Just in time for American Thanksgiving we asked our lovely friend Sarah Blanchard, who just happens to a) have studied at Paris’s Le Cordon Bleu, graduating with a degree in Wine and Management and b) works in one of France’s most renowned wine regions, Châteauneuf du Pape, in one of its most prestigious wineries – to help us wine lovers with the perfect holiday pairings! Over to you Ms. Blanchard:
The beautiful Sarah, in all her wine loving glory.
Give thanks around your bountiful table this harvest with some of France’s finest producers. These noble nectars are certainly worthy of your finest holiday feasts. Presenting something new can also a part of the experience, especially for a holiday formed around discovery and togetherness.
Due to the general neutrality of roasted turkey we tend to pair wine with its accompaniments. For whipped potatoes, root vegetable gratins and earthy stuffing I enjoy the rare Cabernet Franc. A grape better known in Bordeaux blends, its refreshing acidity, spiced fruit, wet leaves and juniper will lighten the richness of the meal. The older the better.
A real labor of love, Domaine Guiberteau’s Les Arboise 2011 is from the tiny area of Saumur in the Loire Valley.
Some of my favourite wines are the whites of Châteauneuf du Pape. These gems only represent 6% of the regions total production, otherwise known for reds.
Château de Beaucastel makes their white with 80% of Roussanne. The 2012 is golden in the glass and expresses very delicate aromas of gooseberries, honey, white flowers and pear. Its incredible oily texture on the palate is perfect for the richness of roasted white meat. Think sweeter stuffing from hazelnuts, rosemary, dried apricots and brioche.
As for the final course, it is a common mistake to pair dessert with a brut Champagne, but its acidity is too great for the sugar. Look to late harvest, ice wines or noble rot who both share aromas of sweet spices, toasted nuts and cooked fruit. I’ve chosen this last wine as a salute to my native land, who have been producing fantastic juices over the last several years. Domaine de Grand Pré, located in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley, produces only 100% indigenous grapes. Their Ortega Ice wine is perfectly indulgent and highly concentrated. Its rich perfumed nose of cooked apricots, toasted nuts, smoke and honey along with its fat mouth texture will pair magically with a traditional selection of seasonal pies.