This past Friday, the husband and I went to Whole Foods for a wine pairing class for Thanksgiving dinner. I don't know if your local Whole Foods has cooking classes, but I have really enjoyed the few I've been to.
As I said, the event focused on pairing wines with Thanksgiving dinner. They had a chef that would prepare a Thanksgiving dish for us to try and then their beverage buyer paired it with a wine. We learned some good and interesting facts about the varietals and got to taste some yummy food, and now I get to share all of the knowledge with you!
Sweet Potato Biscuits with Madame Liberte Brut Sparkling Wine
I was excited to see that the evening was starting out with a sparkling wine. They are my favorite! I love the bubbles. Anyway, we were given Madame Liberte, an American sparkling wine made in New Mexico. It was a brut, so it was drier. The WF wine buyer was unable to find what grapes made up this sparkling wine, but his guess was pinot grigio, pinot noir, and chardonnay. It sold for $17.99.
The wine smelled of apples and it was a little biscuit-y for my taste, as I prefer the fresher and crisper sparkling wines, but I still enjoyed it. It paired very well with the hearty biscuits as the bubbles cleansed your palate after every bite! I highly recommend with appetizers since it doesn't leave a lingering flavor in your mouth.
Haricots Verts with La Pierrlee Chablis
First, these sauteed haricots verts with shallots were amazing. A great way to cook green beans! Now back to the wine, the vegetables were paired with La Pierrlee Chablis, which is a Chardonnay from Northern Burgundy. It goes for $21.99.
This Chablis was very good. I tend to not like the buttery and oaked Chardonnays, so a Chablis was perfect since they are unoaked and have a more mineral flavor profile to them. There was a slight buttery characteristic which is common to the Chardonnay grape due to malolactic fermentation which changes the bitter malic acid to softer lactic acid. The minerality comes from the dead oyster shells that make up the clay ground in Burgundy, which is a great example of terroir. The lightness of the wine made you really taste the flavor of the green beans, so it'd be great with any other light foods (e.g. seafood).
Turkey and Gravy with The Stash Pinot Noir
For the main attraction of Thanksgiving, they actually gave us two options, a white and a red. For those who prefer white, the choice was Miner's Voignier. It was a very aromatic white that paired well with the turkey and gravy since it was a much weightier and more viscous white wine.
I'm a red person, so I focused on The Stash Pinot Noir. It is from the Santa Rita Hills AVA (American Viticultural Area) in Santa Barbara, California. This area is great to grow Pinot Noir, which is known to be a fickle grape, because the hills run east to west and grapes are cooled from the ocean breeze. This Pinot Noir had more heft to it than others with a nice dark red fruit flavor. I really enjoyed this wine, and we ended up buying two bottles for our early Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday. The Stash was being sold for $14.99.
Apple Cheesecake with NxNW Reisling
This dessert was delicious. It was a cheesecake topped with apple slices on a gingersnap crust. It was paired with a Riesling from the Horse Heaven Hills AVA in Washington state. This is an off-dry Riesling, which means it is less sweet than most people expect of a Riesling. There were notes of apple, pinapple, and peach. It was the perfect pair to the rich cheesecake! It goes for $17.99.
Overall, I was very impressed with the wine selections. While I wouldn't necessarily buy them all on a regular basis (at least not the whites), they were all fun to try and paired very well with their dishes. If you're going to Thanksgiving dinner and want to bring a bottle, I would definitely suggest any of the ones mentioned above! I also think The Stash may be making a regular appearance at our dinner table when we want a lighter red!