It’s that time of year again: A time to give thanks, enjoy time with friends and family, and share your favorite wine and food with the ones you love. As I prepare for Thanksgiving, I’m reminded of how thankful I am to be living in the South Willamette Valley. We are surrounded by outstanding vineyards, superb wineries, and stellar winemakers which produce the fantastic wines that are consistently being revered by critics around the world. So, “Thank You” to all of our region’s hard working farmers, winemakers, vineyard managers, winery owners, wine pourers and everyone involved in making the South Willamette Valley wine region one of the best regions in the world. I am thankful and honored to be a part of everything that makes this place so great!
When considering the wine you’ll want to share with friends and family on your Thanksgiving table, think local. The South Willamette Valley Wineries offer the best wines for all palates and foods, and I’ve suggested some amazing food and wine pairings below:
White Wines for Thanksgiving~
Sparkling Wine: My favorite sparkling wines usually have an elegant pale golden color and contain a consistent flow of tiny bubbles. I serve sparkling wine from the time I offer appetizers, throughout dinner and beyond dessert…it pairs well with almost everything offered during a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Suggestions: Domaine Meriwether Captain Clark Vintage Cuvee, Capitello NV Brut, RainSong Vineyards Sparkling Wine
Riesling: Rieslings are either very dry or fairly sweet, and they truly pair well with any dishes that are spicy or sweet. Riesling is always a top pick white wine for pairing with traditional Thanksgiving fixings as they pair well with light and dark meat turkey, yams and sweet potatoes, turkey meat and spicy or herbed seasoning. Suggestions: Sweet Cheeks Riesling, LaVelle Vineyards Riesling, Saginaw Vineyard Riesling, Territorial Riesling
Viognier: Viognier’s are well known for their floral aromas and fruit forward flavors; however, they are usually considered dry and crisp once on the palate. These characteristics allow this wine to pair nicely with a variety of spicy foods. I always add spicy sausage and apples to my stuffing, and Viognier is the perfect match. Suggestion: Pfeiffer Viognier
Sauvignon Blanc: A Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp and refreshing white wine known for its citrus and tropical fruit flavors and mineral undertones, making it a perfect pairing candidate for mashed potatoes and turkey. Suggestion: Capitello Willamette Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Pinot Gris: Pinot Gris does well at handling bold flavors like garlic and onions, and any dish that has rich flavors. Pair with an herb seasoned stuffing and garlic mashed potatoes. It’s also a perfect pairing for a roasted turkey. Suggestions: (So many delicious Pinot Gris in the South Willamette Valley!) Shadow Mountain Pinot Gris, Sarver Sur Lie Aged Pinot Gris, Iris Vineyard Pinot Gris, King Estate Signature Pinot Gris, High Pass Pinot Gris
Pinot Blanc: Pinot Blanc is a lighter flavored white wine with hints of citrus, pear, and melon. I love these Pinot’s with rich cheeses, so serve this up with an appetizer assortment of Stilton, Gorgonzola, and Camembert. Suggestions: Brigadoon Pinot Blanc, Benton-Lane Pinot Blanc
Red Wines for Thanksgiving~
Pinot Noir: This is my favorite red wine for Thanksgiving. Pinot Noir’s earthy undertones and tremendously broad range of aromas, flavors, and textures make this wine the ultimate wine to pair with all the traditional Thanksgiving foods; including, yam casserole, green bean casserole, Waldorf salad, roasted, fried, or smoked turkey, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. Suggestion: All of the South Willamette Wineries produce top quality, notable, and exceptional Pinot Noir’s – take your pick!
Zinfandel: A full bodied red wine that is a lot more intense than a Pinot Noir, but pairs well with many traditional Thanksgiving side dishes. This would be a great wine pick for people who love hearty, bold red wines that pair well with a variety of foods. Suggestions: LaVelle Zinfandel, Chateau Lorane Zinfandel
Syrah: I love the meaty characteristics and spicy finish that I expect from a good Syrah. The peppery notes of Syrah partner well with herb-infused stuffing and both the white and dark turkey meat. Suggestions: Sarver Syrah, King Estate’s NxNW Walla Walla Syrah, Opine Cellars Syrah
Tempranillo: Full fruit flavors and low acidity make this medium bodied wine delicious with almost all of the traditional Thanksgiving fixings; especially, roasted turkey and stuffing. Suggestion: Chateau Lorane Tempranillo
Cabernet Sauvignon: Often referred to as “The King of Red Grape Wines”, the dark cherry, plum, warm vanilla and tobacco flavors that are traditionally found in Cabernet Sauvignon’s tend to enhance flavors of many side dishes that are served during Thanksgiving dinner. Try this wine with anything that contains strong, rich cheese. Suggestion: Noble Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, LaVelle Cabernet Sauvignon
Cheers everyone, and may you and yours have a bountiful and blessed Thanksgiving! ~ Julia