Column: Pairing wine with turkey, ham and mooncakes

We are in between two celebratory days: the Lunar Moon Festival that just passed and Thanksgiving that is coming up.  In this article, I am going to make wine pairing suggestions to enjoy with mooncakes, ham and turkey.

The Lunar Moon Festival this year was on Oct. 1. I am sure many of you have lots of left over mooncakes. So why not trying to pair them with wine? Mooncakes are sweet, rich and very pasty. So lighter, fruity wines like young Pinot Noir will work well as a good pairing. The other way to go is to pair mooncakes with a sweeter wine. I have a passion for Sauternes so that would go well with mooncakes. Want to be adventurous? Try mooncakes with an Amarone wine, which has high alcohol content and lots of sweet fruit flavours.

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Thanksgiving is just around the corner. What would Thanksgiving be without either turkey or ham? Luckily, Pinot Noir also pairs well with turkey but for different reasons. Turkey is a pretty light flavoured meat so you don’t want to overpower it with a heavy wine. Any red wine with softer tannins, like an aged Spanish or Bordeaux wine or even a Chianti, will also work with turkey.  If you want to pair turkey  with a white wine, try a heavier, oaked Chardonnay. The butter and vanilla flavours of a Chardonnay pair nicely with turkey. But stay away from the cranberry sauce until you have finished your wine. Like Hoisin sauce in Asian cuisine, cranberry sauce is a wine-killer as it is really difficult to pair with wine since cranberry sauce has so much acidity, tartness and sweetness.

Ham is actually a very interesting food to pair with wine.  Ham by nature can be on the salty side and also has some sweetness, especially if the ham is honey glazed. You want to pair ham with a fruity wine with good acidity but not too much tannin. If you are choosing a red wine, I would stay away from Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz based wines. You could go back to a Pinot Noir or try a Zinfandel. If you are choosing a white wine, try a dry Riesling or any lighter white wine like a Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc could work.

Now for my wine recommendation. For this article, I am recommending a versatile, all purpose wine that will pair well ham, turkey and mooncakes. It is the Louis Jadot 2018 Beaujolais Villages Combe Aux Jacques. It is made with the Gamay grape, which has nice fruitiness, low tannins and quite light. Very good wine to pair will all types of food. It is currently on sale for $20.99 until the end of October.

Until next time, happy drinking! 

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