Since November 1994, the Ultimate Thanksgiving issue from Bon Appétit holds the most delicious recipes ever for holiday meals that features turkey, chicken, goose, name the bird and here you’ll find deliciousness. And each year, I run right back to this well worn issue, to continue the journey. In fact, this magazine is the only one that has survived any other magazines over the years and the moves that have gone with it..

Why this issue, among all others? Because Bon Appétit took the time to organize “… [bird] meals-course by course, dish by dish-into its delicious components.”

Turkey and Gravy Stuffing Cranberry Sauce
The Potatoes The Vegetables Pickles and Relishes
Hors d’Oeuvre Bread and Rolls Soups
Salads* Desserts

I decided to taste wines and then think about which recipe would pair well with some of those favorite wines. If you see something you like from a recipe title, just Google the title and similar recipes will pop up, if not the exact one. If you’d like a twist on your Traditional Christmas dinner, these recommendations will definitely take you on a delicious adventure. Just the titles of the recipes are going to pique some interest, I’m betting.

Let’s Get Started with an Appetizer and Some Bubble

Smoked Salmon and Leek Toasts

We’re going for the elegant meal, so let’s start it off with a smashing appetizer. Cream cheese, grated lemon peel, thyme, pepper, sourdough bagettes, leeks and thinly sliced smoked salmon. What better wine than a pink bubbly rosé to match the pink salmon?

Bervini 1955 Spumante Rosé, Friuli Venezia Giulia ~ $19.00 ~ This Spumante is a sparkling wine from the Piedmont region of Italy. (It is also called Asti or Asti Spumante.) The wine is made from blend of Glera (a grape variety that’s used in making Prosecco), and Roboso (a local Red grape, and where the Rosè derives its color.

  • The Bervini 1955 Spumante Rosé was fermented in stainless steel tanks, and its secondary fermentation was in the Chamat method. It took 40 days at 60.8 Fahrenheit to create this bubbly wine. (The Chamat method is a process where still wine undergoes a second fermentation, in a large pressurized vat.)
  • The flavors of this wine are citrusy and malic (think apples). Also, my favorite – strawberries, which – when not in season – are also quite tart. The cream cheese on the tiny toast bites will really smooth out the food and wine pairing. The salmon is just the glaçage sur le gateau. I loved this wine in it’s distinct short, squat bottle, too. Don’t let the bottle fool you, just because it’s not as customary as other bottles of bubbly wine. It’s a real crowd pleaser, with tiny bubbles and lots of spiky zest!


The Bird

Apricot-glazed Turkey with Roasted Onion and Shallot Gravy

2015 Ferraton Père & Fils Crozes-Hermitage La Matinière ~ $23.00 ~ Educational back label copy ~ In the beginning, there was a region: The Rhone Valley. In 1946, there was a man with a passion : Jean Ferraton. Today, our team is committed to ensuring the continuation of the knowledge. With the greatest respect for “Terroir and the vine.

  • Smooth and elegant, with a touch of spice and the deliciousness from a shallots… a member of the French onion family The sweetness of the glaze will be greatly complemented by this Syrah based wine. Syrah is known to be rich and earthy.  Think mushrooms along with it’s earthiness, and you’re on your way to a food and wine pairing that’s perfect for your holiday fowl.
  • 2015 Ferraton Père & Fils Crozes-Hermitage La Matinière ~This is a crowd pleaser. We had it on Thanksgiving day, and I instantly knew what a great Christmas wine it would also be, with the Apricot-glazed recipe as a complement.
  • This wine is 100 percent Syrah. Down to earth delicious, two bottles would do nicely for those having seconds on your entree. Keep this one as seamless as your turkey go-to wine. The cherry aromas and flavors are in the Bing category, but the early one we get first of the season. Not overpowering, it’s light and delicate, and a very delicious wine… reminding me of “Tidings of Comfort and Joy.” Think raspberries, too, lighter red fruit is its character. And it finishes with French saddle leather. It’s got the elegance and style of Audrey Hepburn, and a finish of Juliette Binoche.


The Stuffing ~ Buttermilk Corn Bread

Graciana Pinot Noir ~ When birds of a feather gather together for any holiday season, Pinot Noir is another of me go to wines.  Whether it’s the white meat on the bird, or the dark meat, Pinot is very pleasing. Let’s go with something simple, so the corresponding wine will be the highlight of the food and wine pairing. For a more hearty Pinot, so the Pinot shines through. Gracianna is my choice for the Pinot.

  • 2015 Gracianna Reserve Pinot Noir Bacigalupi Vineyard Designate Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California ~ $75.00 ~ This is “the one” for a holiday that’s as special as Christmas. The label is wrapped in a gold bow, ready to give as a gift in it’s own packaging, too. Dazzle your family an  friends!
  • For the tenth anniversary of Gracianna, the family wanted to honor the legacy of their award winning Pinot. They chose the best four Pinot barrels of Pinot, and this wine is that blend of 667, 777, and Pommard clones, with nuances from being aged in French oak.
  • Aromas and Flavors of this Pinot Noir: This one has aromas of ripe, wild Maine blueberries… the kind we used to pick along the coastline of Mount Desert Island. As with any vegetation growing along a coast line, flavors are much more vibrant and intense. So, these blueberries are not the ones you find in a supermarket. They are tiney-tiny and very intense with flavor. As a bonus, you’ll also taste some baking spices along with rich, ripe Bing cherries that dominate.  Go light on your stuffing, so the Gracianna Pinot and your turkey is a star on your table.


DISCLAIMER: Wine-Blog is a journal of my PR wine activities and learnings. 1) I occasionally write stories about wine clients, but don’t charge them for that time. 2) All wine reviews originate from free samples, sent by PR people representing the brands. 3) Images are mostly mine, some are purchased, a few rare ones are part of fair trade usage.