Perfect Pairings

Try these Michigan wines with your Thanksgiving dinner this year
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As you put the finishing touches on your Thanksgiving menu, don’t forget to make room on your shopping list for Michigan wine to complement the various dishes you’ll serve. The sheer variety of cuisine that winds up on the Thanksgiving dinner table means there are plenty of opportunities to make creative wine pairings — so many, in fact, that it might be hard to know where to start. To help you select the perfect wines for your holiday dinner, Michigan Wine Country caught up with Emily Dockery, executive director of the Michigan Wine Collaborative, to get her suggestions.

To pair with turkey: Albariño or Gamay Noir
With turkey, Dockery likes to have a wine with “noticeable acidity” that is neither too full bodied nor too oaky so that it doesn’t overpower the turkey but still complements any rub or brine.

“I love Albariño because it is a more medium-bodied white wine with Goldilocks acidity, just the right amount, and a really bright, refreshing finish,” she says via email.

Gamay Noir, a red wine, also complements turkey well and is “a Thanksgiving classic,” Dockery says.

“[It’s] a must for many Thanksgiving tables around the world, and we just happen to be able to grow that same grape right here in Michigan,” she says.

Try St. Julian’s BR Albariño or bigLITTLE’s Underdog Gamay Noir.

To pair with stuffing or dressing: sparkling wine or rosé
Michigan sparkling wines offer lots of variety and pairing opportunities, Dockery says.

“Michigan sparkling can be super bright or rich and full, dry or sweet, fruity or funky,” she says, noting that its balance “is wonderful for the salty celery notes in stuffing.”

“I also really enjoy rosé with basically anything,” she adds. “When in doubt, ‘rosé all day.’”

Try Mawby’s Green or Lake Michigan Vintners’ Rosé.

To pair with mashed potatoes and gravy: Chardonnay, sparkling wine, or Cabernet Franc
The richness and acidity of some Michigan Chardonnay make this type of wine an excellent accompaniment to creamy, savory mashed potatoes and seasoned gravy, Dockery says.

“Cabernet Franc is also a great choice for mashed potatoes,” she adds. “This medium-bodied red has a structure begging for the starchy richness of mashed potatoes and can complement a seasoned or spiced gravy really nicely.”

Try Lawton Ridge Winery’s Chardonnay Pétillant Naturel or White Pine Winery’s Cabernet Franc.

To pair with green bean casserole: Riesling or lighter, earthy red blends
“For this classic, I cannot think of anything more appropriate than THE Michigan classic, Riesling,” Dockery says.

Alternatively, a light- or medium-bodied red blend that is fruit driven and has a touch of spice or earthiness on the finish “can really hold up well to [the] herbaceous and savory characteristic of this casserole,” she says.

Try Charlevoix Moon’s Tip of the Mitt Riesling or Chateau Chantal’s Naughty Red.

Editor’s note: Check out Contessa Wine Cellars’ pumpkin mousse recipe for a wine pairing to go with your favorite Thanksgiving dessert.

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