Chardonnay pairs well with Thanksgiving feast

Posted November 24, 2015

A tasty California Chardonnay is a classic choice to pair with the Thanksgiving meal.

With the weather cooling down, the kitchen will be heating up for America’s favorite holiday: Thanksgiving.

How can you top last year’s decadent feast? The trick is to be thoughtful when pairing wines with food.

Welcoming wines

Medium-bodied crisp white wines will complement your hors d’oeuvres course. A tasty California Chardonnay is a classic choice and easily found at your neighborhood store. With notes of fresh pear and pineapple, it makes a fantastic pairing for mild cheeses and rich seafood appetizers, such as crab or salmon.

A great example is St. Francis Sonoma County Chardonnay 2013. It is made from grapes picked in the cool of night to create a wine with delicate aromas, crisp acidity, and a rich, lingering finish.

For your main course, try out a Zinfandel, a deeply aromatic red wine with flavors of juicy berries and a touch of spice. It is perfect to pair with flavorful dishes, savory cheeses, and, of course, roast turkey. Consider picking up a bottle of St. Francis Sonoma County “Old Vines” Zinfandel 2012, which features notes of wild blackberries and clove along with a long, smooth finish.

“‘Old Vines’ Zinfandel is one of my family’s Thanksgiving traditions. From stuffing to pumpkin pie, it complements every flavor: spicy, savory, sweet and bold,” says Christopher W. Silva, president & CEO of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards.

Hearty food

If you’re looking to top last year’s meal, try a twist on the classic potato dish with a recipe for Smoked Twice Baked Potatoes from Chef Bryan Jones of St. Francis Winery.


  • 3 lg. German Butterball Potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 2 cups applewood smoking chips soaked in water for 1/2 hour
  • 3 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 Tbsp. crème fraiche
  • 1/4 cup aged white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 Tbsp. parmesan, finely grated
  • Bunch of chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh marjoram, finely chopped
  • Salt and white pepper to taste


Coat whole potatoes with oil along with 1 Tbsp. of salt. Place wood chips in the smoking chamber of grill, light only the burner needed for smoking and place potatoes on rack off to the side of the direct heat. Smoke for 30 minutes.

Remove potatoes from grill. Place in a 9 X 11 inch pan with 1/4 inch water on bottom. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until a paring knife pierces easily. Let cool.

Cut potatoes in half, scoop out most of inner potato, leaving about a half inch of potato all around for the shell.

Use potato ricer to “rice” scooped out potatoes into bowl.

Heat cream and butter together and add to potatoes.

Mix, then stir in crème fraiche, cheeses, chives and marjoram. Season with salt and white pepper to taste.

Place potato mixture in pastry bag. Pipe mixture back into potatoes and mound just over the level of the potato.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until hot.

This Thanksgiving, celebrate with great wines and mouth-watering dishes.


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