Wine column: Choose food-friendly wine pairings to enhance Thanksgiving feast

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It’s a classic Thanksgiving feast for us this year. There will be roast turkey from Acme Meats along with the usual accoutrements — buttery mashed potatoes, gravy (my son-in-law Ramon’s recipe), stuffing laced with sage and fresh medjool dates, green beans Amandine and a bowl of homemade cranberry sauce. It’s a lot work and involves planning and preparation — including attention to the wine selection. By following a few basic rules, you can pull off a gastronomic experience your guests will rave over.

Choosing wines for such a wide range of flavours is very difficult, even for the most seasoned sommeliers and wine professionals. The ideal wine pairing is one where both the food and the wine are elevated — both are better together than alone. Indeed, it’s a challenge finding the right match for the richness of the gravy, savoury and sweet notes from the stuffing, and the tartness of the cranberry sauce.

Choose food-friendly wines — with freshness, elegance, and especially low alcohol levels. Higher alcohol percentages increase the perception of weight on your palate and enhance sweetness, which can overpower the flavours of the food.

Avoid wines that are extremely tannic (that drying sensation, like biting into a teabag), over-extracted and heavily oaked.

The easiest plan and my personal favourite solution would be an entire meal paired with sparkling wine and rosé — yes, just bubbles and pink — and why not? They should be dry but not too dry, with bright notes of ripe fruits, along with some juicy acidity to create freshness and balance.

If you’re not ready for just bubbles, look for interesting white wines with crisp savoury notes such as unoaked Chardonnay, Vermentino, soft expressions of Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre), Pecorino and dry Riesling.

For red wines, lean towards light-to-medium-bodied with fresh juicy fruits (not over ripe and jammy) along with spice and/or herbaceous notes such as Cabernet Franc, Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt, Gamay, Grenache and Pinot Noir.

Holiday pairings can elevate meals and create memories that will stay with us for a lifetime.

Hope you enjoy my recommendations that are not full-bodied party sippers, but wonderful food-friendly wines.

BIUTIFUL CAVA – BRUT ROSE $18

A real charmer of a sparkler made from Garnacha grapes. A round and fruity bubbly with a touch of sweetness (nine grams of sugar per litre) with ripe red fruits, citrus peel and a hint of smokiness.

TARGE SAUMUR BRUT ROSE $30

Made from Cabernet Franc grapes sustainably farmed in the Loire Valley, France. Serve this spectacular sparkling rosé chilled for every occasion. Dry and juicy, aromatic, refined, textured and delicious.

SELBACH S RIESLING $20

Peach, apricot, apple, as well as citrus fruit and herbs are balanced with crisp acidy in this young almost-dry Riesling along with nuances of quince and tropical fruit.

DOMAINE DU SALVARD CHEVERNY BLANC $22

Composed of 85 per cent Sauvignon Blanc and 15 per cent Chardonnay. Complex nose of lychee, acacia flowers, and ripe lemon. Vivacious and fresh with a long finish.

UMANI PECORINO CHIETI $23

Pecorino, known as “grape of the sheep” is an Italian varietal known for intense aromatics and bright acidity. This one is full of ripe fruit and flowers with crisp mineral notes.

LUNAE VERMENTINO BLANCO $24

A top-selling wine in our shop, a Billy Medak favourite pick — with soft aromas of white peach, fresh herbs and chamomile with a bright and citrusy finish.

PRIELER ROSE VOM STEIN $27

This beautiful and very rare rosé of Blaufrankisch from Georg Prieler is bright and spicy, with loads of character and flavour packed into a liquid mineral frame.

PEARL MORISSETTE – VIOLETTE $40

This 100 per cent Cabernet Franc from Niagara Peninsula is a real gem. Aged six months in concrete to create an intensely aromatic, peppery spiced and juicy wine. Layers of florals, lilacs and violets with raspberries, cherries and grapes just demands a second pour.

PRIELER BLAUFRANKISCH $28

A light-bodied and slightly textured Blaufrankisch from Austria with black fruits and a touch of pepper. Succulent and delicious, it has mineral tones and hints of stewed tomato and rosemary.

GRUBER ROSCHITZ ZWEIGELT $26

Classic Zweigelt, Austria’s crowd-pleasing grape that’s elegant and fruity with ripe cherries and peppery spice.

VILLA PONCIAGO BEAUJOLAIS GRANDE CUVEE $22

This lovely French light red wine made from the grape Gamay is best served lightly chilled. Its bright and juicy red berries are complemented with soft acidity on a lighter-bodied palate weight (think of the weight of skim milk).

PURPLE HANDS WILLAMETTE VALLEY PINOT NOIR $40

A delicious wine made from a blend from six different Oregon vineyards. A lush and fruity wine loaded with raspberry, strawberry, chocolate and spice.

Wine selections are available at select Alberta shops. Log onto liquorconnect.com to check availability and give them a call to verify.

Juanita Roos opened Color de Vino, a fine wine and spirits store, with her family in 2014. She has traveled to wine regions around the world and completed the prestigious WSET Diploma from London, England, the prerequisite for the Master of Wine program. Send your questions about wine to info@colordevino.ca.

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