Two Distinct Pinot Noirs, Two Thanksgiving Recipes

This time of year really gives practitioners of food and wine pairing some great opportunities to show off their skills. There will be plenty of dinners with family and friends coming up where we can prepare our favorite recipes and share our favorite wines.

While some meals may require a fair amount of thought when it comes to wine pairing, Thanksgiving is a relatively easy call. Turkey and Pinot Noir are a match made in heaven. Not to mention all of the traditional sides that pair well with it. The earthiness of the roasted vegetables and sweet potatoes, the herbaceous flavors of the stuffing, and the tartness of the cranberry sauce all match up perfectly with the flavor profile of Pinot Noir.

In this post, we are going to look at two specific turkey recipes that pair beautifully with each of our bottles of Pinot Noir; A brined and roasted turkey to pair with our Estate Pinot Noir and a cajun turkey that matches up with our Washington State Pinot.

Bayernmoor Estate Pinot Noir And Brined Roasted Turkey

This recipe (which has been my go-to Thanksgiving recipe for almost two decades) comes to us from Emeril Lagasse via The Food Network. It takes some planning ahead as the turkey should soak in the brine overnight. Other than that extra step, this is an easy and very flavorful recipe.

Why This Pairing Works:

Our Estate Pinot Noir is the perfect match for this recipe because of the herbs used in the recipe and the fact that the brine infuses the turkey with flavors beyond what a topical seasoning would. Our Estate Pinot is rich with notes of bouquet garni, bundled herbs in traditional French cooking that includes thyme, tarragon, parsley, rosemary, and other various herbs, that pair perfectly with the thyme and rosemary in the brine. We guarantee that after a bite of turkey and a sip of wine your mouth will be watering.


1 (10 to 12-pound) turkey
Brine, recipe follows
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
1 stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken or turkey stock, for basting


Turkey Broth:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Reserved turkey neck and giblets
1 large yellow onion, cut into 8ths
1 large orange, cut into 8ths
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 large celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 small bay leaf
3 cups turkey stock, chicken stock, or canned low-salt chicken broth
3 cups water



4 cups turkey broth
1 cup dry white wine
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup flour
Salt and freshly ground black pepper



1 cup salt
1 cup brown sugar
2 oranges, quartered
2 lemons, quartered
6 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs rosemary


  1. Remove the neck, giblets, and liver from the cavity of the turkey and reserve for the gravy. Rinse the turkey inside and out under cold running water.
  2. Soak the turkey in the brine, covered and refrigerated, for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
  3. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  4. Remove the turkey from the brine and rinse well under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels, inside and out. Place breast side down in a large, heavy roasting pan, and rub on all sides with the butter. Season lightly inside and out with salt and pepper. Stuff the turkey with the onion, orange, celery, carrot, bay leaves, and thyme. Loosely tie the drumsticks together with kitchen string.
  5. For the turkey broth: Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Add the turkey neck, heart, and gizzard to the pan and saute until just beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add the chopped vegetables and bay leaf to the pan and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Pour the stock and 3 cups of water into the pan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer until the stock is reduced to 4 cups, about 1 hour, adding the chopped liver to the pan during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
  6. Strain the stock into a clean pot or large measuring cup. Pull the meat off the neck, chop the neck meat and giblets, and set aside.
  7. Roast the turkey, uncovered, breast side down for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, turn, and baste with 1/2 cup stock. Continue roasting with the breast side up until an instant-read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F when inserted into the largest section of thigh (avoiding the bone), about 2 3/4 to 3 hours total cooking time. Baste the turkey once every hour with 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken or turkey stock.
  8. Remove from the oven and place on a platter. Tent with aluminum foil and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
  9. For the pan gravy: Pour the reserved turkey pan juices into a glass-measuring cup and skim off the fat. Place the roasting pan on 2 stovetop burners over medium heat add the pan juice and 1 cup turkey broth and the white wine to the pan, and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining 3 cup of broth and bring to a simmer, then transfer to a measuring cup.
  10. In a large heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux. Add the hot stock, whisking constantly, then simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved neck meat and giblets to the pan and adjust seasoning, to taste, with salt and black pepper. Pour into a gravy boat and serve.


  1. To make the brining solution, dissolve the salt and sugar in 2 gallons of cold water in a non-reactive container (such as a clean bucket or large stockpot, or a clean, heavy-duty, plastic garbage bag.) Add the oranges, lemons, thyme, and rosemary.


For the brine: If you have a big turkey and need more brine than this, use 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup brown sugar for every gallon of water.

Bayernmoor Washington State Pinot Noir And Cajun Spiced Turkey

This spicy alternative to a traditional roasted turkey comes to us from our friends at Bon Appétit. While there is definitely some heat to this recipe, it is not overwhelming if you use the cajun seasoning recipe below. Of course you can adjust it as needed, controlling the heat by the amount of cayenne pepper you add. Make this a truly southern Thanksgiving meal by making macaroni and cheese, potato salad, and sweet potatoes as your side dishes. Don't forget the pecan pie!

Why This Pairing Works:

Where our Estate Pinot Noir is more nuanced and herbaceous, our Washington State Pinot Noir is a bigger, bolder wine that loves spice. With warm notes of baking spice and paprika, the wine has a similar flavor profile to the homemade cajun seasoning. The medium body and light tannin of our wine will hold up against the crispier skin created by the seasoning blend.


Cajun Seasoning:

5 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 12–14 pound turkey, patted dry
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup Cajun Seasoning
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (or more) olive or vegetable oil
  1. Set a rack inside a large heavy roasting pan. Season turkey lightly inside and out with salt and pepper, then with spice mix, massaging it into the skin. Transfer turkey, breast side down, to prepared pan and refrigerate, uncovered, overnight.

  2. Remove turkey from refrigerator; let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

  3. Preheat oven to 375°. Mix celery, pepper, and onion in a medium bowl. Fill turkey cavity with vegetable mixture, scattering any remaining vegetables over bottom of roasting pan. Brush turkey with oil.

  4. Roast turkey, basting occasionally, for 1 hour. Using paper towels, flip turkey. Roast, basting occasionally, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of thigh registers 165°, 1–1 1/2 hours longer. Transfer to platter. Let rest for at least 20 minutes before carving.

We hope you, your family, and friends have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Cheers! 

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