Texas Wines & Brews to Pair with Your Thanksgiving Day Feast

From winemakers, brewers to distillers, Texans are proud of the incredible spirits that are made right here at home. I love touring, tasting and learning about these industries and the folks behind them. With the holidays right around the corner, I wanted to share recommendations on what to pair at your Thanksgiving feast. I would also like to express my gratitude to the farmers, everyone in the industry and you, the Sushi in the ATX friends.

TEXAS WINES

William Chris is one of the most respected wineries in the Texas wine industry and is located in Hye, TX. Each bottle of William Chris with this greeting: We are pleased to share a piece of our world. This is telling quote of their hard work and dedication in creating a special space and quality wines to share with their community, families and all. The winemakers make the following pairing recommendations and after having a taste of this fine trio of wines, I could not agree more.
William Chris Vineyards, Photo by Amy Drohen 

The 2017 Mary Ruth is their most versatile of all WCV wines of the blend, with a great balance of acid, tannins, and mouthfeel. Honeysuckle, orange blossom, lime, and lemongrass tickle the nose. Stone fruit, pear, Granny Smith apple, and a hint of white pepper tease the palate as they lead into a bright finish. The slight sweetness of the ham or turkey brings out the bright notes in the Mary Ruth. It really goes with anything on the holiday dinner table from appetizers, to the main course, to a variety of desserts. 
Make your first and last glass the 2017 Petillant Naturel This natural bubbly is a festive way to great guests and gorgeously pairs with desserts making it the life of the party. The winemaking team was intrigued by Pétillant-Naturel as a style of winemaking, thus it was first born to William Chris in 2014. This fun wine is unique in that it is lightly bubbly and often cloudy because fermentation is finished inside the bottle and does not experience filtration. A crown cap is used because it follows the true Ancestrale Méthode.

William Chris Vineyards
2017 Skeleton Key Red is one of my personal favorite Texas reds and is sure to impress your guests! Skeleton Key Proprietors Red is not only one of the most popular blends, but the current Tempranillo and Syrah-based is extremely versatile. This beautiful wine pairs excellent with both sides and meat dishes a like. Check out their review in the \”Top 50 Wines for Fall\” in the current issue of Texas Monthly.

Arguably a dessert on it own, the 2016 Jacquez is another fine way to end your meal and pairs exquisitely with traditional Thanksgiving Day desserts. Red fruits, citrus preserves, smoked tomato and herbs show long roasted aromatics and candied notes. A distinctly different back palate transitions from the fruit-driven to notes of toffee and praline and salted pecans. Decadent and roasty with moderate residual sugar, a very food friendly fortified wine. Pairs perfect with pecan pie. The chalky tannins in pecan with brown sugar, and the mocha aspects of the Jacquez are a match made in heaven.
Fall Creek ExTERRA Wines, Photo by Amy Drohen

