2020 has been a difficult year for many, and as it winds down, I think it’s important to take time for reflection and gratitude.
Between the COVID crisis preventing indoor tastings at wineries this spring and the terrible wildfires and intense smoke during the harvest months, 2020 has been challenging for the wine industry. This Thanksgiving, I think we should buy local to thank them for their great wines!
I reached out to a few of my favorite Woodinville wineries and asked for their best Thanksgiving wine pairings. My one request was it not be the traditional chardonnay or pinot noir. Rather than focus on the turkey, I like to match wines with the side dishes, as I find this results in more flavorful and exciting pairings.
Jason Gorski, Director of Winemaking at DeLille Cellars, shared just such a white wine with me: “Chaleur Blanc is a unique wine that offers a combination of generous amounts of mouth-feel, oak, acidity and fruit, making it an outstanding pairing for all of the traditional items on a Thanksgiving menu.” The Chaleur Blanc is a Sauvignon Blanc/Sémillon blend celebrating its 25th vintage. *
Sauvignon Blanc is a great Thanksgiving option since it can pair well with side dishes yet not overpower the turkey. Guardian Angel, from Guardian Cellars, is a 100% Sauvignon Blanc option. Alyssa Mehs, Director of Wine Education, explains, “The brightness is a beautiful contrast to the classic heavy holiday dishes. We do age a percentage of this wine on French oak, so there is a softness and richness, along with a slight herbal note that makes it easy to pair …. I recommended Lemon Brussel Sprouts with Buttered Pecans. It’s also a fantastic compliment to the traditional Herb Roasted Turkey.” Avennia Winery also produces Oliane Sauvignon Blanc which offers a richness to stand up to roast turkey and stuffing, while also having great acidity that cuts through some of the heavier elements of the side dishes.
Last Thanksgiving, I recommended rosé, and I still find rosé to be great paired with holiday meals. Forgeron Cellars’ 2019 Pink Rabbits Rosé of Syrah is lovely as a starter wine with appetizers. Anna Hill, Forgeron Cellars Marketing Manager, recommends pairing with a rustic cranberry-curd tart. The acid in this rosé will work with the main meal or you can save it for dessert!
As for red, don’t limit yourself to Pinot Noir. Jason Gorski points out, “The earthiness and spice of Grenache and Mourvèdre in our (DeLille) Métier are a tremendous pairing with the flavors of the fall season. The savory balance of acidity and structure of this wine begs to be enjoyed with friends and family around the Thanksgiving table.”
Rhône-style wines compliment Thanksgiving foods, and Washington produces great examples. One Rhône-style wine I enjoy is the 2018 Forgeron Grenache, which Anna Hill suggest serving with your favorite Green Bean casserole. Avennia Winery is also crafting amazing Rhône wines. Winemaker Chris Peterson suggested Justine to me, their “Southern Rhone blend, is a perennial Thanksgiving favorite. The lack of new oak and vibrant red fruit notes makes it elegant enough to pair with the white turkey meat, but still rich and complex enough to complement more boldly flavored dishes like sage and mushroom stuffing.”
Guardian Cellars’ second label, Newsprint, offers a 100% Cabernet Franc. This aromatic and spicy wine compliments delicious sage stuffing and mashed potatoes with brown gravy. The moment this wine hit my taste buds, I could imagine the pairing; the hints of black pepper and bay fit so nicely with the holiday meal and at $21 how can you go wrong.
I received two other wines from Forgeron Cellars that I want to mention. Their 2018 Blacksmith Blanc, a Viognier blend, would work great with sweet potatoes or anything with holiday spice. Forgeron Zinfandel is always on my holiday table, and the current vintage will delight alongside glazed carrots spiced with cardamom and ginger.
Washington has so many great wines and it’s so important that we support our local producers, especially this year. Try any or all of these wines this Thanksgiving, all available at the winery tasting rooms in Woodinville or online for $45 or less. Even if you can’t make the trek to Woodinville, I encourage you to try a non-traditional pairing. If you do find a perfect pairing, let me know! Happy Thanksgiving!
I also received samples from Goose Ridge Estate Winery that arrived past the deadline for my article but I highly recommend them for your Thanksgiving table. 2018 Riesling, 2019 Rose and 2015 Merlot would all pair perfectly on your Thanksgiving table. Tiffany Stetson their GM of Direct to Consumer Sales also recommended their Spiced Apple Pecan Hard Cider for those non wine drinkers. The Cider I think would be great with my Autumn Bread Pudding and the Rosé with my Rosé Cranberry Sauce.