The wines I’m going to mention in this posting will be from ones that I know well and always enjoy. The true fun will be pairing them with my Williams-Sonoma Thanksgiving recipe book (Simon-Schuster), again. I just found this book, and am really looking forward to Wednesday!

When Jose and I were married, my sister Merry gave us a wok as a wedding gift. Being a stay-at-home mom,  I went from a wok to running from that point forward. I raised my children on what chefs today are calling cuisine. We called it, “Come sit down and eat your dinner.”

Before I begin, you’ll read that I add a bit of these great wines in my cooking process. Don’t be afraid to use great wine with your dish preparations, because those gorgeous flavors not only translate over into your meal, but also you’re seamlessly integrating your flavors. (If you don’t eat fast food, why would you add a fast, unbalance wine to your recipe?)

2007 Red Côte Rosé, Suisun Valley ($12.99) ~ Butternut Squash Soup

  • STARTER: Since Rosé is produced from red grapes, and since Jeff Miller began the week with his introduction “Misting” story, let’s start with one of his wines; his 2007 Red Côte Rosé. This wine is made from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, and has rich, flavorful notes; yet, it’s a delicate wine. I can see this paring really well with a hearty soup, like this butternut squash one. The spice of nutmeg, and the tartness of granny smith apples subdued by the added cream, along with the squash’s own flavors, then topped with coarsely chopped pistachios will make this a great food and wine pairing.

2007 Shady Lane Pinot Noir, Leelanau Peninsula, Michigan ($22.00) ~ Braised Chestnuts with Pinot Cream Sauce [The recipe calls for Madeira ~ not Pinot ~ but I’m big on improvisation whenever I want to create integrated dishes.]

  • THE MAIN COURSE: Straight from the Heartland, this Pinot is crafted in the style of great red wines from the Cotes de Beaune, Burgundy. It’s lush… yet soft. It’s powerfully elegant with aromas and flavors of cherries, raspberrries, cranberries, herbs, and brown spices. This wine is perfect for a holiday Thanksgiving that involves a turkey feast. The Chestnut dish is to-die-for, and the Pinot couldn’t be more perfect. Roasting the nuts, then combining them with shitake mushrooms, a shallot, carrots, and heavy cream, this main course dish delivers rich, yet delicate flavors that embrace this Pinot. [I opened this bottle last night, so the flavors are still lingering and top of mind.]

2005 David Bruce Petite Sirah, Central Coast ($20.00) ~ Classic Roast Turkey with Giblet Gravy

  • THE MAIN COURSE: When we think of Petite Sirah for Thanksgiving, it’s usually associated with wild game, because Petite Sirahs are so bold and flavorful. But, if you step back for a moment and ask yourself, “Who would be the most likely to produce a Petite Sirah that’s as delicate as a Pinot Noir?” there’s an instant connection between David Bruce’s world-renown Pinots and his Petite Sirahs. With dominant flavors of strawberry and violets, this David Bruce Petite Sirah is a beautiful complement to a classically roasted turkey with giblet gravy. When I begin my gravy, I always place the giblets (without the liver) into  simmering, low sodium chicken stock. Add a 1/2 cup of the David Bruce Petite Sirah, for delicate flavor of rose hips in your gravy, and let it simmer for the entire time the turkey is cooking, adding juices from the cooking turkey as the soup stock evaporates. You might even spice it up a bit by adding some apple juice along the way, perhaps in the first evaporation process.

For me, this recipe book doesn’t have a red wine and food pairing that would make sense. All the desserts just don’t beg for a red wine:

  • DESSERTS: Creamy Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Pie, Lattice-Topped Apple Pie, Ginger-Pear Torte, Dried-Fruit Compote with Bourbon and Crème Anglaise (maybe the Pinot?), Steamed Cranberry Pudding (maybe the Rosè?), Rum-Brandy Ice Cream. They’re worth mentioning, because what’s turkey day without dessert? I’m betting that by the time we’ve reached dessert, whatever’s left on the table for wine will be what we reach for and enjoy before the clean-up begins.
  • DESSERT WINES: In lieu of solid food desserts, a late harvest wine is always delicious. I’m not a fan of combining sweet with sweet, because I don’t think you get to enjoy either in a pure way. You might as well just drink maple syrup. On their own, however, liquid dessert is sumptuously delicious.

Happy Thanksgiving [And, please enjoy your wine responsibly… A touch in your glass of each wine, if you’re having one with each course, will allow you to still safely drive home. More than a touch, and ask for a room with a view!]