By Susan Auler, co-founder
Thanksgiving provides an amazing opportunity for us to reflect on the year and take stock of our many blessings. Celebrating with family and friends is a wonderful way to express our gratitude. As winery owners, we tie our Thanksgiving celebration to the original feast by giving thanks for a successful harvest. This year, we’ll not only reflect on a fantastic harvest, but we’ll also reminisce about 40 years of harvests as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of Fall Creek Vineyards.
A trip to France that my husband Ed and I took in 1973 changed our lives. We visited the major wine regions in France and immediately fell in love with French wines, foods, and culture. Within two years of that trip in 1975, we planted grapes on a corner of Fall Creek Ranch to experiment with wine growing at the encouragement of Texas A & M and Texas Tech Universities. Soon that test plot grew from ¼ acre to 7 ½ acres, and we purchased 400 acres along the west side of Lake Buchanan to construct the permanent location of Fall Creek Vineyards and Winery. We formally established the Fall Creek Vineyards winery facilities in 1979.
Thanksgiving Wine and Food Pairings
Since 1979, we have lovingly paired Fall Creek Vineyards wines with traditional Thanksgiving dishes. A few of our favorites include:
1983 Fall Creek Vineyards Chenin Blanc - Paired with Foie Gras served with homemade apple chutney on toasted brioche as an appetizer. This was our first vintage of Chenin Blanc and it was the number one rated Chenin Blanc in the United States in the “Wines and Spirits Buying Guide.” The natural fruitiness, beautiful minerality and ample acidity of the wine made it a beautiful compliment to the richness of the Foie Gras.
1990 Fall Creek Vineyards Chardonnay - Paired with classic Cornbread Dressing. This vintage tied for top honors in a competition of Texas Chardonnay and French White Burgundy in Burgundy, France. It is a food-friendly wine with bright tropical fruit flavors that brings out the sweetness of the dressing.
1997 Fall Creek Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc - Paired with fluffy mashed potatoes and turkey gravy. In 1997 our Sauvignon Blanc was the first Texas wine to be given a “Best Buy” by Wine Spectator. What an honor! Its crisp citrus flavors and mineral undertones made it a perfect accompaniment to our decadent potatoes with plenty of butter and gravy.
2005 Fall Creek Vineyards Meritus - Paired with cranberry sauce. Our 2005 vintage received a double-gold medal at the 2006 Tasters Guild International Consumers’ Wine Judging. This blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon is a delightful complement to cranberry sauce. The red raspberry and cherry flavors are a delicious match with the sweet tarty taste of cranberry sauce providing a smooth and enjoyable experience.
2016 GSM Salt Lick Vineyards Terroir Reflection - Paired with Salt Lick smoked turkey. We love our 2016 Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre (GSM) Salt Lick Vineyards Terroir Reflection Texas Hill Country with smoked turkey. Wine made with grapes grown in the Salt Lick Vineyards is an obvious pairing with a recipe from the famous Salt Lick BBQ restaurant. This vintage scored 90 points in the James Suckling 2018 Report. It is a velvety rich wine full of black cherry cordial flavors and hints of chocolate-covered purple olives that pairs really well with the smoky bird.
Try this delicious recipe for smoked turkey from our neighbors in Driftwood, Texas. The Salt Lick Cookbook: A Story of Land, Family, and Love by Scott Roberts and Jessica Dupuy for your Thanksgiving dinner.
1 1/2 gallons water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
1 (12-pound) turkey breast
1 bottle favorite Salt Lick Bar-B-Que Sauce
Mix water, sugar, and salt. Rinse turkey breast and pat dry. Seal in a large container with poultry brine, and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Bring smoker to 265 F. When ready to smoke, rinse turkey with cold water and pat dry. Discard the brining solution. Baste turkey well with Salt Lick barbecue sauce. Place on smoker rack midway from heat source.
Baste again after 3 hours. At 5 1/2 hours, check internal temperature at the thickest area of the breast. If the temperature is 165 F, the turkey breast is ready for removal. If the temperature is not 165 F, recheck at 15-minute intervals. Remove from smoker and place on a sheet pan to rest. Baste turkey before slicing and serving.
Makes 10 to 12 servings.
We’re thrilled to have wine lovers like you celebrating 40 years of delicious Fall Creek Vineyards wine and food pairings for Thanksgiving. If you want to try our 2016 GSM Salt Lick Vineyards Terroir Reflection Texas Hill Country and smoked turkey pairing this year, you can pick up a few bottles of at our Tow or Driftwood locations or purchase it here: https://fcv.com/product/fall-creek-vineyards-brgrenache-syrah-mourvdre-brsalt-lick-vineyards-2016.