Thanksgiving Side Dishes & the Perfect Wines to Pair
Turkey, Football, Stretchy Pants, Wine. These are our 4 major ingredients for a successful Thanksgiving. Within this list, we can be confident of a few things: we want to save the white meat for leftover turkey sandwiches with Duke’s Mayonnaise, we will watch college before the predictable Dallas and Detroit games, and we want wines that will pair with everything on the table.
Thanksgiving is one of those food holidays that really make for a smorgasbord. The foods are all over the place from cheesy macaroni to cranberries, to textured white meat, to cream and veggies…just, all over the place. This begs the question: is there a wine to pair it all up? Well, yes and no. On the “yes” side, you could go heavy on one wine, like Cotes du Rhone, Alsatian white blends, or Rosé (That’s right! Don’t dare think that delicious rosé should go away with the warm weather! This wine is made to last the year through, and Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are the prime example!). On the “no” side, you can really take the reigns and pair groups of courses, or courses individually. For the sake of discussion, the following courses will be paired up individually and we will give you just the wine to pair with it.
*This article will cover the enticements, or if you have to use a “proper” term: The Appetizers! For all the wines to pair, you may shop using this link. Our suggestions for wines that pair with the main show of Thanksgiving, the turkey, will be featured in our next post. And because we cannot resist the chance to produce a tasting video for you to follow along with, use this link to watch our video on some of our favorite wine options for your side dishes.
***Obvious Gratuitous Disclaimer*** The truth is that there really are a multitude of wines, from Cava to Zin to Sancerre that will really pair well with your Thanksgiving dinner, and our goal is to show you as many as we can. Please take the following recommendations as a “building block” and not an “end all, be all.” To each their own palate!
Classic Sweet Potatoes Sides:
Well, they are a little sweeter than yams. We have heard people sum it up as regular potatoes meets pumpkin. Sounds about right. This dish has a hint of sweetness and is pretty tasty. Generally speaking, it is a good idea to pair a hint of sweetness with something similar. In this case, the EOD Cellars “Det Cord” Gewürztramier ($21.99), or Zind Humbrecht Gewürztraminer Roche Calcaire($44.99) (at select stores) are great options. Both EOD and Zind Humbrecht have very little sweetness and are really juicy with nice fruits that will really enhance sweet potatoes!
Tangy Cranberries Sides:
This is a job for Beaujolais. Don’t confuse this with “Beaujolais Nouveau,” as the purpose for the Nouveau is party wine. No, Beaujolais is a great pairing with cranberries (and honestly, a lot of other things too!) because of a lot of similar tasting notes, especially if the cranberries aren’t over-sweetened. Look for a very nice “Cru” Beaujolais. We recommend the Domaine de Leyre Loup Morgon ($19.99) for this beautiful complexity with some good cranberries.
And what would Thanksgiving be without Mashed Potatoes?
We are not sorry to admit this, but this dish is our end-all, be all. If you’re saving up, like we are, by eating all those salads and walking for miles on end, you’re doing it to indulge in some potatoes chock full of butter; so much butter that the butter has a cholesterol problem! Dump a few cloves of smashed garlic (preferably the ones you used to boil with the potatoes), some salt, cream, and just another pat of butter to be safe. What to pair with it? Have some buttery mashed potatoes with a delicious, buttery chardonnay!
Now, there are plenty of them out there, but we recommend what we believe to be one of the best, and that is once again, the winemaking skills of Thomas Rivers Brown: Rivers-Marie Chardonnay. The multi 100 point scoring winemaker, known the world over for Cabs and Pinot Noir can make a mean, beautiful Chardonnay that is perfect for this side dish!