Our Thanksgiving dinners may be smaller in scope or even feature “virtual” family this year, but we’re still looking forward to feasting and celebrating. There’s no better way to do this than serving up some much-needed comfort food: a countryside menu filled with rustic farm-fresh fare and delectable wines.

A Countryside Thanksgiving Menu

For starters, welcome your guests (or toast to the screen) with a glass of Chardonnay or Merlot, wines perfect for the season. Both are smooth and easy-drinking for a beginning-of-the-meal wine, with a soft body that doesn’t lay too heavily on the palate. Serve hors d`oeuvres of fresh goat cheese with herbs and lemon zest, marinated olives, cipollini onion hummus, and warm homemade bread.

When preparing the main course, embrace the outdoors by firing up the grill to cook the turkey or other meats. This will make room in the oven for scrumptious sides such as fennel baked in cream, apricot and walnut stuffing, or winter squash flavored with thyme and sage.

The One Wine You Need for a Thanksgiving Wine Pairing

The herbs and spices featured in a classic Thanksgiving menu can make choosing a wine difficult. And far be it from us to limit you on your wine selection when it comes to the main course; but if you had to choose just one, consider a spicy, refined Zinfandel with a long, silky finish to match those robust fall flavors.

The “Old Vines” Zinfandel or higher-end Reserve Zinfandel from St. Francis Winery and Vineyards have classic structures with aromas of cinnamon and dark mixed berry that merge with flavors of blackberry jam, ripe raspberry, and a touch of peppercorn.

“These luscious, elegant, fruit-driven wines complement the many flavors and textures of the holiday table,” says Rick Bonitati, CEO of St. Francis Winery and Vineyards. And even better, the winery’s luxury line of Reserve wines is certified sustainable, handcrafted, and produced in small batches – good production practices that make a quality wine taste even better.

The Zinfandel pairs well not only with the sides and main course, but will transition seamlessly into a great dessert pairing – especially with this deceptively easy recipe for Pumpkin Panna Cotta. Developed by the St. Francis Winery and Vineyards Culinary team who handle the wine and food pairing program, you can be sure the match will be a delicious success.

Pumpkin Panna Cotta
Image by Shoko Muraguchi

Pumpkin Panna Cotta

Serves: 6


  • 1 3/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon gelatin
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin pie mix


  • Simmer cream and sugar for 5 minutes.
  • Soak the gelatin in the milk a few minutes. Add the bloomed gelatin to the cream mixture. Cook 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the pumpkin pie mix and vanilla. Place the mixture in an ice bath and cool to room temperature.
  • Pour mixture into six 4-ounce ramekins. Refrigerate until set.

Veteran wine publicist for Kobrand Wine & Spirits with WSET 2 certification. Lover of wine, crafty cocktails, foodie, high fashion and a good workout

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