Thanksgiving is just days away. For many folks, that means family and friends, football, tons of great food, and fine wine. Willow Creek Estate is no different. And like many Americans, we’ll be serving a turkey for dinner. Perhaps you will be, too.

How To Pair It

So, the inevitable question is … What wine should I server alongside my turkey dinner? Sounds like an easy question. Many people would go into their reserves and find a nice white wine. Maybe a Chardonnay, or a Sauvignon Blanc. And while Rule Number 1 of wine pairing is do what makes your heart sing, it may not be that simple if you’re serving dinner to guests. What makes your heart sing may be a palette no-no for discerning friends and family.

Wine pairing isn’t always about the type of meat. Many times, it’s about how the food is prepared. A chicken in bold mole sauce is not a good candidate for a light-bodied Chenin Blanc, for example. Turkey Is gamier than chicken, but not as much as duck. It could go well with a white or lighter red.

It’s In The Preparation

Think about how you intend to prepare your turkey. Will it be roasted in garden herbs? Will it be glazed in fruit? Will it be peppered and smoked? Consider the seasonings, toppings and method of cooking. All these can push you toward one wine or another. Let’s look at a few examples.

If you’re planning to roast your turkey with garden herbs like thyme and rosemary, or even with medium to spicy peppers, you may want to server our Grenache Noir. You can start serving this wine earlier than dinner, because it’s lighter body and tanning structure make it a beautiful sipping wine. It would segue nicely into your meal. The same could be said for our fruity but dry Albariño. Depending on preparation, either would be a good choice (or both, since your guests may prefer one over the other).

If you’re thinking about marinating your turkey in a soy or red wine marinade while it cooks, you may want to server our Mourvèdre during dinner. The added flavor profile of your food will want to be enhanced by Mourvèdre’s added complexity.

If you glaze your turkey or smoke it, you may want to consider our GSM. The deeper, slightly fruit-forward characteristics that play between the Mourvedre and the Syrah will compliment your bird nicely.

 If serving Mourvedre or the GSM, serve something lighter before dinner. Our Albariño is a lovely way to start the party. You may also consider a lighter white like a Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc or Grenache Blanc. Save the bubbly for after dinner!

Watch The Details

 Remember to consider the side dishes. The way you season your potatoes, rice or vegetables will influence your decision up or down the wine scale.

 And if you plan on smoking your turkey, consider using our Zinfandel Smoking chunks. The flavor profile of Zinfandel chunks is comparable to hickory, but with a slightly sweet or fruity undertone.

 Let us know what you decided to serve. We love the feedback.

 Happy Thanksgiving!

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