As I was originally putting this tasting together, we were going to pair wines with a full Thanksgiving meal like we did with beer last year. But here’s a little inside info about InsideHook: we recently moved offices and went from a full-fledged kitchen to a much smaller one with only a microwave. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to heat up a whole turkey in the microwave (I have not), but I assume it would take hours. So we decided to pivot. Instead of tasting these wines with a Thanksgiving meal, we paired them with Thanksgiving sandwiches.
Whether you call it a “Moist-Maker” or simply a Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich, it’s difficult to deny the pure joy of stacking turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce between two slices of bread. The ingredients pair perfectly together, and it’s a fun way to use the leftovers so your palate doesn’t get bored with the same meal multiple days in a row.
And look, this is a holiday weekend. So even if you’re eating a Thanksgiving leftovers sandwich for lunch, you should definitely treat yourself to a glass of wine. To help you out, we snagged Thanksgiving sandwiches from both Toasties and Ole & Steen and tried them with the 11 below bottles. Check out our notes and take your leftovers to the next level this year.
For anyone who thinks they don’t like riesling, this is the bottle to change your mind. The Austrian wine has fruit-forward notes like lychee and apricot, but it has a “crisp and clean” finish that withstands the flavors of the rich sandwich. Multiple tasters say it pairs nicely with the cranberry sauce.
Made from hand-harvested Friulano, pinot bianco and sauvignon blanc grapes, this “very elegant” wine is first fermented in stainless steel before it’s finished in oak casks. This gives the wine a “buttery” finish, but it’s not overwhelming in the least, thanks to a balanced texture and notes of mandarin peel and lemon curd. One taster thinks the sandwich brings out the wine’s tangy notes, while another loves that the wine is “full-bodied without being overpowering.”
This Napa Valley white blend is 80% sauvignon blanc and 10% each chardonnay and malvasia, which gives it a balanced acidity, lovely fruit and floral notes and a “perfect body,” according to one of our tasters. Everyone loves how “dry and balanced” it is, and one editor says how well it “brings out the gravy flavor and the turkey” in the sandwich.
Everyone’s favorite wine from The Last of Us is back and is pretty much a perfect pairing for all of your Thanksgiving needs. Nodding to the hit TV show, one editor says it’s “a great wine to have forever” and is “approachable” enough for “all to enjoy.” Another says that it “pairs very well with the sandwich but also probably pairs well with anything.” One taster loves that it’s “nice and belly warming,” which is always a lovely feeling this time of year.
5 Sommelier-Approved Texas Wines to Drink During the HolidaysWe asked Pappas Bros. master sommelier Steven McDonald for recommendations
We love an Oregon pinot noir, and this juicy bottling from Archery Summit is bursting with “dark red fruits.” Our tasters like how dry it is, though one comment says “it tastes juicier on its own than it does with the sandwich.” Although we enjoy this wine, others pair better with the sandwich. But not to fear — one taster says it would be great with a cheese plate before the Thanksgiving meal.
Ponzi Pinot Noir is also from Oregon, but this bottle comes from the Chehalem Mountains, which are home to some of the state’s oldest vineyards. Our tasting panel really likes how it’s “full-flavored” but also “smooth.” Most think it pairs well with the meal — one even says that the wine is “well-balanced and tones down the richness of the sandwich.”
The cabernet franc grapes that went into this bottle were sourced from multiple AVAs around California’s North Coast, including Sonoma, Mendocino, Big Valley and Napa. While comments like “gorgeous tannins,” “excellent” and “nice and fruity” are used to describe the wine, our panel is split on how well it pairs with the sandwich. While about half thinks it’s a “nice pairing,” others say it “overpowers the sandwich.”
This merlot is a crowd-pleaser. Not only did it garner comments like “really good” and “flavor that is gentle and sophisticated,” but almost everyone thinks it’s an excellent match for the leftovers sandwich. One taster says the pairing is “really working out,” while another loves how it “complements the fruit flavor of the cranberries and vice versa.”
Zinfandel can stand up to a lot of rich, boldly spiced dishes, and this bottle is no different. Our panel finds it “earthy without being too heavy” with a “full mouthfeel of red fruit.” One editor says “it’s a good complement to turkey,” and another thinks “the sweetness of the cranberry brings out the wine’s savory notes.”
We’re big fans of Las Jaras at InsideHook, and the brand’s classic Sweet Berry Wine is a hit with the sandwich. One taster says the red blend (57% zinfandel, 25% petite sirah, 18% carignan) from Mendocino County is “the most delightful,” and multiple editors agree it pairs perfectly with the sandwich. Many note how well it complements both the cranberry and the turkey.
We couldn’t decide which Las Jaras wine to pair with this sandwich, so we added two to the mix. The 2021 Enz Vineyard is another red blend with mourvèdre, Cabernet Pfeffer and zinfandel, which give the wine a smooth flavor that is full of berry fruit notes. Our tasters love the “fantastic finish” and think it’s one of the “most well-rounded options.” One editor even underlined their comment, exclaiming “this is the one.”
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