A vino to complement the bird

Wine pairings for a classic Thanksgiving dinner

Guests are coming over for Thanksgiving dinner, but what kind of wine can you serve with staples like turkey, ham, scalloped potatoes and pie?

Brendan McKenna, a product consultant at the Summerhill LCBO, says wine should complement as opposed to overshadow the flavour of the food.

“The idea with pairing wine with food is that one enhances the other,” said McKenna. “The flavour of the wine is enhanced by the food, and vice versa.”

Rosé and pinot noir pair well with ham, since ham and pork tend to be subtle in flavour, he says.

“Pinot noir would be perfect,” he said. “They’re light, earthy, they’ve got some violet notes on the nose. They’re very elegant.”

McKenna says pinot noir can also be paired with turkey, since the lightness of the wine complements the subtle flavours in the bird.

Another option for turkey is riesling, which tend to have a bright acidity with a touch of sweetness.

“It’s the acidity and the minerality in some of these rieslings that can really enhance and add some character and life to something like turkey,” he said.

For starchy dishes like scalloped potatoes, a wine with some acidity, like riesling or un-oaked chardonnay, cleanse the palette and clear fat from the tongue.

“It sort of re-invigorates the mouth, and makes the dish taste more balanced,” he said.

The key to pairing wine with desserts is the wine should be as sweet or sweeter than the food, which makes ice wines an easy choice, McKenna said.

In comparison to a sherry, which can be low in acidity and can come across as heavy on the palette, he says the fresh acidity in ice wine makes it a good choice post meal or paired with a dessert like apple pie.

“Riesling [ice wine] especially, you get these beautiful spicy baked apple characteristics on the nose and palette, and that works perfectly with pastries and pies, and the brown sugar type taste,” he said.

Although he admits it’s also personal preference, McKenna suggests serving ice wine in the 12–15°C range.

“The colder a wine gets the more muted the flavours become,” he said. “You want to strike a balance between cold enough to achieve that refreshing sensation on the palette, but not too cold that you start to lose flavour.”

By the bottle: VQA wines to consider

Ham: Malivoire Ladybug Rosé, 2010, $15.95, VQA Niagara Peninsula
Turkey: Charles Baker Stratus Riesling, 2011, $35.20, VQA Vinemount Ridge
Turkey or ham: Tawse Growers Blend Pinot Noir, 2010, $24.95, VGQ Niagara Peninsula
Scalloped potatoes: Tawse Quarry Road Chardonnay, 2011, $34.95, VQA Vinemount Ridge, Niagara Peninsula
Dessert: Tawse Icewine Riesling, 2013, $34.95, VQA Niagara Peninsula or Chateau de Charmes Vidal Ice Wine, 2013, $25.95, VQA Niagara-on-the-lake

How to incorporate nature in your Thanksgiving spread

This Thanksgiving consider putting some touches of nature on display next to your bird. Gathering the materials can turn into a family affair, or you can send the kids out to the park to gather some leaves and twine.

To add some outdoor elements to your Thanksgiving table spread, consider:

• Using a large a glass votive as the focal point on your table. Fill the centrepiece with water, floating candles and several colourful leaves. Wrap twine around the base and place some mini squashes and gourds around the votive.

• Using some giant colourful fall leaves as name tags by writing guests’ names on the leaves.

• Putting leaves in a basket and filling it with mini squashes and gourds.

• Adding accessories like napkins and dishes in fall colours to the table spread.

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Posted: Sep 29 2014 4:40 pm
Filed in: Home
Edition: Toronto