As the co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Wine & Food Pairing, I participated in a TweetChat with @CIG_Food today. We discussed all sorts of wine and food pairing tips from which wines to pair with holiday meals to my favorite wine and food pairings. Below you’ll find a summary of our discussion. Feel free to email me with any Turkey Day (or other!) wine questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!
@CIG_Food:Which wine, red or white, goes best with Thanksgiving turkey?
@YNChick: It depends – light or dark meat. I recommend Pinot Noir, Gamay or Tempranillo with dark and Gewürztraminer or Riesling with light. And that’s just plain turkey. Once you top it with cranberry sauce or gravy, you definitely want to go red.
@CIG_Food: Thank you for your suggestion. We’ll need it! What is your favorite pairing of wine and foods?
@YNChick: I’ve had a lot of wonderful pairings, but my favorite right now is probably hot wings and off-dry Riesling.
@CIG_Food: Is there a reason why those complement each other?
@YNChick: I love pairing everyday foods with wine – hot wings, popcorn, burgers, nachos, fried chicken -there’s a great wine for ‘em all. The sweetness of the Riesling really helps to soften the spice of the hot wings. Sweet + Spicy = Soothing
@CIG_Food: How about sweets? What wine pairs well with pie, the universal Thanksgiving dessert?
@YNChick: It depends on the pie, but a good rule of thumb is to pair it with a wine that is sweeter than the pie.
@CIG_Food: To help us judge just how sweet the wine should be, let’s say we’re having pumpkin pie. What would you recommend?
@YNChick: For pumpkin and apple pies try a sweet Chenin Blanc from France or a Tokaji from Hungary. Tawny Ports are great with pecan pie. There’s also some great late-harvest Gewürztraminer out there that makes a great pairing with pumpkin pie.
@CIG_Food: Sounds delicious! Is there any general rule of thumb for pairing wines with food?
@YNChick: There are a few guidelines for wine and food pairing, but the first and only rule is to HAVE FUN! Guidelines include: pair spicy with sweet, fat with high-acid wines, and intense with intense. We cover these and more in the book.
@CIG_Food: What wines go well with popular Thanksgiving gravy and side dishes, like potatoes or stuffing?
@YNChick: I think that gravy and stuffing is great with Gamay (Beaujolais) and green bean casserole goes well with it, too. If you do a classic oyster stuffing, though, Chardonnay works really nicely. It’s also nice with buttery potatoes.
@CIG_Food: How can wine be used in cooking for Thanksgiving?
@YNChick: You can add wine to dishes as you cook them and even splash some in your gravy. Doing so just further reinforces the pairing.
@CIG_Food: How do we accommodate everyone? Is it best to serve one suggested wine or both red and white wine at Thanksgiving?
@YNChick: If your family is all in agreement about a certain style of wine, then you’re lucky and go with that. But most likely you all have different tastes, so I recommend a white and red or one dry and one sweet wine to cover your bases.
@CIG_Food: Good idea. You know what comes after Thanksgiving… Black Friday! What wines would you buy for family or friends this holiday season?
@YNChick: If you know the recipient’s taste, go for that. Otherwise a gift card to their local small wine shop is a great idea.
@CIG_Food: What is a difficult dish to pair with wine during the holidays?
@YNChick: I think candied yams pose a problem due to their intense sweet, yet savory flavors. I usually pair them with Riesling.
@CIG_Food: Any final tips for pairing wine with Thanksgiving dinner?
@YNChick: I often use holiday meals as a way to experiment, so bring several options (keeping pairing guidelines in mind, of course). Or you can ask each adult to bring a different bottle of wine to Thanksgiving and have a wine tasting party. Get to know your local wine shop owner/manager. They intimately know the wines they carry and can introduce you to hidden gems.
@CIG_Food: A tasting party sounds fun. If you don’t mind us asking, what wine will you be pairing with your Thanksgiving feast?
@YNChick: This year I am thinking a German Rosé (from where I interned this fall), a California Zinfandel, a Tokaji, and/or a Beaujolais.