Guest Sommelier and Guest Chef

Tom Gannon shares his thoughts about Gewurztraminer for Thanksgiving and Michael Murphy finds a perfect pairing recipe which will chase away the fall chill.

“Gewurztraminer is often recommended for a Thanksgiving meal.  Trying to stare down the rich cornucopia of dishes on the decadent table is a tough burden for any wine to shoulder.  But a well-made Gewurztraminer is more than up to the task, versatile in its appeal to our families and friends. It also displays a richness to pair with white meat and balance to counter what are usually sumptuous sides. “Gewurz” translates from the German language as “spice” and the grape itself is a mutation of Savagnin Rose (Red Traminer).  It is a white varietal but it is a thick and pink-skinned grape. From the typical bouquet of a Gewurztraminer created by a conscientious winemaker we find spicy floral notes blasting out of the glass.  Orange blossoms, rose petals, potpourri mixed with heady tropical fruit like pineapple and lychees, some dried apricots and touch of green tea. Spices like cinnamon and clove usually are present underneath in the intense floral aromas. The texture of Gewurztraminer also assists in the enjoyment of our Thanksgiving meal.  It is rich unctuous, full bodied with typically just a touch of residual sugar (which is always nice if someone in your family “slightly” overcooks the turkey every year).  But, like everything in life, balance is the key; it is a wine for both connoisseurs and casual wine drinkers because of these qualities.  Richness and balance are two things we hope you have enjoyed this year, and we hope that our wines add both to your celebrations and the quiet moments that provide you time to pause, reflect, and give thanks.”  -Tom Gannon

Ginger Butternut Squash Soup with Toasted Pecans and Spicy Cream
This easy to make soup is ideal for those chilly autumn days. The crunchy pecans and spicy cream compliments the silky smoothness of the butternut squash, while the coconut milk adds a layer of richness.

* 2 large butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds removed
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 2 medium onions, cut into medium dice
* 1 small bulb fennel, cut in half and cored
* 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
* 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
* 1 cup pecans
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1 can (14-15 ounce) coconut milk
* ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
* salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rub the cut sides of the squash with olive oil and place cut side down on sheet tray lined with aluminum foil. Bake 1 hour or until very soft. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Scoop out flesh into bowl and discard skins. In a large pot melt butter. Add onions, fennel, and ginger and cook over moderate heat until vegetables are tender, about 8-10 minutes. Add squash and stock, and cover. Simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove cover, and continue to simmer another 5-10 minutes, or until vegetables fall apart and are very soft. Remove from heat and add coconut milk. While soup is simmering, toast pecans in 375 degree oven for 6-7 minutes. Cool. Roughly chop pecans and set aside. Whip cream with cayenne and salt to taste until it forms soft peaks. Set aside. Working with small batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Season with salt. Ladle soup into bowls, place a dollop of cream on top, and finish with pecans.