Rosé can be the perfect match for your turkey and its varied trimmings, especially when it comes from Provence, the birthplace of rosé. With hundreds of years of practice making this wine, it is not surprising that the best rosés in the world hail from this region. Light yet complex, nicely balanced fruit and acidity, Provence rosés are refreshing to one’s palate and versatile enough to go with the myriad foods typically found on the traditional Thanksgiving table. (Keep a bottle chilled for the leftovers, too!)

I love Thanksgiving. I am one of those (obsessive) sorts who has a file bulging with Thanksgiving recipes and a stack of November issues of magazines—Gourmet, Food & Wine, Saveur, Cook’s—dating as far back as 25 years, each with the past years’ popular menus and learned advice for those above calling Butterball’s Turkey Talk-Line. Still, I scour current magazines and my favorite online haunts for the latest ideas for stuffings, vegetables, salads, and so on—kale, quinoa, and anything without gluten still trending high, in case you didn’t know. I spend a lot of time planning the menu. Today, by most accords, is America’s favorite holiday.

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Photo by W.T. Manfull

What could be more inviting than gathering ‘round the table, giving thanks, and diving into the sumptuous meal set before us? Considering the countless hours that went into putting that meal on the table, what could be more rewarding?


I can hardly believe that I am making this public confession, revealing this heretofore closely held secret as well as a rather irreverent side of my personality. But there you have it. When the guests leave, I can hardly wait to break up the Turkey’s carcass, drop it into my biggest stock pot along with onions, leeks, carrots, celery, a few springs of thyme, parsley, and rosemary (tied together), peppercorns, and the obligatory bay leaf. Cover it all with cold water, light the fire, bring to a boil, and simmer. Three hours later, you have an intensely flavorful stock. In the meantime, I happily clear the tables and wash the dishes, while occasionally skimming the foam off of my gently simmering broth.

Turkey soup, turkey sandwiches on the left-over whole wheat Parker House rolls, along with my great grandmother’s cranberry relish or Brian’s plum sauce (passed down from Prince Albert, he claims), sautéed carrots with black Provençal olives (à la Patricia Wells), kale salad with a ginger dressing, green beans with slivers of almonds, and smashed potatoes with rutabaga. Then, the sweet potato pie (thanks again, Cloe) or will I have the dark rich gingerbread with whipped cream? I always feel that I can savor the tastes of the various dishes so much more clearly the next day.

I feel the same about the wine. Who can fully appreciate a wine when there is so much going on at the table—what with all the engaging conversations, passing this and that, and a table lit by candles, who can see, swirl, sip, swish, swallow and savor? Every year, I hope there is a little left in each bottle for a tipple or two while making the broth and doing the dishes in the light of my kitchen. Sometimes there is and sometimes there isn’t. Rarely is there wine left to accompany my beloved leftovers. This year, however, I have ensured that the rosé I selected will also grace my table the next day.


Photo by W.T. Manfull

Château Pigoudet Insolite (2012) is the rosé we selected for our Thanksgiving this year. We were introduced to this lovely rosé—a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Syrah—at the Rosé tasting sponsored by Provence Wine Council/Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Provence (CIVP) in New York last March. (Please see my earlier post, entitled “Thirty Rosés to Taste: Provence Comes to New York City,” on this tasting.)

I will write more about this estate in an upcoming post, so suffice to say here that I know neither we nor the guests will be disappointed with our rosé selection. This Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence rosé’s color is often referred to as a “pale salmon hue.” My notes from last March tell me that the nose has hints of red fruits like strawberry; the slightly minerally taste brings to mind grapefruit and perhaps honey suckle but its fruit flavor is very nicely balanced with its acidity; and the finish is exceptionally pleasing. Its complexity and body, my notes suggest, would be a perfect match with our turkey and its accompaniments.  (Carmelized fennel soup and whole roasted cauliflower with whipped feta cheese are especially challenging!)

We have chilled two bottles: a 1.5 L bottle and a 750 ML bottle. It is so good that my husband is wondering which bottle will be on the Thanksgiving table and which will grace the leftovers.


Photo by W.T. Manfull

Our table is set, the dough is rising for the Parker House rolls, the turkey is spatchcocked, and the gigantic balloons are floating past New York’s Macy’s—I just saw a master chocolatier marionette looking over a Lindt chocolate factory and now Spiderman is bopping by. I can’t wait for dinner and our Château Pigoudet Insolite rosé….I’m that much closer to turkey soup and leftovers and another taste of our rosé!

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. What a wonderful Thanksgiving feast! As you know, I am a big leftover fan, too. I am curious about Brian’s plum relish. Any chance he’d be willing to share that recipe?? The rosés look beautiful… as we aren’t hosting, I have NO idea what wines will be served but was told they are all taken care of (in a tone that said, don’t even think of brining your own wine!). Look forward to hearing how it went! xox

    • It was indeed a feast, beginning with oysters and Towny’s mignonnette and ending with espressos made by my niece (a former barista). The rosé lived up to our recollection of it and gave rise to be a long conversation about rosés in general. Brian, I see, left instructions for his (delicious) plum sauce! I hope your Thanksgiving was as good!

