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Thanksgiving Wine and Pie Pairings

Pie with dessert wine makes for a delectable treat during fall and winter. Such rich, sweet food and wine pairings are a comforting indulgence when the days get shorter and colder, and they are sure to bring a satisfying if not hedonistic conclusion to your Thanksgiving meal. Here are a few delicious suggestions.

  • Pumpkin Pie – This traditional, rich and silky treat is amazing on its own but reaches even greater heights with Moscato d’Asti. The wine’s perfumed aromatics provide fine counterpoint to the pie’s warm spices, while those delightful bubbles cut through the decadent richness. Also, Moscato’s sweetness matches well with both the pie and the whipped cream that rightfully should be on top of it. Try the 2019 Saracco Moscato d’Asti, with a creamy texture that is right at home with pumpkin pie.

  • Pecan Pie – Sticky, nutty and ultra-sweet, pecan pie has been a holiday staple for ages. It deserves an equally intense and sweet wine, and the sweetest type of Madeira, known as Malmsey, is just the ticket. Blandy’s 15 Year Old offers a full body and smooth texture, with a generous brown sugar character augmented by caramel, walnuts and mocha. What really nails down this wine and pie pairing is the wine’s acidity, which cuts through the pie’s gooey sweetness while brightening this very rich combination.

  • Lemon Almond Tart – With the perfect mix of sweet and savory, this exquisite dessert begs for the decadent, botrytis-driven richness that Sauternes delivers so well. Honeyed, floral, fruity and rich, the 2016 Chateau Suduiraut will play off the tart’s zesty citrus quality with great panache.

  • Apple Cobbler – Packed with apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and butter, apple cobbler speaks the sweet language of fall as well as anything. Pair it with the Domaine Huet 2018 Vouvray Clos du Bourg Moelleux and you will move from speaking to singing. With lush texture playing against juicy acidity, this sweet dream of a Chenin Blanc offers compelling notes of vanilla, pie crust and ripe apples. In other words, a perfect match.

  • Cherry Pie – The bright, sweet-tart essence of cherry pie is as vibrant as it is delicious. Try it with the 2018 Marenco Brachetto d’Acqui Pineto. This lively, effervescent gem from Italy’s Piedmont carries refreshing red fruit notes that match up beautifully, and it offers a fresh character that will play off the richness of the dessert.

  • Anything Chocolate – Whether as chocolate cream pie, chocolate pecan pie or any other cocoa-based confection, this option has its own set of wine pairing challenges and rewards. The 2017 M. Chapoutier Banyuls is one fine solution, with notes of dark chocolate, spices, orange peel, dried fruits and chocolate-covered cherries. Another is the Yalumba Antique Muscat from Australia. This luscious “sticky” (Aussie slang for fortified dessert wines) carries decadent notes of caramel, toffee, chocolate, spice and cream.

Consider these suggestions as your starting point for a delightful exploration of dessert and wine. Of course, every wine listed can serve as a wonderful dessert all on its own. Either way, you’re in for a treat. Happy Thanksgiving!

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