Thanks to the many people at the table and wide variety of foods and flavors served, Thanksgiving is a difficult holiday to perfectly pair wine. We like to start off with bubbles and end on a sweet note, but during appetizers and the main event it can be best to place a couple of different whites and reds on the table and let everyone drink the ones that most appeal to their palate. Turkey, vegetables and all the carbs on the table go well with white wines and low tannin reds.
The best wines for Thanksgiving vary. Chardonnay, whether new or old world, is always a good choice, but it’s also fun to think a little out of the box with a Verdejo or dry Riesling. Pinot Noir, either from its home in Burgundy or California, is a good match with turkey a wide variety of sides, and Gamay from Beaujolais is also a winner with roasted fowl. After a couple years of smaller gatherings this Thanksgiving is going to feel more special than ever, and your wine choices should reflect the sense of celebration.
Champagne Lanson Le Rosé NV
Maison Lanson was founded in 1760 and is one of the oldest Champagne houses in existence. They have supplied the British Royal family for generations and have been a Royal Warrant Holder since 1900. Lanson Le Rosé is composed mostly of Pinot Noir blended with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier. It is light pink in the glass with beautiful perlage. It has aromas of freshly baked bread, strawberries and red raspberries, and is vibrant in the mouth with creamy texture and pronounced acidity in the finish.
Dr. H. Thanisch 2019 Berncasteler Doctor Riesling Kabinett Mosel Germany
Pale straw colored in the glass, this zesty Riesling has aromas of white flowers and lime pith. It is bone dry with bracing minerality and flavors of lemon-lime, white peach and a touch of wet river rock. The finish has a nice level of salinity punctuated by refreshing acidity.
José Pariente 2020 Finca las Comas Rueda Spain
Named for the owner’s father, José Pariente is one of the most consistent and well-respected wineries in Rueda, Spain. Verdejo grapes used to make this mouthwatering wine are sourced from a single plot of vines planted in 1910. It has aromas of nectarine and flint and flavors of lemon, grapefruit and river rock with a pleasant feeling of freshness and salinity on the tongue and in the post palate. There is a touch of wood due to ageing in large oak barrels, but it is certainly not overpowering.
Felton Road 2020 Block 6 Chardonnay Central Otago New Zealand
Grapes for this intriguing New Zealand Chardonnay are grown in the Elms Bannockburn Vineyard in Central Otago, which is Demeter certified for organic and biodynamic viticulture. Fermentation was carried out in older French oak barrels and the wine was allowed to undergo a long and complete malolactic fermentation which lends creaminess and a silky texture. It has aromas of white peach, lemon and white flowers. In the mouth it has soft flavors of peach and Bartlett pear with a strong mineral backbone and zippy finish.
Albert Bichot 2020 Gevrey-Chambertin Burgundy France
Gorgeous cherry red in the glass this appellation village Pinot Noir from Gevrey-Chambertin has aromas of hazelnut, toasted coconut and ripe black cherry. In the mouth there are flavors of bright red cherry and red plum with fine, silky tannins. The finish is soft but goes on for a long time.
Chateau Du Moulin-A-Vent 2019 Moulin-A-Vent Beaujolais France
Grapes for this juicy Beaujolais wine are grown in the village of Moulin-A-Vent on mineral rich granitic soils close to the fifteenth century windmill for which the village is named. The winemaking team uses grapes grown on forty- to eighty-year-old vines that are tended using organic principles and are situated at altitudes of 800 to 900 feet. The choice to ferment the grapes using 60 percent whole cluster gives this wine a brambly character. It is fruit forward in the nose with aromas of red raspberry and blackberry with a whiff of bramble. In the mouth there are bright fruit flavors as well as floral notes such as violet and rose with just a touch of brown baking spices and freshly ground black pepper in the finish.
Domaine de la Vougeraie Corton Grand Le Clos du Roi Grand Cru Burgundy France
On his predecessor’s death King Louis XI renamed the walled enclosure where the grapes used to make this superb wine are grown to Clos du Roi (King’s clos) and it remained in royal control for three centuries until the French Revolution. This wine has delightful aromas of red cassis, forest floor and brown baking spices. It is soft on entry with flavors of red raspberry, red cherry and just a touch of smoke. The tannins are silky smooth, and the finish goes on and on. While you’ll want to drink this incredible wine today, you could lay it down for a few decades if you choose.
Clarice 2021 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
This stunning Pinot Noir hails from grapes grown in Rosella’s Vineyard and Gary’s Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. Winemaker Adam Lee uses 75 percent whole bunch fermentation and ages his wine in Francois Freres French oak barrels which gives this Pinot Noir intoxicating aromas of ripe red fruits, pomegranate and just a touch of vanilla and spice. In the mouth it is generous, round and voluptuous with flavors of blackberry, milk chocolate and anise followed by a refreshing splash of acidity in the finish.
Baldacci Family Vineyards 2019 Honey B Vineyard Pinot Noir Carneros California
If you like your Pinot Noirs big, confident and fruit forward, this is the wine for you. It has aromas of Mission fig, red plum, strawberry and freshly picked red cherry. It is explosive in the mouth with ripe red and black fruit flavors and plush texture. The tannins are supple but provide a solid backbone to this bold wine.
Moret-Brealynn 2021 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
This captivating Pinot Noir is made with grapes grown in the foggy Green Valley of the Russian River Valley AVA. California born winemaker Moret-Brealynn works in conjunction with consultant Adam Lee and uses native yeast and minimal intervention in her winemaking. Brilliant garnet in the glass, this delicious wine offers aromas of cherry, red raspberry and a soft whiff of bramble from the 30 percent whole cluster fermentation. In the mouth it is full-bodied and elegant with flavors of red fruits of the forest, cranberry and just a touch of spice in the persistent finish.
Wayfarer 2019 Wayfarer Vineyard Pinot Noir Fort Ross-Seaview
Winemaker Todd Kohn used nine different clones of Pinot Noir grapes harvested over a three-week period and barrel aged his wine in French oak for 15 months to craft this luscious Fort Ross-Seaview AVA Pinot Noir. It is dark garnet, almost purple in color with aromas of cranberry, pomegranate and blood orange peel. In the mouth it is full and expressive with ripe red fruit flavors stacked on a firm tannic backbone.
Feudo Montoni Passito Bianco
Some say the best part of Thanksgiving dinner is the dessert, and here is a sweet Sicilian wine to pair perfectly with homemade pies and cakes. On the nose it is intoxicating with heady aromas of yellow peaches in heavy syrup, candied orange peel and dried Mediterranean herbs. Upon entry into the mouth, it is sweet but not cloying due to the correct level of acidity to counter the residual sugar. It has delicious flavors of just picked apricot and white peach with a bright burst of acidity in the finish.