“Texas Wine and the Holidays… No Red Solo Cup Allowed”

The Texas fall brings cooler weather and football games with people enjoying their favorite beverages served in red Solo cups.  Thanks to country singer Toby Keith we know the importance of the bond people have with their red Solo cups!

Fall in Texas for grape growers signals the end of harvest and 2012 will go into the record books as the largest and best quality grape harvest in the history of grape growing.  Our thoughts now turn to those wonderful Texas wines and selecting the best pairing for the wines and food we will serve throughout the upcoming holidays.

Wine and food are meant to be enjoyed together since they enhance each other.  Wine and food pairings are not rocket science.  The key is to pair wine and food to complement not to over-power and to ensure the host feels comfortable about the pairings they have selected.

twgga3First, let’s talk Turkey, the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  In Texas we could roast, bake, fry, blacken, smoke, grill, or Cajun our turkey.  We can get very creative with our turkeys.

The basic rule to remember:  understand the components of the wine (alcohol, sweetness, acidity, and tannin) to complement or contrast the taste of the food (sweet, sour, bitter, and salty).

If you are preparing a traditional turkey, roasted, baked or broiled, with giblet gravy and cornbread stuffing, select a nice Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or a sparkling wine.  Dry white wines are a great selection for the traditional turkey dinner.  When adding a spicy component to the turkey, such as jalapeno cornbread dressing or blackened turkey, selecting a semi-dry white wine like a Chenin Blanc, Blanc du Bois, Riesling, or Gewurztraminer is a better choice.  And if you decide a mushroom sauce would work really well with and smoked turkey and a wild rice with mushrooms and bacon side dish, then dry red wines would be the best selection.  You can never go wrong with a nice Pinot Noir or Syrah.

What about dessert?  Wine that pairs well with the meal may not be the best for your dessert.  The same rules apply for desserts, cheeses and fruits, typical after dinner selections.

  • For milk chocolate foods – choose lighter, sweeter wines like a Riesling, Muscat Canelli or Chenin Blanc.
  • For dark chocolate foods – choose a Port, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Malbec.
  • With pumpkin and pecan pie – Cream Sherry, Tawny Port, or Late Harvest Riesling.
  • With apple pie – Late Harvest Riesling or Muscat.
  • With cheeses like Brie (young), Mozzarella, or Swiss – dry white wine.
  • With cheeses like Aged Provolone, Ripe Brie, Smoked Gouda, Romano, or Gorgonzola – dry red wine.
  • With cheeses like Blue, Roquefort, or Stilton – dessert wines.

All the advice in the world and the perfect pairings still come down to what do you and your guests enjoy drinking.  So while you may have all the rules to follow, everyone has their wine they love and they will usually bring a bottle along as a gift (suggestion to please serve this wine)!  Honestly, food and wine complement each other and enjoying both with family and friends can be the best time ever.

Out of the 250 plus wineries in Texas, visit your local winery and ask the winemaker what they suggest.  Yes, all the varietals mentioned are produced in Texas along with so many more that can enhance any great meal – Viognier, Roussanne, Tempranillo…So much great wine…so little time!  Enjoy the holidays!

 

 

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Source: Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association

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