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Vidal Blanc

Simple Tips to Selecting Thanksgiving Dessert Wines

Thanksgiving Dessert Wines

Thanksgiving Dessert Wines

There are blogs about selecting the perfect Thanksgiving wine.  Pinot Noir is the go-to wine for most dishes. Pinot Noir complements just about everything on your plate even your aunt’s green bean casserole. But, where are the blogs about dessert wines pairings? What do you with pumpkin pie… coffee? What about pecan pie… milk?  No, this is a feast a celebration of gratitude.  We need to top the meal off right before the tryptophan coma begins.  Here are some simple tips to selecting Thanksgiving dessert wines.

Select a wine equally or sweeter than the dessert

Food has an impact on the way wine will taste. Sweet food makes dry wine taste astringent, bitter and less sweet and fruity. A Pinot Grigio with a pineapple upside down cake increases the perception of the wine’s acidity. The sweeter the wine is will reduce the perception of bitterness and the burning effect of alcohol.  Moscato d’Asti brings out the cake’s bright fruit and syrupy flavors.

Fruity dessert wines are a good partner for chocolate-based confections

Recioto della Valpolicella is delicious Italian wine that has aromas of cherry liqueur, and fig, and plum. Recioto is similar to Amarone.  It is not inexpensive, but worth it.

Savory desserts like pumpkin or sweet potato pie are best with semi-dry wines

A semi-dry wine with nutty flavors will not detract from nutmeg and cinnamon flavors. Hungarian Tokaji (‘toe-kye’) has intense dried fruits and sweet spices. French Sauternes is another wonderful option.  Sauternes has hints of vanilla and citrus stone fruits.


Port style wines enhance nutty desserts flavors

Your mother’s deep-dish chocolate pecan pie is perfect match for Madeira. Madeira is a fortified aged wine. Boal and Malmsey are sweeter styles of the wine.  Flavors of caramel, peach, burnt sugar and hazelnut are familiar with this wine.

Thanksgiving Dessert Wines

Late harvest wines are a great match for fruit desserts

Late harvest wines, like ice wine or Eiswien, have intense concentrated juice and are perfect with apple pie and peach cobbler.  The flavors are pronounced, high acidity and syrupy sweetness.  Maryland’s Vidal Blanc grape is frequency used to make ice wines.

Small pours go a long way

Dessert wines are higher in sugar and alcohol levels. They are meant to be sip.  They will last longer than you average bottle of wine.  Make sure you store them properly. Happy Thanksgiving!  Have a blessed and safe holiday.

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2017 Summer White Wines Picks

Vino 301’s Summer White Wines Picks


Crossing the Bay Bridge and seeing all the boats in the Bay lets me know it is official.  Aww finally, summer is here.  It is the start of lots of grilling, freshly made salads and really yummy desserts being served.   And, let’s not forget to mention the crabs.  I know it is still a little early to have Maryland’s blue crabs.  But you cannot talk about summer without mentioning Maryland’s caviar.  You must have wine with all this summer goodness.  Here are Vino 301’s suggestions for summer white wines.


Summer Sipping

Sipping a cool glass of wine on the deck or rocking on the porch swing is quintessential summer fun.


Rosé, Great Frogs

Rosé was known as a transition wine bridging winter and summer seasons.  A go to wine to drink in the Spring. However, Rosé popularity has emerged recently and is enjoyed year-round. Great Frogs Rosé is perfect to help make Maryland’s humid days tolerable. The Rosé is refreshing and fruity dry wine.   Red fruit, like strawberries and raspberries will dance on your palate.  A mild tart finish completes your sip.


Riesling, Basignani Vineyard

Basignani’s Riesling hits the spot when you are sipping wine at your favorite concert.  The color is a beautiful pale straw.  Notes of melon and honeysuckle are on the nose.  It is a semi-dry wine, that is not syrupy sweet or overwhelms the nature flavors of the Riesling grape.  It is a well-balanced wine that is best served cold.

summer white wines

Grilled Veggies and Summer Salads

My maternal grandmother made the best tomato salad.  She used fresh tomatoes, spring onions, vinegar, a pinch of sugar, and finished with salt and pepper.  I try to make it whenever I can get Eastern Shore tomatoes, usually when I do the Chesapeake Wine Tour.  Some of the vineyards have fresh produces for sale.


Albariño, Serpent Ridge

Summer salads, like my grandmother’s salad, is complemented by Albariño.  Albariño is becoming Maryland’s go to white wine.  It is a Spanish grape that  grows very well in the state. The first time I had Albariño was at Serpent Ridge five years ago.  It is still consistently good after all those years.   You will detect aromas of crisp green apples on the nose.  You will taste peaches later followed by mild citrus fruit.  Bright acidity on the finish is what makes it pair so well with summer salads.  It will not overpower or detract from the foods flavors.


Franc Blanc, Thanksgiving Farms

Grilled vegetables are sometimes difficult to find the right wine to serve with it.  The smokiness and charred flavors along the vegetables bright notes can be challenging.  Franc Blanc accepts the challenge.  It is a white Cabernet Franc.   Franc Blanc is a full body wine white that has a floral nose.  You will enjoy stone fruit flavors like apricots.  Mild citrus flavor like kumquats will come across.  The low acid and fullness of the wine is a good grilling partner.


Seafood and Crabs

An unoaked Chardonnay is the preference for many seafood lovers.  I would challenge you to try a Vidal Blanc.  Vidal Blanc style is typically semi-sweet or sweet.  However, Hidden Hills has prepared a dry Vidal Blanc which is a delightful alternative to a Chardonnay.


Vidal Blanc, Hidden Hills Farms and Vineyard

It is a medium body wine.  Pears and golden apples on the palate and nose.  It has minerality and lemon on the finish.  The lemon comes forward especially when it is paired with fish and shellfish.


You can purchase the wines online, just visit their websites.  You can contact the vineyards to locate where you can purchase the wines at local wine stores or restaurants.

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