Thanksgiving Wine Pairings: An Insider’s Tips Blog

In honor of the upcoming holiday, this week’s B+Log will steer clear of its normal marketing-related turf and focus on something a little more fun – wine tips for Thanksgiving!

These insights come primarily from one of our newest clients, Paul Santoriello of Door Peninsula Winery.  A native Californian, Paul moved to Wisconsin from Napa Valley to create innovative and unusual wines free from the strictures of the wine establishment. You could call him an anti-wine snob winemaker. Here are his four “insider’s tips” for making your Thanksgiving feast even more sumptuous.

MIX IT UP: Thanksgiving is a big meal with a variety of different foods.  In reality, there isn’t one wine that will carry the entire meal from appetizers to turkey to dessert, so select a mix: red, white, sweet, and dry.

The classic pairing with turkey is a Riesling, but other semi-sweet white wines – like Seyval Blanc or Viognier – are also a good match, as are sparkling wines. Fruit wines that work well with the Thanksgiving dinner include cherry, cranberry, and fruit and wine blends. Door Peninsula Winery makes a number of these, including Peninsula Red (Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/cherry), Peninsula White (Seyval Blanc/apple), and Cranbernet (Cab/cranberry.)

KEEP IT SIMPLE: Avoid overly big, powerful wines that might overwhelm the food…and don’t think you have to spend over $20 to get a good bottle. Turkey and ham are both relatively light meats that work better with light wines.  Save the “big reds” for meals featuring beef.

FOOD-FRIENDLY WINES: You want to enhance the food, not overwhelm it; try to pick wines that have good acidity, are fresh and light, and are even fruity or sweet. They can certainly be full-bodied, but should never be heavy. Food-friendly wines are refreshing, lively, juicy, and tend to clean your palate between bites – complimenting the richness in the food.

Fruit wines are trending right now. They are food-friendly wines, and strike a nice balance in the sense that they do not show extremes of power, alcohol, ripeness, oak or extraction.

MATCH FLAVORS: The weight of the food should match the weight of the wine. Thanksgiving offers flavors like turkey, pears, nuts, and cheese, so a white wine or light red is appropriate.

Fruit wines, semi-sweet wines, and wine blends are fun and new to food matching, as well as price friendly. They are light enough for appetizers and, yet, can carry through the main course.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Andy Larsen

VP/Director of Public Relations

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