Vines & Vittles: Thanksgiving offers limitless wine pairing opportunities

20191124-gm-wine-T-giving Wines.jpeg

The author’s picks: From left, a 2017 Kate Arnold Sauvignon Blanc to pair with chestnut, sausage and sage dressing; a 2017 Vina Esmeralda Muscat with a spicy floral aroma and peach and apricot flavors; and a 2016 Kate Arnold Willamette Valley Pinot Noir with plum and blueberry flavors.

November is the most exciting and palate-pleasing month of the year, for both wine and food lovers. Serendipitously, the most anticipated weekday of the year for both groups falls on a Thursday in November. And since most wine and food lovers are one and the same, it’s prime time for those of us who love to eat and drink.

Of course, every living, breathing, epicurean knows that Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November. And if you’re a living, breathing, wineaux, you know that Beaujolais Nouveau is always released on the third Thursday in November. So let the celebrations begin!

If you haven’t already sampled the 2019 Beaujolais Nouveau, it is now available in wine shops and grocery stores around the state. The Nouveau is made from the gamay grape grown in the Beaujolais region just south of France’s Burgundy appellation.

It is always an easy quaffing wine meant to be a celebration of the recently completed harvest. You can expect Beaujolais Nouveau to be a fruit-forward wine with strawberry flavors. It can be paired successfully with brunch-type foods, and you might even consider opening a Nouveau as an aperitif before dinner.

Thanksgiving dinner is a wine lover’s dream feast, because the meal can be successfully paired with white or red, as well as light or full-bodied wines. With turkey as the centerpiece of the meal, and with the wide variety of side dishes accompanying the “national bird,” you’ll have an almost limitless number of vinous options.

That’s because turkey is blessed with meat that has different flavors, colors and textures. Add to this the manner in which it is cooked — from traditional oven-baking to deep-frying, to grilling and/or smoking — and you have even more wine choices from which to select.

Stuffing for the turkey adds a whole other flavor dimension which, depending upon the nature of the dressing, opens up even more wine pairing possibilities. I’ll usually feature both white and red wines to go with the dinner, and then open a sparkler or late harvest sweet wine to pair with the pumpkin pie dessert. This Thanksgiving, I plan on using a few wines from a recent tasting at the Wine Shop at Capitol Market. Featured at the event were the wines from American winery Kate Arnold, as well as from Spanish winery Torres.

As an aperitif, I’ll open a bottle of 2017 Vina Esmeralda Muscat ($16). This tasty wine is just slightly sweet with a spicy floral aroma followed on by peach and apricot flavors. I always feature both a white and red wine with the main course. This year, I’m opening a 2017 Kate Arnold Sauvignon Blanc ($16). This California wine has aromas of anise and herbs, mouth-watering citrus nuances and good balancing acidity. The wine should be an excellent pairing with my wife’s chestnut, sausage and sage dressing.

The turkey this year at our home will spend two hours on my Weber charcoal grill before being transferred to the oven to bake until it reaches 165 degrees. This method of cooking the gobbler is the result of detente between my wife (oven) and yours truly (grill). After decades of marriage, I’ve decided to test my hypothesis (i.e., that compromise is only slightly more satisfying than passing a kidney stone). Anyway, I will pair this culinary experiment with a pinot noir from Oregon. One that I had the pleasure of sipping at the aforementioned tasting.

The 2016 Kate Arnold Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($23) has aromas of spice and earth and flavors of plum and blueberries with hints of vanilla and cola. It is a wine of excellent roundness and depth, with just the right dollop of acidity to make it a perfect match to your Thanksgiving meal. And I’m confident that the wine will do wonders for our detente turkey too.

Here’s wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

For more on the art and craft of wine, visit John Brown’s Vines & Vittles blog at blogs.wvgazettemail.com/wineboy. John is also an author and his novel, “Augie’s War,” is available online and at bookstores.

Funerals for Sunday, December 8, 2019

Board, Dencil - 3 p.m., Curry Funeral Home, Alum Creek.

Booher, Hughes - 3 p.m., Maranatha Fellowship, St. Albans.

Carpenter, Homer - 2 p.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Collins, Jacob - 2 p.m., Morris Funeral Home, Cowen.

Donahue-Moubray, Kathleen - 3 p.m., Haven of Rest Mausoleum, Red House.

Estes, Peggy - 2 p.m., Chapman Funeral Home, Hurricane.

Friel, Ruth - 1 p.m., Lantz Funeral Home, Buckeye.

Johnson, Marvin - 1 p.m., High Lawn Mausoleum, Oak Hill.

Linville, Vada - 2 p.m., Orchard Hills Memory Gardens, Yawkey.

Pettit, Michele - 3:30 p.m., Faith Baptist Church, Spencer.

Prue, Margaret - 2 p.m., Handley Funeral Home, Danville.

Scott, Robert - 3 p.m., Capital High School, Charleston.

Smith, Wanda - 3 p.m., Billy Hunt Cemetery, Kettle Road.

Sneed, Virginia - 2 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.