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When it comes to the holiday season, there’s nothing like gathering with family and friends to share some of your favorite foods. And what helps to take a meal to the next level? A delicious bottle of wine, of course. Pairing wine with vegan and vegetarian dishes is all about making sure that flavor profiles are in alignment. Veggie dishes that are rich with herbs and spices offer a unique opportunity to explore different grape varieties from all around the world. As you prepare your menu for this Thanksgiving’s scrumptious feast, here are a few suggestions of food and wine pairing that will make the holiday extra special and some picks for the best natural wine to try.
Note: each of the wines recommended below are either organic, biodynamic, or natural, and use no animal-based fining elements.
Best Natural, Organic, Biodynamic, and Veg-Friendly Wines for Thanksgiving
Butternut Squash Hummus with Orange Wine
Recommended Wine: Sikele 2019 Cantina Marilina, $26
While orange wines are typically adored because of their hue, the wine is made from white wine grapes that have had extended skin contact with the juice. This wine pairs great with an appetizer like butternut squash hummus because of its sunny aromas of tropical fruit and honey, and tastes of citrus and stone fruit, with a slight almond nuttiness on the palate.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Pinot Noir
Recommended Wine: Bonterra Organically Grown Pinot Noir 2019, $16
Located in Mendocino County, California, Bonterra Organic Vineyards Prides itself on producing organic and biodynamic wines that are in sync with nature. This Pinot Noir has fresh red fruit flavors of pomegranate and cherry with earth undertones that will surely support the delicious char-broiled flavor of roasted Brussels sprouts. And best of all? You can even put a slight chill on this wine before serving it.
Lentil Loaf and Vegan Macaroni and Cheese with Unoaked Chardonnay
Recommended wine: Domaine Louis Michel et Fils Chablis 2019, $34
Chardonnay is not only the most versatile grape variety on the planet, but it usually creates a clear divide between wine lovers – either you love it, or you hate it. Luckily, there are a variety of styles that can help to change the mind of nonbelievers. An unoaked Chardonnay typically does not experience malolactic fermentation, which means you won’t experience extreme oak or butter flavors on the palate. This Burgundian Chablis has bright notes of white stone fruit with structured minerality that will help to lift the earthy notes of the lentil loaf and the creamy texture of the mac and cheese.
Mushroom Risotto with Chianti Classico
Recommended wine: Riserva Chianti Classico Querciabella 2017, $30
There’s nothing a like a warm, creamy bowl of mushroom risotto to make a meal even more comforting and delicious. Made from 100 percent Sangiovese grapes, this Chianti Classico has notes of tart, baked cherry on the nose and palate, with fresh acidity and a peppery finish that makes a lovely pair with the ‘meatiness’ of the mushrooms and tangy bite of the arborio rice.
Cauliflower Steaks with Chenin Blanc
Recommended wine: Astrolabe Wrekin Vineyard Chenin Blanc 2018, $25
When seasoned properly, cauliflower can really hold its own against any of the cruciferous veggies that may find themselves on the Thanksgiving table. It can be grilled, oven-roasted, or pan-fried, and absorb all the flavors and toppings you want to add, which calls for an equally versatile wine. Whether you spicy up your cauliflower steak or keep it mild, this Chenin Blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand has high acidity with flavors of honeysuckle, lemon, peach, and crisp apple that will surely satisfy the palate.
Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake with Vin Santo Dessert Wine
Recommended wine: Vin Santo del Chianti Classico DOC 2009, $40
For the grand finale to an incredible feast, it is always important to have the perfect complement with a sweet treat. Made in the Chianti Classico region of Tuscany, this Trebbiano-based wine has notes of apricot, orange peel and spice that would absolutely sing with the creaminess of the pumpkin cheesecake and toasted graham cracker crust. And while the cost may seem little much for a half bottle, just an ounce or two of this luscious wine goes a long way.