Wine of the Week: Thanksgiving wine recommendations

Even though the crowd around the Thanksgiving table might be a little less crowded this year, I still believe that the wine you pour for your Thanksgiving celebration should be as joyous as the occasion itself.

And even though I won’t have the time-honored tradition of having my well-intentioned in-laws telling me how to carve the turkey this year, I will still stress out over finding the right wine to serve with the main event.

The problem is that many tables will be laden with a wide variety of dishes, ranging from turkey to goose (or in our case, duck this year), to cranberries and stuffing. In addition, a long lineup of side dishes can end up competing for space on the plate and the palate.

Picking versatile wines that pair well with the main attraction — as well as the accompanying dishes — is the key to success for any Thanksgiving meal.

Here are a few useful suggestions that I think will play well with an assortment of dishes on your Thanksgiving table. Hopefully, this will give you one less thing to worry about for the holidays, even if you’re lucky enough to have the in-laws are in your Thanksgiving bubble.

Chenin Blanc is not the first grape that comes to mind when thinking of sparkling wine, but this incredibly versatile varietal shines even brighter with bubbles in the Non-Vintage Jean-Marc Gilet Domaine de la Rouletiere Vouvray Brut from the Loire Valley region of France.

The bouquet is filled with scents of toasted bread, ripe pear, white peaches and roasted almonds. Medium-sized bubbles carry flavors of lemon meringue, crisp apple and a touch of nectarine over a creamy frame.

The fresh finish is clean, soft and long, leaving the impression of delicate tangerine flavors on the back of the tongue. A wonderfully versatile wine that can kick off dinner on just that right note. $20

Cyrus Hazzard, the Senior Director for Total Wine’s Concierge Sales department was recently on the Vine Guy podcast talking about his picks for Thanksgiving. His choice for white wine this year is the 2015 Au Pied du Mont Chauve St. Aubin from the Charmois appellation located in the Burgundy region of France.

Cyrus loves the well-delineated streak of minerality that runs through this wine which heightens the flavors of peach, nectarine, and Gala apple. Just a touch of vanilla on the oh-so charming finish is a reminder of the dash of new oak the wine was aged in over five years ago. $44

When it comes to pairing a red wine with turkey, I usually reach for a domestic Pinot Noir, but Cyrus scored big points when he recommended the incredibly versatile 2015 Amadieu Pas de L’Aigle from the Gigondas region of the Southern Rhone Valley in France.

Made predominantly from Grenache vines that are over 60 years old, this spectacular medium-bodied wine reveals aromatics of blackberry, tobacco and dried herbs.

Complex flavors of spicy fruit, including black cherries, red cherries and dark plums mingle with notes of baked stones and lavender across the entire palate. Prominent notes of black pepper add power and depth on the long, structured finish. $49

Since turkey is actually two meats in one bird: The rich dark meat and the more mild white meat, my recommendation for a domestic Pinot Noir this year is the wonderfully versatile 2017 Merry Edwards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir from Sonoma County, California.

The dark color of this pinot belies its delicate nature. The perfumed nose is full of strawberry, raspberry and red plum scents. The wine has a bigger feel in the mouth thanks to fruit driven flavors of red cherry, dark plum and black raspberry.

Accent notes of black pepper and clove pop in on the back end and make a perfect pairing with turkey — or even ham. $45

Regardless of what you choose to put on your holiday table, I wish you and those you love a happy and safe Thanksgiving.


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Listen and subscribe to the “The Vine Guy” podcast on Podcast One


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