A thoughtful wine pairing can enhance any meal, and complement a variety of dishes. For eclectic meals like Thanksgiving dinner, look to match similar flavors or wines and foods from similar regions. Instead of traditional wine rules that dictate what dishes red and white wines can go with, keep in mind that this is an eclectic meal, and you can have fun with a variety of mixing and matching options.
To help make pairing wine and food easier, Tussock Jumper Wines has created an infographic with recommendations on how to match your favorite holiday dishes with delish wines from around the world.
Pinot Noir’s flavors of dark berries, red fruits, and holiday spice contrast well with juicy roast turkey. It’s also light enough in tannins not to overwhelm.
Wine expert Cassandra Rosen says she likes French Chardonnay for pairing, because it’s lighter in oak, and generally more food-friendly than a buttery California Chardonnay. Says Rosen, “You’re looking for some acidity to complement the food. French wines also open up and become more expressive when paired with food, so don’t be afraid to experiment with a few.”
For savory dishes like sage and onion stuffing, a Malbec that is big and bold, but with balanced tannins makes a good pairing. Rosen says to look for flavor notes like ‘lush’ or ‘smooth’, and you’re on the right track.
A white wine varietal frequently found in South Africa, Chenin Blanc is a refreshing varietal to pair with roasted vegetables like sweet potatoes or squash. Says Rosen, “The caramelization that happens when you roast vegetables creates rich flavors and sweetness, and the naturally fruity, but crisp acidity of Chenin Blanc make it a great wine to pair with.”
To pair with creamy, rich dishes like potatoes au gratin or green bean casserole, look no further than Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Tussock Jumper’s Sauvignon Blanc has tropical notes, and bright flavors to complement cheesy, creamy sides.
For more savory roasted dishes, try pairing with a red wine like Shiraz. It’s earthy notes, as well as cherry and spice flavors will complement dishes like balsamic glazed brussel sprouts or carrots. Cranberry sides can be easily paired with a California Zinfandel, with the red fruit flavors and medium tannins complementing the sweet-tart flavor of the cranberries.
For not-too-sweet desserts like apple pie, Prosecco makes for a great wine pairing. Flavors of apple and pear are commonly found in this Italian alternative to Champagne, as well as a refreshing crisp finish. After dinner, turn that glass of bubbly into a cocktail by adding cranberry juice and orange liqueur!
Lastly, for that creamy slice of pumpkin pie, German Riesling makes the perfect wine pairing, as the notes of apple, stone fruits, and spice in the wine will harmonize well with pie flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.