Breaking apart the Thanksgiving Dinner

Traditional Thanksgiving dinner is full of great flavors, but they’re often (literally) piled on top of one another, making a difficult job of pairing wines with the multiplicity of aromas and tastes assaulting your senses.

thanksgiving plate

How do you find a wine that goes with all this?

One option, if you’re feeling creative, is to “deconstruct” your meal. Instead of loading everything onto one plate, break it down with creative versions of traditional components in separate courses, which are more closely tuned to certain wine styles. Here are just a few suggestions, with links to some of our favorite recipes. We use these as a base for our own version for Thanksgiving; if you’d like the versions we’ve developed ourselves, or if you have your own suggestions, let us know!
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Instead of cornbread, try a stand-alone starter of corn fritters with a honey & sour cream dip, a creamy corn chowder to pair with Sav Blanc, or a spicy or curried version with Viognier or Riesling.

Turn your potatoes or yams into a soufflé with an aged cheese and bacon, to pair with Pinot Noir.

Glaze your turkey with a reduction of cranberries and balsamic, accompanied by acorn squash filled with stuffing, and you have a course that will stand up to any big red. If you’re sick of cranberries, try substituting pomegranate!

Replace your pie with a pumpkin-mascarpone layer cake, served with an Eiswine or Vin Santo. For a less sugar-intense finish, serve with a lighter styled brut sparkler that cleanses the palate from the rich dessert.

When you take away the competing flavors from an over-stuffed plate, the wine/food match stands a much better chance. All this can be served as a buffet, with the wines set out with each course, if you don’t want to plate it all.

And don’t forget, sparkling wine can go with a lot of foods, so don’t waste this opportunity to celebrate!

Finally… another option is beer - today’s craft beers provide the same variety and complexity as many wines, and an exciting menu can be designed with different brews paired with each course.

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