Finally, a French Thanksgiving

Finally, a French Thanksgiving

In the previous couple of weeks, City Vino has written about wines from Italy, and then Eastern Europe, to pair with your Thanksgiving meal. This week, we go to France. Our selections of French wines include white wines, with some richness to them, that stand up to and complement your holiday dishes. Light-bodied white wines may get lost among the dishes, so we selected whites with a heavier body, to harmoniously pair with your Thanksgiving bounty.

Our red wine selections feature wines that are not bold nor high in tannins, as we do not want the wine to overshadow the food. Bold and high-tannin wines do best with high-fat meats and cheeses, as the fat from the food coats your mouth and lessens the strike of those tannins on your gums. For Thanksgiving, while there are some fatty side dishes, turkey is a lean meat, and as such needs a bit of a softer red.

The wines we have chosen for a French Wine Thanksgiving are a white Rhône blend, a Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley, a GSM blend (Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre), also from the Rhône, and a Pinot Noir from Burgundy.

The 2021 Baron Ermengaud Blanc Faugères is a white blend of 50 percent Roussanne, 20 percent Marsanne, 20 percent Vermentino, and 10 percent Grenache Blanc, and is from the Rhône Valley. The outlier here is the Vermentino, and it is interesting to see that this Italian grape has found a home in France. As we stated above, the key to pairing a white wine with Thanksgiving is that it has some oomph, weight, or richness to it. Roussanne, Marsanne, and even Vermentino are the grapes that can provide that. This dry white blend may show aromas of peach, apricot, passion fruit, lemon, lime, honeydew melon, and honeysuckle. The palate brings forth lemon zest, pineapple, lemongrass, fennel, hay, and a green olive brininess. There is a generousness to the wine displaying in its richness, fruitiness, and freshness, with a fairly steady finish. This will pair well with your pre-meal cheese board and with the turkey and gravy and lots of other side dishes. It is also good with seafood and spicy dishes too.

From the Loire Valley, we present the 2021 Clos Palet Vouvray. A wine labeled as Vouvray is certainly 100 percent Chenin Blanc, and it can be made either dry or sweet or even into a lovely sparkling wine. The Clos Palet is off-dry, with a hint of sweetness on the palate. This yellow wine has hints of green reflected in it, and has aromas of acacia flower, honeysuckle, bruised apples, citrus, and fresh almonds. The taste is bright with high acidity, but the edges are softened due to that off-dry sweetness. The aromas are mimicked on the taste along with additional notes of chamomile, tangerine, quince, and marzipan. This is another wine that will compliment roast turkey or a plate of cheeses (Try it with sliced apples and goat cheese; thank us later!).

Also from the Rhône Valley, we present the 2020 Domaine des Bernardins Beaumes de Venise Rouge which is comprised of 60 percent Grenache, 25 percent Syrah, 6 percent Marsanne, 5 percent Mourvèdre, and 4 percent Grenache Blanc. Why yes, Elizabeth, there are white grapes in my red wine! White grapes may be co-fermented with red grapes to help retain the red color from the pigments in the red grape skins. Also, white grapes may add a subtle hint of citrus fruit, acidity, and texture to the resulting wine. In the Northern Rhone, it was historically noted that a small bit of Viognier was co-fermented with Syrah grapes.

The Domaine des Bernardins was produced from whole-cluster fermentation, with aging in stainless steel tanks for up to 12 months. The wine will not have any influence of oak here, and the fruit will shine through. Fresh black fruit aromas dominate this wine, with a hint of black pepper. The flavor profile includes cranberries, black currants, and black pepper, along with a smokiness. This is a full-bodied wine, but with smooth tannins. While one might expect to pair this wine with game or red meat, try it with your Thanksgiving table, especially with roasted vegetables, sausage stuffing, mushroom dishes, and anything with some lovely savory herbs.

Our final wine is the 2020 Patricia Raquin Pinot Noir, from Burgundy. The Pinot Noir grapes are fermented in stainless steel and then 80 percent goes into old oak barrels, which have no oak flavors to impart on the wine. The other 20 percent goes into one-year-use barrels so the oak flavor imparted on the wine is less than a first-use (brand-new) barrel. Then the wine is blended. The fragrance of the wine includes violets, roses, strawberries, and cherries. Sipping this wine, you will find floral and fruit, along with some minerality or wet stone taste. This wine has the earthiness that often comes with Pinot Noir along with smooth tannins and a nice finish. Pinot Noir tends to produce nice food-friendly wines, and this red will not overshadow your holiday meal.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good drink!


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