The one question I've been asked more than any other this week has been, "What wine should I serve with my Thanksgiving turkey dinner?"
Thanksgiving dinner is a comfort-food bonanza, at least it is in our family. Our table is always filled with lots of the roasted, basted bird, rich gravy, savoury stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, tart cranberry sauce (see my quick-n-easy recipe for cranberry sauce below), and vegetables that run the gamut from green and strong, like Brussel sprouts, to sweeter and gentler, like carrots and corn. Oh yes, please don't forget the pickles! And the hot buns with butter.
Because there are so many flavours and textures at Thanksgiving dinner, I always choose a wine that can complement or contrast most of them. That takes me, once again, to two of the most food-friendly wines going, pinot noir and riesling, and there are plenty of Canadian-made bottles to fit the bill.
Pinot noir and riesling wines (I prefer the dry or just off-dry rieslings) are not heavy, dense, or overly complicated (please don't confuse that with simple and boring) so they won't overpower or clash with the meal. Their acidity, fruitiness, and tannin levels make them the well-rounded cherished guest at a dinner table. They do it all--from cutting through the fatty richness of the gravy and standing up to the sweet-tart cranberries, to cleansing your palate for the next gorgeous bite.
What makes them even better is that they have interesting layers of flavours and complexities that make them lovely on their own.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends and family!
Canadian's celebrate Thanksgiving in October, while our neighbours (neighbors) to the south celebrate the fourth Thursday in November.
We both like to celebrate with lots of yummy food, palate-pleasing wine, good friends, and loving family. What our U.S. cousins have over us is the date of their celebration. And what I mean by that is they (by virtue of celebrating right after the third Thursday in November) get to take advantage of another really great wine for turkey & ham dinner with all the gorgeous fixings...Beaujolais Nouveau!
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Here's my cranberry sauce recipe--quick-n-easy:
Take one bag of fresh cranberries, wash them and then put them in a big pot. Add a quarter cup of either orange juice, pinot noir, or riesling (maybe I'll try Grand Marnier next time); a quarter cup of brown sugar; and a dash each of cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.
Turn the stove onto high until the works start to "pop" and boil. Then turn it down to low and stir constantly until it reaches the desired thickness level, watching carefully to see if it needs more liquid. This usually takes less than five minutes.
Taste the sauce now and see if you want more of something in it--but be careful because it's hot! Once you reach your desired flavour mix, let the sauce cool and then serve it with dinner.
Copyright (c) 2008 Kathleen Rake. All rights reserved.