinking any of our wines with family, friends and a boatload of food, you’ll probably be having a darn good time no matter what.



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