Wines for Thanksgiving leftovers
I always say there’s nothing like a big meal to make you hungry.
Three hours past Thanksgiving dinner, after you’ve napped through the football games and awakened groggily, you’re ravenous. Right? If you have iron discipline, it might be later – maybe midnight, after somebody (else) has done the dishes, and you sneak over and open the fridge to the cornucopious display of …
Yes. This – not the overly choreographed midday feast – is the finest meal of the year.
This is when you make The Sandwich – thick slabs of leftover stuffing bread slathered with mayo, a quarter pound of sliced turkey, a layer of gravy, half an inch of cranberry sauce, a layer of mashed sweet potatoes and you’re in hedonistic heaven.
The question that follows: What’s the wine for this?
The frugal choice, of course, would be the wine left over from dinner. If there is any. (People are always asking me, “How do I keep leftover wine?’ My reply: “What’s leftover wine?”)
But there might be some. My plea? Sip the wines individually. Don’t pour them all together in a misguided attempt to match the Dagwoodness of the sandwich. That would insult the winemakers who went to so much trouble to make them.
Still, you want inexpensive wines. Another reason for leftovers is to recoup some of the cash you laid out for the fancy Turkey Day feast. Also, by now, your senses probably are a bit dulled – so no point in buying a $200 French white burgundy.
If you do need to open a new bottle, I’d suggest a soft red – maybe a malbec or pinot noir or red blend. Not a tannic monster cabernet sauvignon. Oh, I suppose you also could use a big, buttery, white chardonnay.
The next couple of days’ meals can also be great, if there are still more leftovers left over. (That’s why you bought the 24-pound turkey for seven people, right?). Now you get creative. Incidentally, the FDA says you can eat the leftovers for three or four days if they’re promptly and properly refrigerated.
Here are some wine matches:
The sandwich described above: I’d try a multi-grape red blend.
Turkey casserole: Turkey, mashed potatoes, cheese, stuffing bread and such heated in the oven would go nicely with a medium-bodied Spanish rioja.
Leftover latkes (because you celebrated Thanksgivukkah): Can’t improve on these – just toss them in a toaster oven, heat’ em up and wolf ‘em down with a crisp sauvignon blanc to cut the fat.
Squash bisque: A bisque is defined as a creamy soup, so use squash, half-and-half, broth, onions, garlic and such, cook it down and spin it in the blender (If it’s hot, hold the top down with a dish towel to avoid making Squash Vesuvius). Try a hedonistic viognier with this.
Cranberry bread: Google a recipe. Or substitute cranberries into a recipe for zucchini or pumpkin bread. Pair it with a fruity pinot noir.
Finally, leftover pumpkin pie. This could go with a nice white dessert wine. (But if I know you, by now you’re saying, “What’s leftover pumpkin pie?)
• 2012 Mandolin Pinot Noir, Monterey: aromas and flavors of black cherries and cinnamon, light body; $12.
• 2012 Gnarly Head Chardonnay, Calif. (84 percent chardonnay, 10 percent chenin blanc, 4 percent malvasia bianca, 2 percent viognier): hint of oak, aromas and flavors of ripe apples and sweet lemon meringue; $10.
• 2012 Frei Brothers Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley: crisp and tart, with flavors of lemons and limes; $17.
• 2012 Bonterra Viognier, Mendocino County: rich aromas and flavors of ripe peaches and cloves, crisp; $16.
• 2010 Matchbook Tempranillo, Calif. (83 percent tempranillo, 7 percent graciano, 10 percent tannat): Tempranillo is the Spanish Rioja grape, with aromas and flavors of black raspberry jam and milk chocolate: $15.
• 2012 Alamos “Seleccion” Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina: aromas and flavors of black plums and black pepper, soft and smooth; $20.
• 2012 Red Rock Winery “Winemaker’s Blend” red wine, California (petite sirah, syrah, zindfandel): aromas and flavors of black cherries and black coffee, rich and heady; $14.
• Nonvintage Beaulieu Vineyard “Muscat de Beaulieu” white dessert wine, California: Quite sweet, with aromas and flavors of dried apricots and vanilla; $24 per half-bottle.