Thanksgiving, Austrian Wine Style

The holidays are upon the US and with that it’s time for wine pairings! Thanksgiving is an important meal for most family comes together from across the country to enjoy the merriment of food, wine, and other drinks together in celebration of thanks.

In the past, Thanksgiving is expected to be the traditional turkey/green bean casserole/stuffing/sweet potato fare, but recent culinary exploration has allowed for a more modern twist. No matter what dishes are chosen, however, choosing the beverages to be drunk alongside them can be overwhelming. Perhaps old Aunt Mary only drinks white zinfandel, or pops only drinks beer… but we say broaden your family’s horizons this year and go Austrian wine – a sure-bet crowd pleaser in every sense.

With your appetizers and to get the party started right, go with something sparkling – Austrian sekt. There are a variety of Austrian sekts out there made from a variety of grapes, but we recommend aiming for those made from Riesling or Grüner Veltliner that can deliver a load of acidity and fresh flavors and spiciness. You might also consider diving into something light and fresh instead. Again, reach for Grüner Veltliner, but pay attention to the region.

For your lighter dishes such as canapes, cheeses, or lighter dips, choose a wine from the Weinviertel which is know for fresh acidity and linear flavors. For something more rounded say, crab cakes, you might consider a wine from the Kamptal or Kremstal which are, generally, rounder and fruitier. Also consider a Sauvignon Blanc from Styria or a Gemischter Satz (field blend) from Vienna. Why not try something different as an appetizer such as dim sum or Vietnamese spring rolls?

With the main course, it all depends on what you’re having. For example, a traditional Martinigansl would pair perfectly with a medium-bodied white wine, but also with a red wine such as Blaufränkisch. One might also consider something different and try a Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc) with turkey. Mix it up with Viennese Fried Porcini and pair with an exotic Rotgipfler.

For reds, it depends largely on the meat. If one is opting out of the traditional turkey this year and trying something more exotic, perhaps a a roast pork,  than a lighter, more classic-styled Zweigelt or Blaufränkisch is the way to go. If one is opting for beef, however, a St. Laurent, Pinot Noir, or heavier Zweigelt or Blaufränkisch are probably better bets. Similarly, different glazes and preparations for the turkey will call for different wines as well. Thinking of a heavy glaze, go with a heavier wine.

For dessert, we don’t always suggest pairing sweet with sweet, but sometimes it just works. You can also reintroduce cheese here for those who prefer the more savory route. The good thing about Austrian sweet wines is that the grapes used to make the wines, primarily Grüner Veltliner and Riesling, are balanced by their incredible acidity so the pairing does not become cloying. Try offering these with a traditional Apple Strudel, an Austrian twist on the traditional Apple Pie.

For more food and wine pairing recipes, please check out our food & wine pairing features section! And for more information on where to buy red wines from Austria, don’t forget out map!

Whatever you choose this holiday, we hope it is a spectacular one! Prost!

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Categories: food and wine pairing

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