One of the most popular wine questions this time of year is what to pair with those big, bountiful, fall feasts. Amid Thanksgiving and the traditional holiday season, the cooler weather and garden harvests have us preparing bigger meals with hearty ingredients and rich flavours.
There are a few key wines that should be on-hand during the crisp months of fall and winter, which will be your ‘go-to’ selection for an assortment of diverse menus and occasions. With company coming (sometimes un-announced) you will be entertaining and probably serving an array of appies, salads, soups, roasted birds and all the fixings. These wines are perfect in a pinch and should be stocked staples in your wine rack.
Grenache – Go for a Rhône-styled wine here. The spiciness, acidity and body of the Grenache do well to offset a Flintstone sized turkey leg.
Gewürztraminer – The default white wine for many at Thanksgiving is Chardonnay, and while there is nothing wrong with a good Chard, we really enjoy a Gewürztraminer, preferably from Alsace (France). If you haven’t had the chance to experience a traditional Gewürz with a bit of residual sweetness, there is no better time to take the leap.
Pinot Noir – Most quality Pinot have extreme versatility, drinking well on their own or pairing with a diverse range of food. A new world Pinot from New Zealand or Oregon may be more fruit forward than a Burgundy option, but should also have soft and approachable tannins. Avoid “huge” wines with alcohol levels of greater than 14%, simply because they are a bit trickier to pair.
Albarino – A relatively rare varietal which is popularly grown in Spain. It is very distinctive and one of the hottest varietals in Europe right now. Spain consumes so much of the stuff that we are hard pressed to get any exported. An Albarino would pair well with an appetizer or salad course, but could be used with fowl in a pinch.
Sparkles! – There are many options here. You cango with name brand Champagne, or search for Champagne-like style from other regions in France (Blanquette de Limoux for example), or go with a Cava or Prosecco (at a fraction of the price). Everyone will be happy to see you (and the bubbles you came with) at that New Year’s Eve party!
Don’t let this list limit you, there are other pairings that will work wonderfully. There is really no wrong answer, wine is as subjective as the individuals that are experiencing it. Visit the shop for new weekly exclusives each week, all perfect for the approaching holidays!
What is your favourite 'go-to' wine that you have stocked and ready for the impromptu visit or versatile festive feast pairing? Leave us a comment and let us know!