Unpredictable Food & Wine Pairings

 


In America tomorrow is the big day: Thanksgiving. Of course most of us will roll out the traditional recipes and ingredients, with turkey taking center stage at the table. Now what about your side dishes? Along with the standby family favorites—sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberries—there will be the standby wines: a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Noir. Nice, but shall we say, a little predictable? Why not mix it up?

You can easily pop open an unpredictable bottle that not only complements the turkey and trimmings, but also your side dishes.

These wines will stand up to Thanksgiving’s diversity of flavors—from the tartness of cranberries and the sweetness of yams to the earthy riches of stuffing and root vegetables. And no matter how you trim your turkey, they’ll hold strong. So, pack up the Pinot, stash the Sauvignon and let the pairings begin!
Walk on the Wild White Side
 
Danieli Soave Fattori 2010 is a crowd-pleasing bottle for most plates and palates. Rich fruit aromatics meet saline minerality with a good interplay between the two. This wine has enough energy to stand up to stuffing and sweet potatoes while complementing turkey.
 
Snooth Editorial Says:  Try it with this recipe for Sweet Potato-Russet Potato Gratin with Horseradish & a Dijon Crust.
 
Make everyone’s mouth water with Domaine Ehrhart Riesling Grand Cru Hengst 2011, a biodynamic wine from Alsace. The perfect poultry wine, it has lush tropical notes, bright spice and striking minerality that will also work with your light appetizers. So juicy, no one will notice if the turkey is a tad overdone. 
 
Snooth Editorial Says: Try it with this recipe for Apricot-Glazed Carrots.
 
Another curious white: Remirez de Ganuza R Punto Blanco Viura Rioja 2007, a crisp and floral white from Rioja made from 70% Viura and 30% Malvasia, that will bring out turkey’s sweetness and will play well with extra rich and gooey side dishes.
 
Snooth Editorial Says: Try it with this recipe for Glazed Poppy Seed Turnips.
 
Ratcheting up the Reds 
 
If you are truly over Pinot Noir, come back to poor, maligned Merlot. The Merlot-based blend selection from Lieb Cellars in Long Island wins points for its savory Bordeaux- like qualities, but staying bright throughout the meal. 
 
Snooth Editorial Says: Try it with this recipe for Roast Beef and Arugula Crostini with Olive-Red Pepper Relish.
 
A staple in French bistros, Beaujolais is another red that deserves an image makeover and a place at the table. Domaine du Vissoux Pierre-Marie Chermette Beaujolais Cuvee Traditionelle Vieilles Vignes 2013 is a young, medium-bodied raspberry- and strawberry-inflected “juice” that bridges the gap between light and intense reds, and harmonizes with a variety of flavors. Such is what you can expect from the Gamay grape.
 
Snooth Editorial Says: Try it with this recipe for Mushroom and Fontina Tart.
 
The red tables wines from Portugal’s Douro Valley are elegant stand-ins for the expected reds. Cedro Do Noval Douro DOC 2009, from the esteemed Port house, shows dark plum and cherry, with crumbly slate (schist happens!) and spice. Don’t be fooled by the deepness of this wine—underneath, it possesses surprising delicacy laced with violet. 
 
Snooth Editorial Says: Try it with this recipe for Red Beans and Sausage.
 
Happy Thanksgiving, Snoothers!
 

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