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Thanksgiving Wines for 2019

Thanksgiving will soon be here, and you’re probably starting to put together your menu.

Well, if you’re not…get on it!  No matter what you’re having, you’ll want some great wines to go with the big meal. And this year, think about ditching the “standard” stuff — Cabernet and Chardonnay — to expand your horizons. Your guests will love it!

Vouvray/Chenin Blanc:  This is among the best wines in the world for Turkey. Vouvrays are Chenin Blanc-based wines from France, and come in a variety of styles, from dry to off-dry, semi-sweet and sweet.  South Africa makes great Chenin Blancs, too, which they call “Steen”: try Raats Family, Indaba or Cederberg.  And Napa’s Pine Ridge makes a wonderful mixture of Chenin Blanc and Viognier that I recommend highly.

Rose:  If you’re having ham by any chance, try pairing it with Mulderbosch Rose, from South Africa, made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. And if you’re not, it’s a great aperitif wine!  Or, Montes Cherub from Chile or Corbieres Domaine Sainte-Eugenie from France. Domestically, try Sola Rosa from Napa Valley.  Goes great with cranberries, stuffing, relishes, everything!

Gewurztraminer: This somewhat spicy white wine is a nice change from all those Chardonnays or Pinot Grigios you’re offered at dinner parties. Washington State’s Columbia Winery makes Gewurz, and California’s Fetzer Vineyards makes a nice off-dry version.  Dependable, inexpensive “authentic” Alsatians come from France’s Trimbach or Hugel et Fils.

Pinot Noir: Lotsa folk say this is a great pairing with turkey – its bright cherry flavors and gentle tannins and acidity work well with Thanksgiving treats. Check out Chalone Vineyard Monterey, Bannock Brae from New Zealand or just about any Pinot from Willamette Valley in Oregon.  From France, try Francois d’Allaines Bourgogne Rouge or  Bouchard Pere et Fils.

Beaujolais: This underappreciated and often-dissed wine is a great choice if you’re not a white drinker but still want wine with your bird.  The Gamay grape makes easy-to-drink wines that are fruity but dry and go nicely with most things on the menu.  You’ll likely find a good, reliable Beaujolais selection at your retailer including Georges Dubeouf and Louis Jadot. If you want to go up-market a bit, look for Chateau Thivin Cote de Brouilly or G. Duscombes/Morgon.


David Gaier is a 15-year wine educator, collector, student, and aficionado. He built and has operated since 2006.

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