10 Perfect Thanksgiving Wines (& One Secret, All-Purpose Pick)
If you are like most people, you have yet to purchase your Thanksgiving wines. Not to worry, kemosabe: I gots you covered. Each of these delicious Thanksgiving picks is: 1) American (consistent with the holiday); 2) flavorful and versatile enough for the multiplicity of flavors on the T-Day table; 3) $30 or less (to encourage multiple bottles); 4) not obtrusively oaky or tannic or strange-tasting (i.e., conducive to peacemaking at the table); 5) widely available (i.e., you can get your hands on it):
Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc 2017 $28 (Napa):
Pretty tropical scents on the nose and a mouth-cleansing lemony crispness on the palate and enduring finish. Not aggressively grassy/herbal-scented like many versions of Sauvignon Blanc.
K Vintners Art Den Hoed Viognier 2016 $27 (Washington State):
Bewitching hints of peach and honeysuckle rise from the glass, with the wine's lively acidity ready to take on every cranberry, yammy bite of your feast.
Morgan Metallico Unoaked Chardonnay $25 (Monterey, CA):
No one will cry "butter bomb" when you serve this minerally Chardonnay, its medium-to-full weight and lemon-pineapple-pear personality a fast friend to turkey and all the trimmings.
A to Z Wineworks Pinot Noir "The Essence Of Oregon" 2015 $28 (Oregon):
Evocative of cherry, smoke, and a touch vanilla, it is a heftier-style Oregon Pinot that keeps it fresh with mouthwatering vibrancy.
Ancient Peaks Merlot 2016 $20 (Paso Robles):
Leave it to California's sun-drenched Paso Robles to foster this velvety, flavorful affair, its price blissfully restrained for the intensity of black fruit, savory herbs, and toastiness it offers.
Chateau Ste Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley Indian Wells 2015 $20 (Washington State):
Blackcurranty and tobacco-tinged, with silky smoothness but enough underlying zest to keep the table invigorated.
Dashe Cellars Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2015 $20 (Sonoma):
It is never out of fashion to drink the uniquely American grape, Zinfandel, on Thanksgiving, and this one will not clobber you with alcohol like some Zins. It is medium-to-full-bodied with a raspberry and clove personality.
L'Ecole 41 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley 2015 $28 (Washington State):
Rich and plummy, with hints of licorice and a long finish. It seduced the entire table on a recent visit to a New York steakhouse.
The Paring Pinot $30 (Sta Rita Hills, CA):
A fine effort from Santa Barbara County, its black fruit silky, smoky, and savory, able to meld seamlessly with the crispy skin of your turkey and all manifestations of stuffing.
Le P'tit Paysan "Le P'tit Pape" 2015 $20 (Central Coast):
Although its label features a drawing of a rooster facing down a p'tit pape or "little pope" (see photo above), there is no need to limit this savory red blend to that type of poultry. It is a medium-bodied charmer bristling with red fruit, herbs, and a pleasing earthiness.
ONE SECRET, ALL-PURPOSE PICK:
While I usually recommend including both whites and reds at the Thanksgiving table, if you are seeking just one fail-safe, all-purpose choice, go for a rosé sparkling wine like the Gloria Ferrer Brut Rosé Carneros NV (Sonoma). It's got everything: American (check), versatile (made from almost equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, it is rich enough for dark meat and gravy); fairly priced ($28); immensely likable (beautiful perfume of rose petals and raspberries, with plenty of zingy crispness); and in ample supply (Gloria Ferrer is everywhere). Moreover, the bubbles are cleansing, and, of course, celebratory, and it is an eye-opening choice for those unaccustomed to drinking sparkling wine with their big bird.