  2. Will read this tomorrow. Am weeping now!

  3. Those bottles of Rose looked soooo elegant!!! I’m keen to find out how the sweet potato pie turned out and would love to have some hints on the ginger dressing for the kale salad. I grate fresh ginger into/onto almost everything, and hope you can share that treat with me.

    • Cloe, The sweet potato pie was the best I’ve ever had. I wasn’t able to create the dark top on it, but it was just wonderful! The ginger dressing was delicious, especially on a salad of kale–I will see what I can find out about it! And, the rosé was lovely. I’ll save you a place next year!

  4. Your menu sounds divine and your table is beautiful. I’d love the recipe for each and every one of the dishes you described with photos! I hope it was a magical feast and, by some miracle (or slight of hand), there was a verre or two left over for your turkey sandwich. I am Thankful for your post…

  5. I can address a couple issues raised by the current posting.

    Firstly, Cocoa and Lavender, the recipe for plum sauce:
    250 g stoned plums
    150 ml each of port and red wine
    1 tablespoon of sugar
    2 cloves
    1 cinnamon stick
    2 tablespoons redcurrant jelly
    Juice of 3 oranges
    Juice of 1 lemon
    Black pepper
    30 q (1 oz) butter
    This recipe as given is, for my taste, much too runny. Half the liquid, or even less than half that indicated, is ample. I omit the orange juice and the redcurrant jelly and replace them with 2 tablespoons of good, chunky English or Scottish marmalade.
    Put the fruit, wine, port, sugar, cloves and cinnamon into a pan, bring to the boil and simmer gently until the fruit is soft. Add lemon juice, marmalade and season with pepper. Sieve. Reduce, if necessary, until well amalgamated, and whisk in the butter. If frozen, the sauce can be re-heated and more butter added prior to serving.
    This sauce is of German origin and was very popular in Victorian and Edwardian England. You can bet your life that both Mrs. Bridges and Mrs. Patmore would have been dab hands at making it, and they would have been served it with game. It is said that its popularity was due to the influence of Queen Victoria’s consort, Prince Albert.

    Now to the issue of leftovers.
    Having grown up in England, I can vouch for the fact that many of the best English dishes are made from leftovers. For example, the Sunday joint of beef or lamb was made to last 3 days. On Mondays the sliced, cold meat was eaten with “bubble and squeak” made from the leftover vegetables. When I was young I was usually in bed before my father arrived home from work but on Mondays it was a special treat for me to stay up a little later and share his bubble and squeak, still one of my favorite foods. On Tuesday the leftover meat was used in shepherd’s pie (for lamb) or cottage pie (for beef) or, if the quantity of meat was insufficient, it was amalgamated with breadcrumbs and made in to rissoles (rather like hamburgers but with chopped onions and spices). Stale bread was made into those ample desserts necessary to keep out the damp, like bread pudding or bread-and-butter pudding, and in summer was made in to that gorgeous “summer pudding” in which a pudding basin is lined with slices of stale bread and filled with a sweetened mix of stewed fruits, such as currants, raspberries and blackberries.

    Note to Susan from Brian – try plum sauce with crèpes.

    • Wow, how fortunate to grow up in your home! You will have to tell me more about “bubble and squeak”!! I have had your summer pudding, as you may recall, and LOVED it. Re the lamb, perhaps you read Mark Bittman’s article in the NYT Sunday magazine about the resurgence of lamb shoulder in haute cuisine–I always think of the English with this cut as I took another English friend all around Portsmouth looking for this cut of meat one year! Lots of “leftovers” to make from lamb shoulder, right?!

      Thanks for including your plum sauce recipe–it was so good. There is just a little left–and I hope to run today so that I can feel good about eating a crepe with a little of your sauce!

    • Thanks, Brian – that recipe sounds even better when I read the ingredients list! I can’t wait to try it AND especially with your recommendation to Susan to use it on crêpes! Happy holidays! ~ David

  6. I am sad to miss a Thanksgiving at your table. Memories of Thanksgivings past, languidly savored there, were delicious to recant this year while reflecting on the bounty of blessings for which I remain humbly grateful. With love and a toast for all good things to find you and yours … always

    • We were sad not to have your ever-smiling face around our table, too! Lots of wonderful memories ’round that table but will you ever forget lighting your sleeve on fire from the candle?!

  7. I went directly to the leftovers this year! On Wednesday I cooked the turkey (dry brine a la Melissa Clark NYT video), made the family stuffing, prepared the green bean casserole from Chef Dave’s site and stocked up on mayo and cranberry sauce. On Thanksgiving the turkey was sliced, casserole and dressing were heated and guests made sandwiches with all of the above ingredients! Wonderful!

    • Really?! That’s sounds great! I am going to look up Chef Dave and Melissa Clark–we brined the turkey again this year with the herbs etc and vinegar and water–we have never tried a dry brine but now I am curious! Our beans this year were a little disappointing–they took a long time to cook and came to the table slightly undercooked! Ah, well….

  8. Your house looks so festive! Beautiful photos!

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