Challenging Wine Pairing: Deep Fried Turkey



By LaGayle ~ December 4th, 2013.

It’s that wonderful time of year! The holidays are upon us. The lights and decorations are up, the stores are bustling, and Christmas music fills the air in our cars, homes, and stores. And, soon, the relatives will be coming to town to celebrate.

So, for this challenging wine pairing, we decided to go beyond the traditional ham and try something a little different for a Christmas dinner meal. Deep fried turkey! While turkey is a popular holiday selection, and you still may be stuffed from Thanksgiving, in a few weeks when you sit down for Christmas dinner, this could be a fun splurge. It may not be the healthiest option; but it’s the holidays, so why not? We rounded out the deep fried turkey meal with a Christmas salad of mixed greens tossed with pecans, dried cherries, shaved Parmesan cheese, and Serrano honey balsamic vinegar; a broccoli, rice, and cheese casserole; and spice roasted butternut squash. For a lighter dessert after this heavy meal, we prepared a pumpkin fluff.

Now that our menu was set, our focus turned to the best wines to pair with the meal. We decided to go with a Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine and a Pinot Noir and selected the NV Gruet Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine and the 2009 Andrew Will Pinot Noir. Both wines were very good, but the unanimous choice as the best pairing with the deep fried turkey dinner was the Brut Rosé Sparkling. And, let’s face it; pink bubbly in a Champagne flute looks great on a holiday table as well.

What would you have paired with this meal?  And, as always, we welcome your suggestions for future challenging wine pairings.

Bon Appétit!

NV Gruet Brut Rosé Sparkling (America): Small, fairly fast bead of bubbles. Medium pink salmon in color. Very aromatic with strawberry, orange peel, and yeast on both the nose and palate. Dry and medium-bodied with crisp acidity and a long, refreshing finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 5 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Fred Meyer (Seattle, Washington), $16.89; Available elsewhere, $12 to $17

2009 Andrew Will Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, Oregon): Medium-deep red. Nice nose with red cherry and earthy aromas. More red cherry and earth as well as raspberry and plum come through on the palate. Medium-bodied with crisp acidity, medium tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 3 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Full Pull Wines (Seattle, Washington), $45; Available elsewhere, $50


Filed under: American Wine, Challenging Wine Pairing, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Food & Wine, New Mexico Wine, Oregon Wine, Pinot Noir, Red Wine, Sparkling Wine, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Mike | December 5th, 2013 at 6:16 am

    How about a better shout out to Gruet! Instead of saying “America”lets give the guys props for making some outstanding wines in New Mexico, the “Land of Enchantment”. They have also made Wine Spectators Top 100 list as well with the NV Gruet Brut Blanc. These guys are making some killer sparkling wines and have been for years and the fruit is all sourced from down in southern New Mexico.

  2. Kori | December 5th, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Mike,
    You are absolutely right; Gruet makes some very good sparkling wines at their winery in New Mexico. However, the appellation is listed as “America” in the tasting note because that is how they have it listed on the label. The grapes may very well come from NM, but the bottle does not indicate that. Cheers!

  3. Mike | December 6th, 2013 at 6:12 am

    Thats crazy! But then the owners are from France…… LOL Perhaps they think if they don’t put down an AVA from cough, cough….. New Mexico of all places it will sell better. C’est la vie right. I have been to a lot of wineries and vineyards throughout WA state and it is amazing just how much the “terroir” in and around Red Mountain etc. looks a heck of a lot like many parts of New Mexico. Scrub brush, sand, volcanic rock…… Someday!

  4. Pamela Heiligenthal | December 20th, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Great call out! When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with Pinot or sparklers! BTW, have you seen our sparkling paring guide? http://enobytes.com/2013/11/30/champagne-food-pairing-guide/ Happy holidays!

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