I don’t care what kind of family you’re from, you’ll probably agree: Togetherness is always more fun when there’s feasting involved. From the cheese and olive plate to the mashed potatoes to the cranberry sauce to the (drumroll please) main event—Thanksgiving is all about the food! Here in Paso Robles Wine Country, that means it’s all about the wine too. Well, the wine pairings that is. Impress your friends and family with these winning combinations and you might even earn a place at the top of the Thanksgiving Host Pantheon. Wait, there’s no such thing as that? Bah! We want our award. I mean, after serving up these 5 perfect food and wine pairings with a gracious smile, we totally earned it, right? If you can can’t wait to taste grandma’s gravy alongside a new vintage, this post is for you.
1. Stuffing and Sparkling
The bready smack of a carb-laden stuffing (whether tucked with veggies, olives, fruit, or even meat) calls out for the fresh clearing qualities of sparkling white wine. Toast to your good fortune (and good company) with a sparkling Grenache Blanc served slightly chilled.
Clavo Cellars Grenache Sparkling Wine is a celebratory masterpiece that will make the rounds all night long (everyone loves bubbles). Ripe fruitiness is heightened by shaved lemon zest and tart green apple, a fall fave. Extra points for dicing and roasting a few apples in your stuffing.
2. Mashed Potatoes and Viognier
Heavy fats call out for lightness! It is simply inevitable—just like the post Turkey Day food coma. Buttery, dense mashed potatoes and unctuous gravy are cut with bright levity in this ying-yang pairing.
Soaring Hawk Vineyards NV Barrique Blanc, a crisp 100 percent Viognier, offers up lots of refreshing acidity alongside a bounty of stone fruit and a hint of French oak. A sip of this wine between scoops of potatoes will have you coming back for more (and more…and probably more).
Directions: Mapping and Directions to Soaring Hawk Vineyards
3. Cranberry Sauce and Pinot Noir
The earthy, subtle, and complex trappings of a good pinot noir effortlessly heighten the zing of cranberry goodness, whether eaten by the spoonful or dolloped upon crackly, caramelized turkey skin.
Try Tudor Wines 2007 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir, which splits the difference between rich, ripe black fruit flavors and dusty, cedary tannins. It’s down to earth yet still totally elegant. Just like the table setting you took weeks to prepare.
4. Yams and Riesling
Cutruzolla 2014 Riven Rock Riesling is no one trick pony. This fruit forward gem is epic when paired with sweet buttered yams, but also plays well with neutral turkey—and even heightens that weird ambrosia you’ve been scared to try. Intense and pure, the nose expresses notes of lime, meyer lemon and crushed quartz. Creamy, mineral driven and incredibly balanced, this wine is your secret weapon against guests who confess they “have no idea what kind of wine they like.” In other words: This is a supremely drinkable selection that’ll be gone before you can say “pass the rolls.”
5. Port Style Zinfandel with Pie
Thanksgiving is a boon for pie lovers, who can take their pick from traditional apple, local olallieberry, and—of course—iconic pumpkin. Pour a small chalice of Rotta Winery 2013 Zin Port Leather and Lace and watch as the pie-lovers and port lovers converge.
This fruity port style wine is dripping in flavors of blackberry and raspberry, yet offers up a fresh minerality to balance out any extra jamminess. Warning: Family stories, some savory and some not so savory, may start flowing from this selection.