Turkey, Wine and Apples: The Holy Trinity of Fall
- by Anna Speer
It's November again! For us Mississippians, that means it is finally starting to feel like autumn. November is a month laden with food and drink traditions, I know we all have our favorites. This year, I'd like to introduce you to one of mine.
First, let's get the Thanksgiving wine cliches (ahem) I mean traditions out of the way.
Beaujolais Nouveau. The first harvest and earliest vintage of the past year's grapes. It's a reliably young wine, lacking body and depth, but vibrant and light with brightly acidic flavors that cut the richness of Turkey Day plates like (oh heck, what's one more cliche) a hot knife through butter.
Next: Pinot Noir. Foodies and oenophiles alike love to feature Pinot Noir during this time of year. It makes sense: moderate body, complex fruit notes and a depth provided by oak-barrel maturation. All these qualities make Pinot Noir an ideal match for Thanksgiving, particularly when the turkey is grilled. The smokey qualities of a good Pinot Noir can highlight depth of flavor when roasting or grilling your centerpiece poultry.
This varietal offers huge scope in quality: a cool-climate Pinot Noir from New Zealand is nothing like an oak-aged offering from Oregon. Stray but a little from the Meiomi status-quo and a world of nuance awaits you and your turkey.
By this time, your house will smell better than an expensive fall-themed candle and your guests will be dying to know what your secret is. Serve the cider in mugs and offer up a bottle of red wine to use as an add-in. Almost any dry red wine will do, but I prefer Red Zinfandel. Bold, fruit-forward, delicately spicy, moderate body and not overly expensive: this varietal is by far my favorite for this recipe.
This is a fantastic way to introduce red wine to your "I don't like red wine" friends. The cider is deliciously fragrant on its own and the wine brings a delightful depth to the drink. As they adjust to the flavors, they can progressively add more wine until they feel brave and comfortable enough to try a full glass.
Chardonnay, sadly, will not stand up to this adaptation. Keep your white wine selections cold and crisp, and serve your cider separately. If you have any leftover cider at the end of the night, refrigerate it in a pitcher. It should hold for a week or so, and pairs beautifully when served cold with a leftover turkey sandwich.
Happy Thanksgiving, y'all. Hug your families extra from me.
Steals (around $10), Deals ($15 range) and Splurges($20 - $40 range) - all locally available in the Bay-Waveland area!
Steal: Louis Jadot Beaujolais Nouveau, current year's vintage. Serve slightly chilled.
Deal: Oyster Bay Pinot Noir, 2014. Medium-bodied, luscious. Serve slightly chilled.
Splurge: Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Chardonnay, 2014. Serve slightly chilled.