Learn more about the wonderful world of wine in our series “Uncorked,” in which we explore everything from winemaking and wine lingo to wine drinking and wine pairings.
When most people think of Thanksgiving dinner, the first things that come to mind are a big, browned turkey or a gorgeous glazed ham, displayed on a beautifully decorated table. While the turkey or ham may seem like the focal point of the meal, in terms of wine pairings, it is actually the decadent sides that are responsible for most of the flavors on the plate. Here are four wine pairings that go well with both your meat and potatoes…along with green beans, mac ‘n’ cheese, peas, pies…
Harry & David Pinot Noir
Slightly earthy and herbaceous, this pinot noir has a light raspberry and dark cherry fruit profile that pairs great with the many classic Thanksgiving dishes. Its bright acidity and clean finish leave plenty of room for the flavors on the table to be the main focus while still providing length and complexity to every bite.
One of my favorite moments every Thanksgiving is bringing that first forkful of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and gravy to my mouth. I was excited to find that Harry & David has replicated this experience with its Turkey and Stuffing Wellington, a great alternative for a main course. It really is everything I love about the holiday, wrapped in a puff pastry. The moist mushroom stuffing and tart, chopped cherries accentuate the earthy and fruity flavors in the pinot noir, making for an enjoyably complex pairing.
This wine was also fantastic with the wild mushroom risotto triangles from the Entertaining Appetizer Assortment and the Creamy Snap Peas with Bacon side dish. The latter featured peas both in and out of the pod along with just the right amount of bacon, making for a delicious salty, crunchy, and sweet combination of flavors.
Harry & David Sauvignon Blanc
I was very excited to taste this wine with some Thanksgiving favorites. Its tropical fruit profile and medium body give it enough weight to stand up to some of the heavier dishes on the table, while the fruit adds lighter layers of flavor on top.
The first standout pairing was the Brown Sugar Sweet Potatoes with optional marshmallow streusel (I highly recommend opting for them) that are so light and fluffy that you could almost mistake it for a soufflé. The sweetness from the tropical fruit flavors in the sauvignon blanc blend right in with the natural sweetness of the potato, brown sugar, and marshmallow, making for an enjoyable pairing.
The sauvignon blanc was also a big hit with the mushroom risotto triangles and the decadent raspberry and brie rolls in the Entertaining Appetizer Assortment.
Harry & David Chardonnay
While full-bodied, heavily oaked chardonnays are popular for Thanksgiving, given that they pair well with the usual suspects of turkey, gravy, and stuffing, I find that medium-bodied, neutral-oaked options like this one are just as good with those three mainstays. They also pair better with a wider variety of sides and desserts.
Black Truffle and Almond Green Beans were a delight with this wine, which allowed the truffle and almond flavors to shine through with every sip. Both the Three-Cheese Scalloped Potatoes and Gruyère and Garlic Red Mashed Potatoes were a spot-on pairing here, too, and even better with a full fork of roasted turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and gravy.
Harry & David Royal Crest
A Bordeaux-style blend from Southern Oregon, the Royal Crest has a solid core of red and dark fruits, such as raspberry and blackberry, with subtle hints of earth and spice.
When I saw the package of Acorn Squash with Maple Glaze, I hoped these two would work well together. The pinot noir was also very good with this squash, but the Royal Crest brought the whole experience to another level. The earthiness and crunch of the squash and the sweetness from the maple glaze created a more complex symphony of flavors.
The most surprising pairing with the Royal Crest was easily the Sundried Tomato Truffle Mac and Cheese. I thought for sure this dish would pair best with one of the whites, since sundried tomato and black truffle are strong flavors that can throw medium-bodied, well-balanced wines like this a little out of whack. That is certainly not the case here, as the pairing showcases all the best flavors from the wine and the dish without overpowering any of the subtle elements.