Wine is a memorable and refreshing complement to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving or any time of the year. When working with a richly flavored, heavy dessert, there are two directions to consider when pairing wine: Spicy darker wines to fully complement the experience, or balancing it with a light, crisp wine to cleanse the palate.
RICH AND SPICY
For a dense, nutty flavor with an earthy quality that creates an intensity of sweetness, sherry is a luscious accompaniment to pumpkin pie. Suggested glass: Riedel Vinum Sherry
Warm and rich with a smoothness and beautiful coloring, Port is an excellent choice, particularly Tawny over Vintage. Suggested glass: Stolzle Classic Port
A fine Madeira has the right acidity to pair with spiced pumpkin, and carries a delicate caramel layer that integrates well as a dessert wine. It ranges from the powerful Malmsey to dry and airy Sercial.
Often overlooked, but gaining popularity in Northern California’s wine country, this lovely fruity wine has a tranquil sweetness to it with light undercurrents of honey ginger. Its gentle flavors relieve the density of pumpkin pie. Suggested glass: Riedel Vinum Viognier
For traditional tastes, Riesling’s crisp, semi-sweet complexity is a satisfying pairing, especially with guests who are used to mainstream wines and dubious of experimentation. Suggested glass: Riedel Sommeliers Riesling
This high aroma wine has exquisite hints of spiciness that mix well with a dessert such as pumpkin pie. For special celebrations, break out the sparkling Moscato d’asti “Asti” for an invigorating end to the evening. Suggested glass: Italesse White Wine for Muscat and Schott Zwiesel Tritan Pure Flutes for Asti.
Eager to explore unique wine adventures? Look for “Ice / Iced / Icebox” wines that were bottled from grapes that froze while still on the vine. They may have a higher price tag, but the fresh, pure flavor is worth the extra expense. When drinking ice wine, it is a smaller pour to savor as you sip, leaving the wine on your palette longer than usual. Suggested glass: Riedel O Riesling / Sauvignon Blanc