Thanksgiving morning, 8am. Start the fires and brew the coffee. The brined turkeys are ready to go. In the past, we have gone from duck smoked over Tibetan black tea to oranges and everywhere in between. This year a very natural turkey flavor with nothing exotic smoked most likely with oak.
This tradition of waking up early and smoking turkeys goes back 9 years for my group of friends. Each year we get a little more relaxed and at the same time, a little more adventurous in preparations as well as wine pairings. Just last year, we began bringing oysters into the Thanksgiving menu with roughly 200 for 20 people. This is our all day snacking. I will be bringing Chablis and Champagne as well as some low alcohol cocktails of white vermouth and sparkling water with a twist. The oysters will be enjoyed both fresh and roasted on the grill with a couple different compound butters and bread crumbs. You could substitute any white wine you’d like here, as long as it is crisp and refreshing and not too rich and full bodied.
Not many people make soups for the meal, so I can always be sure I’m not bringing the fourth serving of cranberry sauce. Austria’s main white grape variety, Gruner Veltliner, has worked incredibly well with roasted butternut squash soup topped with walnuts, blue cheese and a drizzle of honey.
In addition to our staples of crawfish dressing, mac and cheese and green bean casserole, last year my fiancée made a pear and rosemary pie with a cheddar crust, which was delicious. So bring a variety of wine to see what unexpectedly pairs well with these dishes. You never know what will work!
Thanksgiving is not about outdoing anyone or serving the most expensive wine. It’s about enjoying time with friends and family. I don’t typically bring that one special bottle I’ve been saving because it would distract me from enjoying the moment and relaxing. Save that one for a more intimate setting. Cheers to everyone having a great holiday!
-Cheers, Cale Thibaudeau Manager of Twin Liquors Marketplace Galleria