Pair Bordeaux with Your Thanksgiving Meal
October 26, 2016

Pair Bordeaux with Your Thanksgiving Meal

While we are still in October, many of us have started to think and plan our Thanksgiving meal, and of course the wines to pair with all the different flavors.  

Between appetizers, side dishes, turkey and pie, Thanksgiving is all about having a little bit of everything on your plate—but what’s in your glass? Bordeaux produces a wonderful array of wine – different colors, different styles, and very affordable price points to make any Thanksgiving gathering work.

Below we have put together some very delicious pairing ideas; however, Thanksgiving is first and foremost about family and friends sit around the table to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. It should not be fueled with stress or panic about having everything pitch perfect. So first, a few essential ground rules.  

  • Don’t fret – the more guests you have, the less likely you are to please everyone so don’t try to please everyone.

  • Remember food and wine are much more accommodating of each other than we think – so mix and match – experiment, relax, and have fun!

  • Stick to your budget.

  • Butternut Squash Salad with Cranberries

    With the sweeter, fruitier flavors of this salad (with or without roasted/toasted nuts) our recommendation would be to pair with a lighter style of sweet Bordeaux wine such as a Loupiac or Sainte-Criox-du-Mont. If challenging to find, opt for a younger Sauternes or Barsac from a lighter vintage. The dried fruits – marmalade aromas and flavors in the wine bring complement and amplify the flavors of the salad, adding complexity and the perfect amount of acidity-sweetness balance to bring this dish of may flavors and textures seamlessly together.

    Château la Rame, Sainte-Croix-Du-Mont 2011

    Château Doisy-Vedrines, Sauternes 2012


    • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into ½-inch chunks {about 2 cups}

    • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

    • 2 tablespoons agave nectar

    • 1¼ teaspoons sea salt

    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

    • One 5-ounce bag baby greens

    • ¼ cup dried cranberries

    • ¼ cup pecan halves, lightly chopped

    • ¼ cup crumbled goat cheese

    • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

    • 2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard

    • 1 tablespoon freshly snipped chives

    How to make it:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  • in a mixing bowl, toss the butternut squash with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the agave nectar, and 1 teaspoon each of the salt and pepper.

  • spread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment + bake until tender and golden, 20 to 25 minutes, tossing after 10 minutes. set aside to cool.

  • assemble the baby greens, cranberries, pecans + goat cheese in a salad bowl.

  • top with the butternut squash.

  • in a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, vinegar, mustard, chives, ¼ teaspoon salt + extra pepper into a vinaigrette and toss with the salad.

  • serve immediately + enjoy!

  • Potato Gratin

    With the richness and purity of this dish you need a wine that can handle the richness but that will also not fight the pure creamy, cheese flavor – such as a Graves Blanc – richer and more textured than Entre-Deux-Mers, yet not too full-bodied or evidently oaky. With its refreshing spine of acidity, moderately rich texture and tight-knit depth of bright fruit flavors, a Graves Blanc ‘Sauvignon-Semillon’ blend is a perfect and elegant pairing.

    Clos Floridène, Graves Blanc 2011

    Château de Chantegrive, Graves Blanc 2011


    • 2 shallots, diced

    • 1/4 cup butter, divided

    • 2 cups heavy cream

    • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

    • 1 tablespoon chopped chives

    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

    • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

    • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

    • 1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes

    • 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes

    • 2 cups milk

    • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) shredded Gruyère cheese

    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

    How to make it:

  • Preheat oven to 375°. Sauté shallots in 3 Tbsp. melted butter in a saucepan over medium heat 2 minutes. Stir in cream and next 5 ingredients; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat; cool 15 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice all potatoes. Combine sliced potatoes and milk in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and microwave at HIGH 5 minutes. Uncover and gently stir the mixture. Re-cover and microwave 5 more minutes. Drain mixture, discarding milk.

  • Layer one-third of Yukon gold potatoes in a well-greased (with butter) 9- x 13-inch baking dish; top with one-third of sweet potatoes. Spoon one-third of cream mixture over potatoes, and sprinkle with 1/2 cup Gruyère cheese. Repeat layers twice, and top with Parmesan cheese. Cut remaining 1 Tbsp. butter into small pieces, and dot over top. Cover with foil.

  • Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Uncover; bake 20 minutes or until browned. Let stand 10 minutes.

  • Bordelaise Gravy

    Bordelaise Sauce, whilst not a traditional Thanksgiving sauce, it works very well with turkey, especially helping to bring together the many bold flavors around the thanksgiving table. Made using red wine it enables you to serve bigger, more full-bodied red Bordeaux with your Thanksgiving turkey – such as something more cabernet based from the Médoc, such as a Saint Estèphe or classic Haut Médoc.

    Château La Croix St Estèphe, Saint-Estèphe 2011

    Chateau Belle-Vue, Haut Médoc 2010


    • Pan drippings (including juices) from whole roasted turkey (about 2 cups)

    • 1 tablespoon canola oil

    • 1 roasted turkey neck

    • 1 cup sliced shallots

    • 1 tablespoon minced garlic

    • 2 cups dry red wine

    • 2 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock, divided

    • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

    • 1 teaspoon black pepper

    • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

    • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

    How to make it:

  • Place a ziplock bag inside a 2-cup glass measure. Pour pan drippings into bag; let stand 10 minutes. Seal bag; carefully snip off 1 bottom corner of bag. Drain drippings into a small bowl, stopping before fat layer reaches opening. (You should have about 1 1/2 cups drippings.) Discard fat.

  • Place roasting pan from turkey or a large saucepan on a burner over medium-high. Add oil; swirl. Add neck, shallots, and garlic to oil in pan. Sauté 4 minutes. Combine 1/2 cup chicken stock and flour in a bowl. Add wine to pan; cook 12 minutes. Add turkey juices, flour mixture, remaining 2 cups chicken stock, pepper, and salt to pan, scraping to loosen browned bits. Strain stock mixture into a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until reduced to 3 1/2 cups. Stir in chopped thyme.

  • Cranberry Sauce

    For Cranberry Sauce fans we recommend a lighter, more fruity red Bordeaux, such as a young AOC Bordeaux, preferably unoaked or just lightly oaked. The juicy bright berry and plum flavors will complement the sauce and accentuate the flavors in the accompanying turkey.

    Château Bois Pertuis, Bordeaux 2013

    Château Peybonhomme Les Tours, Côtes de Blaye 2012


    • 12-ounces of frozen cranberries

    • 1 cup of sugar

    • Lemon zest

    How to make it:

  • Empty a 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen cranberries into a saucepan and transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl.

  • Add 1 cup sugar, 1 strip orange or lemon zest and 2 tablespoons water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes.

  • Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes.

  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries.

  • Add sugar, salt and pepper to taste and cool to room temperature before serving.


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