As one of the founding families of the Texas wine industry, Fall Creek Vineyards have made exquisite wines with grapes sourced from their estate in the Hill Country and farmer-owned vineyards throughout Texas for four decades. They celebrate their faith in the terroir with continued dedication to match the right grapes with the right vineyard sites in the right soil and climate to produce benchmark wines. I tasted their 3 newest releases. In 2016 the myriad elements that encompass the terroir of Salt Lick Vineyards aligned for a winemaker’s dream harvest and in honoring this gift from the earth, they have named these captivating wines, ExTERRA. I recently attended a tasting of these phenomenal wines and am completely impressed with Fall Creek Vineyards and their ExTERRA wines.
Fall Creek ExTERRA Wine, Photo by Amy Drohen
Fall Creek Vineyards ExTERRA Mourvèdre Texas Hill Country, Salt Lick Vineyards 2016
An elegant Mourvèdre. This vintage has lively fruit character reminiscent of red and black plum, and ripe tannins supporting the terrestrial flavors of farmland soil, sarsaparilla and morel mushroom. Pair this versatile wine with meat & cheese boards, lamb and fish. 
Fall Creek Vineyards ExTERRA Syrah Texas Hill Country Salt Lick Vineyards 2016
A lovely Syrah that the winemaker describes to have haunting aromatics that recall violets, smoked rosemary, bacon and black cherry. This is a lively wine with a ripe mid-palate and elegant tannins. The finish is savory and juicy with a hint of black peppercorn and Gaeta olive. I would pair this with a hard gouda, grilled vegetables, duck and lamb.
Fall Creek Vineyards ExTERRA Tempranillo Texas Hill Country Salt Lick Vineyards 2016
A Full-bodied wine with a muscular structure, firm tannin and ample fruit. It expresses punchy aromatics that suggest a rain-drenched fire pit, dark roast coffee and roasted black plum. The finish is complex and and lingering with hints of red currant and sweet tobacco smoke. This fine Tempranillo pairs nicely with turkey.
Photo Credit Wedding Oak Winery
@weddingoakwine is located in the heart of San Saba (87 miles NW of Austin) and has an additional tasting room in Fredericksburg, TX inside the gorgeous @wildseedfarms. The award winning winery uses 100% Texas grapes. I had a preview of two new vintages and a bonus, one of their most incredible reds and can share that Winemakers Penny Adams and Seth Urbanek are extremely talented. 
Wedding Oak Winery Viognier, Texas Hill Country, 2017
The Wedding Oak Winery Viognier is a versatile food friendly wine with bright acidity that marries flavors of food without overpowering it. Viognier, a grape variety that is native to the Rhône Valley, makes rich white wines with distinctive aromas of apricot, peaches, and spice. TheirViognier has floral and citrus aromas, along with a liveliness on the palate that compliments characters of honeyed melon, apple, and pear flavors in a lingering Meyer lemon finish. This wine is made from estate-grown grapes from High Valley Vineyard near our winery in San Saba. The vibrant wine is a lovely accompaniment to Thanksgiving delights.
Wedding Oak Winery Tioja, Texas Hill Country, 2016
 Tioja, their flagship wine, is made with 70% Tempranillo and 30% Grenache grapes grown in the Texas Hill Country. Tempranillo with its earthy and fruity notes make it a great wine for Thanksgiving dinner. This wine has a dark ruby color and complex aromas of black cherry, cola, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, and plum. The Tioja has tart red cherry, plum, and berry flavors, along with white pepper spices and herbs and a core of bright, food-loving acid. That acidity in Tempranillo allows it to play very well with Thanksgiving fare. Even though the wine is “big,” its tannins are elegant, allowing it to play well with Turkey and all of its friends.
Wedding Oak Winery wants to make planning easier for you this Thanksgiving and Holiday  Season with a special offer on these two wines for only $50 with discounted shipping. Get yours today: https://weddingoakwinery.com/product/holiday-special.
Wedding Oak Montepulciano, Texas High Plains, 2016 
Is made with grapes grown from Diamante Doble Vineyards in Tokio, Texas. This lush wine has aromas of ripe blackberries, blackberry cobbler, cherry pie and molasses with tasting notes of tart black cherry flavors. This wine pairs beautifully with roasted duck, roasted turkey and perhaps turkey medallions with a blackberry sauce.

The Grower Project Sangiovese, photo courtesy of @thegrowerproject
Rae Wilson, Austin Sommelier/Winemaker and founder of Wine for the People, recommends the Grower Project Sangiovese as a great pairing for Thanksgiving. It\’s a lighter expression with lots of silky texture, bright fresh fruit, and soft spice. Grown at high elevation (3500 ft) in the Texas High Plains near the town of Seminole.

TEXAS BREWS

The folks at Uncle Billy\’s believes cold weather calls for a dark, roasty beer. I couldn\’t agree more and they just launched two new American Porters made with cold brew coffee. The two new brews may have begun their lives together in the brewhouse, but they definitely developed their own individual personalities. They start with American style Porter with rich coffee and chocolate notes that are thoroughly enhanced by the addition of house-made cold brew. These specialty Porters will be served only in the Taproom on Barton Springs Rd. and guests may purchase a growler to go for that Thanksgiving treat.
Photo Courtesy of Uncle Billy\’s 
Pass up the coffee and try one or both of these roasty toasty beers to pair with your favorite Thanksgiving day desserts such as brown butter pecan pies, chocolate based desserts and fruits:
The Espresso Porter, coffee porter 5.5% ABV / 45 IBU, is made for the black coffee drinker no frills, just porter and coffee. It has alluring aroma and flavors of rich coffee and dark chocolate, with subtle fruity plum notes. Dry, roasty finish. 
Latte Porter Nitro, coffee porter  5.3% ABV / 45 IBU, is for the caffe latte lovers. This is a rich espresso brew. They mimic the creaminess of a latte by adding lactose sugar to the boil, which gives the Porter a touch of sweetness and fullness to the body. They amped it up by serving it on nitro to ensures a beautiful, creamy mouthfeel.

Image Courtesy Uncle Billy\’s

 Uncle Billy’s Brewery & Smokehouse, introduced the KCCO (Keep Calm and Chive On) Austin-style Lager in collaboration with the local entertainment media company, Chive Media Group. With millions of fans of its popular entertainment website, theCHIVE, its streaming TV channel, Chive TV, and product website, The Chivery, the company has a built-in loyal fan base for its KCCO beer. KCCO is made with German lager yeast, German pilsner malt, and Sterling and Jarrylo hops. This clean light bodied beer is nicely balanced with subtle hop aroma and maltiness making it perfect to pair with smoked turkey.

Which wines and beers will be on your Thanksgiving Day table?

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