The Thanksgiving Throwdown

I get this question a lot: “What wine to serve for Thanksgiving?”

The Thanksgiving meal is full of tart, savory, sweet and meaty flavors. It is hard to figure out a wine with all of these flavor elements going on.

So I decided to round up some Twisted Peeps and see if we could answer this question….

Our meal was: Cranberry Pork Loin, Cornbread Dressing, Sweet Potatoes with Butter, Brown Sugar & Almonds. (I didn’t do turkey because everything makes turkey better).

The wines: Zardetto Prosecco, Umberto Cavicchioli & Figli “Robanera” Lambrusco, 2010 La Font du Vent Notre Passion Cotes Du Rhone Villages Signargues, 2010 Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast 35th Anniversary.

1st pairing: Prosecco – This is a lovely sparkling wine with tart apple, orange, apricot and a smooth clean finish.

Cornbread Dressing: The Prosecco brought out the sweetness of the corn and enhanced the savory flavors of the herbs. Very Good.

Cranberry Pork: The tartness of the dish was tempered by the Prosecco. The dish was still lively and the Prosecco cleansed the palate. Very Good.

Sweet Potatoes: The sweetness of the dish made the Prosecco “fruit cocktail” like. Not Good.

2nd pairing: Lambrusco – This particular sparkling wine is made with the Graparossa grape which is tannic and dark. This wine is aromatic with dark fruit. The taste is dark fruit and dark spices with a soft, dry finish.

Cornbread Dressing: The herbal elements in the dish enhanced the dryness of the Lambrusco and the wine enhanced the savory flavors of the dressing. Very Good.

Cranberry Pork: Nothing really changed at least for me. I thought both complimented each other. Everyone was surprised what a good pairing it was. Very Good.

Sweet Potatoes: The sweetness of the dish remained and the wine stayed fresh and lively. Very Good.

3rd pairing: Cotes du Rhone – This wine is 50% Granache and 50% Syrah. It had an herbal spiciness to it with a little cherry, plum, and raspberry.

Cornbread Dressing: The wine made the herbal flavors a little bitter. Not Good.

Cranberry Pork: The wine made the dish tangy and enhanced the tartness of the cranberries. Not Good.

Sweet Potatoes: The sweetness of the dish worked well with the spicy, tartness of the wine. Good.

4th pairing: Pinot Noir – This Pinot is from one of my favorite producers. It is layered with truffles, red fruit, cedar, smoke and a light earthy, herbal, spicy finish.

I honestly can’t tell you about each dish with this wine because there were pauses of silence with the occasional “Yum”, “Oooh, I like this”, “This is one of the best”.

So overall, the group liked the Lambrusco and the Pinot Noir with all of the dishes. In fact we had Pecan and Pumpkin pies for dessert and the Lambrusco got finished off with those. Also the Lambrusco was the surprise in the bunch. Quite a few said they would serve it and said they loved how dry and bubbly it was.The price was around $16.

The Pinot Noir was around $30 and everyone one thought it was worth it. I would recommend decanting for an hour.

The Prosecco ($15) would be a good choice if you wanted a “start the party” wine. This particular Prosecco has become one of my new found faves.

As for the Cotes du Rhone ($12), I think if it was at least 80% Grenache it might have done better. I drank the wine later in the evening without food and it had been open for over an hour the tart spiciness smoothed out and its more earthy qualities came forward. I thought it was a nice drinking wine.

As a side note: I want to thank the whole Wine Team (Darrell, Chris & Vince) at Sigel’s (store #5) in Addison for putting up with me and getting the wine for this post. As well as Teri for hosting & cooking and Janalee for the pies.

I hope Everyone’s Thanksgiving is full of good food, wine and people!

Cheers Y’all!


2 thoughts on “The Thanksgiving Throwdown

  1. Great idea and excellent advice. I’ll be getting some for our table.
    To Sully: If he can find it, we had some 16th anniversary Stone IPA last night at a wedding party and it’s worth a search. 10% alcohol and a heck of a fabulous beer.


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