Tuesday, November 21, 2017

THANKSGIVING WINE PAIRINGS SURE TO IMPRESS YOUR FRIENDS + FAMILY


Having just come off a trip to Ireland (more on that later, of course), it seems crazy that Thanksgiving is now just a few days away. I've scarcely made any plans at all, except selecting what I'm going to cook for our gathering of friends here in New York. (The usual tradition since I go home for Christmas in mid-December.)

Amongst our group, which changes every year, I only have one rule on Thursday which is that you are not allowed to call our Thanksgiving a 'Friendsgiving.' To me, that is a party thrown before the actual holiday with yes, your friends. On the true holiday, no matter who is in attendance, the meal is Thanksgiving!

Now, being both a true novice and delighted consumer when it comes to wine, I usually show up to Thanksgiving with some kind of red I typically enjoy, most likely purchased at the Trader Joe's wine shop for about $7. And while that's all fine and good, I am 32 now, and would like to transition my guest reputation from "She usually brings... Something!" to, "She always brings the best wine!"


And since I don't really see the point in composing a whole blog post about my solo personal journey to wine pairing bliss—I employed the help of my friends over at 90+ Cellars to help all of us excel in making this Thanksgiving our most delicious yet! Brett Vankoski, the VP & Wine Director at 90+ has come up with six pairing ideas to accompany every stage of your epic feast from appetizers to turkey and of course, dessert. That's right—we're all going to be so classy that we'll have different wines for different courses of our meal.


// ROSÉ AND CRANBERRY SAUCE, ANYONE? //


WHAT TO PAIR WITH: A cheese plate and charcuterie
THE WINE: Pinot Grigio and Beaujolais
"Ease into your Thanksgiving feast with some starter bites, like a nice cheese platter with fruit and charcuterie, and open up a bottle of Pinot Grigio," says Vankoski. "This is a delicate, crisp and refreshing wine, especially when the grapes are grown in cooler climates. Pinot Grigio offers a nice balance to fragrant cheeses and is an ideal wine to wash down your favorite smoked and cured meats, too. Beaujolais is another classic combination with cheese and charcuterie for a red wine pairing. It tends to be lighter in body with a more refreshing finish."
PAIRING RECOMMENDATION: 90+ Cellars Lot 42 Pinot Grigio, $13


WHAT TO PAIR WITH: Roasted brussel sprouts and bacon
THE WINE: Côtes du Rhône
"This is a very festive and 'fall' way to prepare a brussel sprouts dish that will look beautiful as part of your Thanksgiving spread. Côtes du Rhône is traditionally made of mostly Grenache and Syrah and features earthy, peppery flavors with aromas of black cherries and raspberries. It pairs really nicely with rustic, savory dishes," Vanoski says.
PAIRING RECOMMENDATION: 90+ Cellars Lot 143 Côtes du Rhône, $12
TAYLOR ALSO LIKES: Les Dauphins Côtes du Rhône, $11


WHAT TO PAIR WITH: A side of sweet mashed potatoes
THE WINE: Reisling
Vanoski notes, "No Thanksgiving meal is complete without a sweet potato dish. Serve it up with a refreshingly juicy, slightly sweet Riesling that features flavors of white peach and nectarine. If you’re serving a dish that’s rich or has some level of sweetness, you want to pair it with a wine that’s also somewhat sweet." But if you're wary of any wine with the descriptor of 'sweet,' don't panic. "The 90+ Cellars Lot 66 Riesling isn't overly sweet. It’s balanced with a crisp acidity so it has a refreshing level of sweetness, and doesn’t feel like you’re drinking a dessert wine. When pairing wine with food in general, you want the wine to be palate-cleansing and refreshing so it complements the food and doesn't compete with it," he says.
PAIRING RECOMMENDATION: 90+ Cellars Lot 66 Riesling, $12


WHAT TO PAIR WITH: Turkey and gravy
THE WINE: Pinot Noir
"When it’s time to dive into the main course, you want a wine that can be enjoyed with everything on your plate" says Vanoski. "Pinot Noir is a food-friendly red wine that complements the flavors and personalities of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. You don’t want a wine that has a lot of tannins or texture because those tend to dry out your palate. Turkey can often be on the drier side already, so you want to pair your turkey meal with a smooth, fruit-forward red.
PAIRING RECOMMENDATION: Iron Side Reserve Pinot Noir, $25
TAYLOR ALSO LIKES: The Pinot Project, $10


WHAT TO PAIR WITH: Cranberry sauce
THE WINE: Sancerre rosé
Hear Vanoski out on this one! "Who said Rosé is just for the summer? Open a nice bottle of Pinot Noir-style Rosé to enjoy with the sweet and fruity side dishes like cranberry sauce, a Thanksgiving staple. A Pinot Noir Rosé with red fruit aromas has a fresh texture and crisp acidity that pairs well with the tartness of cranberries. Because cranberries tend to be tart and even bitter, look for a wine that has a certain level of acidity and a smooth finish—you want the flavors to work in harmony together."
PAIRING RECOMMENDATION: Magic Door Sancerre Rosé, $20


WHAT TO PAIR WITH: Apple or pumpkin pie
THE WINE: Moscato
And now for the good stuff! "End the meal on a sweet note and get your palate ready to indulge in your favorite Thanksgiving desserts," says Vanoski. "A playfully effervescent Moscato D’Asti is a crisp and balanced wine that can be enjoyed with savory, fall-inspired desserts for a show-stopping end to a memorable Thanksgiving meal. Thanksgiving dinner tends to be a really rich meal so you don’t want to end your night on a heavy note. Instead, opt for something light and sweet, like this Moscato D’Asti that features notes of juicy peaches and fragrant honey."
PAIRING RECOMMENDATION: 90+ Cellars Lot 134 Moscato D’Asti, $12
TAYLOR ALSO LIKES: NV La Marca prosecco, $20


*While this is not a sponsored post, I did receive a few bottles of 90+ Cellars wine to taste for myself and share with my friends over Thanksgiving.

Image credit: 90+ Cellars

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