For the last couple of years, Wine Beer Washington has written about traditional Thanksgiving food and wine pairings. One of our writers recently came across a recipe for a Butternut version of Turduckhen and posted it on her Facebook page. The recipe looked tasty and it inspired me to try it as the centerpiece for a post on wine pairing for a vegetarian Thanksgiving.
It is is challenging to select a single wine for a Thanksgiving dinner with it’s diverse flavors. Sweet, salty, bitter, unami, grassy and earthy tastes can all be vying for attention at the same time on your Thanksgiving plate. A wine can enhance a flavor characteristic but it can also clash. Having a selection of wines on your Thanksgiving table gives you many more options for successful food and wine pairings. I decided to pair the same Washington wines I used for the Traditional Thanksgiving Food and Wine Pairing for this Sample Vegetarian Thanksgiving Feast.
- Hogue Cellars Gewürztraminer 2014
Lychee and citrus notes on the nose, a tease of sweetness on the tip of the tongue but this Gewürztraminer is surprisingly dry. Suggested retail price $10
- DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blanc 2013
Grassy meadows, herbs, citrus and a trace of pineapple grace this clean, crisp wine with a mineral finish. Suggested retail price $38
- L’Ecole Chardonnay 2014
Tart green apple lead the nose and tongue on this medium bodied Chardonnay. Nice acidity and great mouth feel. Suggested retail price $24
- Northwest Wine Academy Rosé 2014
This bone dry rosé is bouquet of herbs with a hint of strawberries and lemon zest. Suggested retail price $18.75
- Five Stars Cellars Syrah 2012
Dark and dried fruit dominate this jammy Syrah. Suggested retail price $34.
- Tangerine and Spinach Salad
- Herbed Green Beans with Shallots
- Cranberry Orange Relish
- Butternut Squash Veg Ducken (Butternut Squash stuffed with eggplant stuffed with zucchini stuffed with mushrooms and squash)
The Vegetarian Food and Wine Pairings
The Hogue Gewürtztraminer has nice acid to match the salad dressing and the fruit is not too sweet for this dry Gewürtztraminer.
The acidity of this white Washington wine cuts the slight fattiness of the fried shallots on the haricot vert, making a nice bean pairing. The squash stuffing is so rich on the Butternut Squash Veg Ducken that the Gewürtztraminer serves as a pleasing and refreshing palate cleanser.
DeLille Cellars Chaleur Estate Blanc
The Chaleur Estate Blanc really makes this salad shine. This clean and crisp wine brings out the clean and crisp flavors of the salad, especially the cucumber and tangerine. Both the salad and wine seem brighter when paired together. The Chaleur also really brings out the best in these barely cooked, harvested yesterday, green beans. The cranberry orange relish was too sweet for this white Bordeaux blend, turning it bitter. The Chaleur paired better with the butternut squash and vegetable/mushroom stuffing than the eggplant component of the main dish. The eggplant bitterness brought out bitterness in Chaleur Estate Blanc as well.
The L’Ecole Chardonnay was a great partner to the pecans in our Thanksgiving salad. The relatively high acidity of the salad dressing was a challenge but the citrus of the tangerine and the nutty pecans pulled off a pleasing pairing over all. The herbed green beans and shallots were a neutral pairing with the Chardonnay, neither enhanced nor diminished. The Chardonnay wasn’t as successful with the Butternut Squash Turducken as I had hoped. It actually seemed to wash out some of the flavor and richness of the savory squash dish.
Northwest Wine Academy Wine Academy Rosé
This pale pink Washington Rosé held up to the acidity of the salad dressing just fine and highlighted the fruit flavors of the salad. The rosé brought out the herb notes in the beans in a very tasty way and the beans highlighted the fruit essence of the rosé wine. Earthy notes, especially the mushrooms were brought out by the rosé when paired with the squash main dish. I liked the squash stuffing better with the rosé wine than with the actual squashes or eggplant.
Five Star Cellars Syrah
Red wines are not known for their salad pairing and the Star Cellars Syrah is no exception, it has other places to shine in this Thanksgiving feast. The Syrah did much better pairing with the green beans, shallots and herbs. The green beans remained super fresh tasting while the Five Stars Syrah was a delightful contrast of deep, dark and jammy flavors. This is where the eggplant part of the squash dish really found its home in a food and wine pairing. Actually every bite of the the squash version of Turducken was happiest with the Syrah. The nutty pecan bits, the earthy mushrooms, the unami of the parmesan cheese, the roasted sweetness of the butternut squash etc all found a home partnered with the jammy, dried fruit notes of this Washington Syrah wine.