We are fast approaching one of the biggest food and wine holidays of the year: Thanksgiving. Families get together to enjoy each other’s company (hopefully) and share their favorite dishes. When it comes to side dishes, Thanksgiving is the mega side dish holiday. With all that food, wine seems to be a natural fit and it is. Wine and Turkey Dinner are like peas and carrots! However, choosing the wine can be difficult for some people.
The first problem is the budget. Let’s say you’re planning to have eight people over for Thanksgiving and they will all be drinking wine. Potentially, that could be up to four glasses each (designated driver needed if more), which translates into roughly eight bottles or more, depending on the group. It also depends on when everyone gets together. Football watching, card games, etc., could be involved. This stretches out the time your family will spend at your home. More time, more wine. My point? You need to find wines that punch above their weight class. In other words, wines that deliver good quality for less money. This is where getting help is essential.
Some out there have a modest cellar (or not so modest) and have plenty of wine to choose from already. That is not the case with a lot of us. In my experience, even though wine is a big part of the upcoming holiday, many people put off purchasing wine until just a few days before. Some even wait until the day of! Here is where I come in. I’m known as the wine guy who can find you a great bottle at a reasonable price. I find great enjoyment in searching out quality wines at a price that most people can afford. This is so important for a holiday like Thanksgiving. I thought I would give you a few suggestions here in hopes that I can save you some cash and, at the same time, you will have wines that most of your guests will like. Not only that, but they may think you spent a lot more money than you really did. That’s a win-win situation if you ask me. Here are some of my suggestions; I hope they help.
Sandpoint Pinot Noir (California)… $10.
It’s not super complex, but a really easy-drinking Pinot that tastes like a well-made wine. It is a great one to have with a group that is not loaded with wine snobs. Just saying. 🙂
2020 Les Iris Beaujolais (France)… $12.
Finding a good Gamay at this price can be difficult. However, this little gem has all it takes to go with the meal. Balanced acidity with notes of cherries and Asian spices with some earth and flower notes thrown in. To get the Asian spices at this price just amazes me.
2022 Domaine Jean-Michel Dupre Beaujolais-Villages (France)… $15.
It is more of a traditional style Gamay with notes of cherries, raspberries and red flowers. The acidity is nicely integrated and makes this a great food wine. A touch more complex than the aforementioned Gamay, but the price is stupid for the quality.
2021 Carmel Road Chardonnay (Monterey, CA)… $12.
I only mention this one, because you will most likely will have a Chardonnay drinker or two come for dinner. I was struck by the quality of this wine for the money. Creamy texture on the palate with notes of butter, pineapple and hints of apple. For those of you who drink LaCrema, but don’t want to spend that kind of money when you are buying several bottles, this may do the trick.
Non-Vintage Domaine Lingut-Martin Pet Nat Gamay (Vin de France)… $18.
This baby really caught my attention and it’s under twenty bucks! Sparkling Gamay would be a perfect match with the Thanksgiving meal. I love bubbles with the bird. Notes of cherries and red plums with a little orange creamsicle in the background. Lively acidity lends itself well to food. You know you have to cut through some of that fatty food and butter that will be on the table. It’s also a Pet Nat which could liven up the table conversation. Do your homework.
2022 Saint Dominique Roussanne (Rhone Valley, France)… $15.
This is an unbelievable value from France. Saint Dominique will be on my table on Thanksgiving Day. Great balance of acidity and fruit. It has what I consider the perfect flavor profile to go with all the dishes. I’ve served it with guests on a few occasions and it is a hit every time. If you are not familiar with Roussanne, start here.
2022 Jones Of Washington Riesling (Washington)… $15.
Riesling always works with turkey dinner. I recently discovered this gem and I’m going with it. Nice apricot and mango notes balanced by well-integrated acidity. It is not what I would call a really sweet Riesling, but it does have some sweetness to it, which is what you need to make the match.
2020 San Marzano Il Pumo Primitivo (Salento, Italy)… $13.
Zinfandel (or as they call it in Italy…Primitivo) is recommended for Turkey Day by a lot of wine folks. I’ve gotten away from it because of the higher alcohol content. However, this little gem rolls in at 13.5% abv and it’s really tasty. All the things you look for in a Zinfandel without being hot. Currant notes, a touch of spice and black raspberry. All good flavors for the meal.
I hope this list gets you started on the right path for wine pairing with your Thanksgiving meal. If you live in my area, you know where to find me. I’m at your disposal. Have a great Thanksgiving.
Stan The Wine Man