Friendsgiving and wine tasting – what’s not to love?! We partnered with Kendall-Jackson to pair one of our favorite holidays with one of our favorite activities… and it was one of the best ideas we’ve ever had. It’s no secret that hosting Thanksgiving can be a lot of work. So, when celebrating with friends this year, why not make it effortless? There’s no need to prep a big meal, instead, ask each guest to bring an appetizer that pairs well with a specific wine. Simply start pouring and enjoy each small course alongside its perfect wine paring. Read on for our tips to help you host a wine tasting Friendsgiving that everyone will want to recreate for years to come!
How to Prepare
When it comes to Thanksgiving, or in this case Friendsgiving, we can’t ignore festive decor. We love to decorate our homes and tabletops in a warm and inviting way that revolves around the holiday. This means pumpkins, cozy throws, and flowers all in warm colors. After we created the base decor, we set the table with a stack of plates, napkins, and wine glasses. Tip: you don’t need to have multiple wine glasses for each guest, or wash them between each wine – simply polish off whatever you’re sipping on and pour the next wine right in.
The day before or morning of your party, make sure you chill the wine to its optimal serving temperature. You can find what each wine should be served at by visiting their entertaining page. If you have a wine fridge, you can set the correct temperature and store the wines there, but you can also simply refrigerate wines for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending on the varietal.
Before people start arriving, set out the wines so everyone knows what they will be tasting, and so they can remember their favorites! It’s also a good idea to open the red wines you will be serving to let them breathe before guests arrive. Then, you can greet guests with a glass as well :).
To prep the menu and determine what dishes we wanted guests to bring, we looked to Kendall-Jackson’s pairing guide. This made choosing appetizers seamless! We kicked things off with an anything-but-basic cheese board (because who doesn’t love a cheese board?!), which you can find on the Kendall-Jackson blog. Plus, this allowed us to pair a multitude of items with their complimentary wine. Here are the wines we focused on and their perfect pairings.
Guests enjoyed Vintner’s Reserve Pinot Noir with Brie cheese, walnuts, and dried figs adorning the cheese board. Additionally, we served a platter of sausages and mustard alongside the pinot noir. This wine not only pairs well with these appetizers, but also is the perfect wine to enjoy during dinner as it is versatile enough to pair with traditional Thanksgiving foods.
We also served a Havarti cheese on the cheese board to compliment the Grand Reserve Chardonnay. However, a true match made in heaven was the Chardonnay with this butternut squash bruschetta – YUM! We were inspired by this recipe and simply replaced the pumpkin with butternut squash and topped the bruschetta with balsamic glaze.
When it comes to reds, whites, and rosés, we aren’t picky – so we love getting to try all three when hosting a tasting. For this tasting we paired the Grand Reserve rosé with a delicious prosciutto flatbread. The saltiness of the prosciutto and the crisp & fruity wine were the perfect combination.
Last, but certainly not least, we enjoyed the Grand Reserve Late Harvest Chardonnay with pumpkin cupcakes and cookies for dessert. Because what is Friendsgiving without dessert?! This wine’s cinnamon and nutmeg aromas made it absolutely delightful with a light pumpkin treat.
Finally, if you aren’t hosting the Friendsgiving this year, don’t forget to bring a gift! We recommend a bottle of Kendall-Jackson’s Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a beautiful bold red everyone will love ending the night with. Tip: Wrap the bottle in a festive tea-towel for a gift that is two-in-one!
This post is in partnership with Kendall-Jackson. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Inspired by This!