Lots of Thanksgiving wine pairings, even for the vegan crowd

November 13, 2021

Thanksgiving dinner, whether turkey and its trimmings, ham, a large stuffed rockfish or perhaps a vegan selection, is on tap today. The rock are running, and they are wonderful. I stuff my whole, gutted and washed bass with sliced onion, lemon, a touch of shaved fresh garlic and fresh aromatic herbs, baste it like toast, with butter inside and out, S&P, then roast it around 425 degrees F. Don’t bother tying. A few large toothpicks will do the trick in waltz time. Enjoy a wide selection of whites with stripers: Sauvignon Blanc, White Graves, Gruner Veltliner, Macon-Villages, Pouilly Fumé and Gavi. Those who prefer domestic Chardonnay please choose austere, less-oaky types. The fish is “sweet” enough. Those filling their rock with crab imperial can go to a richer Chard.

Graves looks a lot like the Cape Region. It is between the Atlantic and the left bank of the Garonne River, SW of the city also named Bordeaux. The region makes both white and red wine. The dry whites are normally a blend of SB and Semillon. They exhibit floral, fruit, juniper, acacia, and roast nuts, and frequently are grassy. They are round, will age 5-7 years and should be served around 50 degrees F. Look for Chateau Roquefort Blanc, $15, 87 McD. Crisp and herbaceous, complements herbs in fish. Chateau Graville Lacoste Blanc 2019, 90 McD, $20, adds 5% Muscadelle to blend. Lovely bouquet of white peach, fennel frond, apple and wet gravel. This is rich on the palate with stony minerality and a clean finish. Those opting for Macon-Villages, stick with the known names: Louis Jadot at $13, Drouhin at $15, and Macon Lugny at $15 are my go-tos, and yes, I know they are Chardonnay. Go upscale to 91 McD, $23 Domaine Guillot-Broux Macon-Villages Blanc 2018. A tough find but worth the search. Goes great with duck, goose, game, turkey and meaty fish. Stellar with shrimp, crab or lobster in a sherry cream sauce with thyme.

Feeling Italian or sushi? Go with Gavi. Please don’t confuse with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance fomented by Bill and his lovely former wife Melinda. Best bets are labeled Gavi di Gavi, which informs that Cortesi grapes were sourced from the town of Gavi. Cortesi di Gavi uses grapes sourced from immediate environs. Both are DOCG. If it just reads Gavi, the grapes and wine are all over the place; great to no thanks, high in acidity and low in alcohol. Aromatics range thru lemon, lime, minerals, green apples, flowers, grapefruit, herbs and peaches with a nutty almond finish. Look for these producers: Fontanafredda, Chiarlo, La Scolca and Villa Sparina. Although all of these are top shelf, my go-to Gavi di Gavi is La Scolca Etichetta Nera (black label) Secco. The 2018 was 91, $40, and the 2020, 94 McD, will set you back $45. Look for dried-hay color, plenty of citrus, herbs and white peach aromas. Full-bodied, finishes long, clean, with subdued floral refrain. The limited edition is bottling- and promo-driven, and for collectors of Cabbage Patch dolls and such. Read labels carefully.

Regarding vegans, I was delighted by this Amy Katz article: She wrote, “I used to shy away from recipes using wine because I thought it was too expensive to add to dishes.” Later she continued, “Adding your favorite wines to recipes adds extra flavor along with moisture. And forget about buying ‘cooking wine.’ I highly recommend cooking with wine that you would actually drink. After all, you want your food to taste as delicious as possible. If you think about dishes you might normally add a splash of water or vegetable broth to, you can try adding wine instead.” You will find several holiday menus contained in the article. A very worthy read even for the burned meat and chicken wing crowds. Anyhow, here are some wine ideas for roast veggie dishes. Fall squash, e.g., acorn, butternut and pumpkin, love Pinot Gris and Verdejo due to their high acidity. For those who say no wine with Brussels sprouts, I say Gruner Veltliner is groovy, and with its citrus and herbal notes works great. Cabbage roasted and served with a Spanish Albarino is killer, but if it is kraut, try a Cab Franc or a slatey Mosel Riesling. Chenin Blanc with caramelized mélange of carrots, cauliflower, nips and winter squash is better than Beyond. Why would a veg muncher want something that looks and tastes “just like meat”? More on veggies next week.




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