Thanksgiving is by nature a jumble of both dishes and people and the bigger the crowd around the table, which should be heaving with dishes from family and friends, the better. This is why one needs a stable of wine offerings to meet the moment in all of its tasty chaos. Some love a spicy red, others a racy white. This is a tasted, vetted and crowd-approved list of wines in every price point that will make everyone happy at your gathering this year.
Dominio de la Vega Reserve Especial Cava, 2018: Absolutely delicious, and one of the best deals in Cava, this elegant refined sparkling is made with Macabeo and Chardonnay and drinks like a world-class sparkler. Complex with fine bubbles and notes of peach, lemon zest and brioche. Buy several bottles as it will go quickly. $19.99 at K&L Wine Merchant
Cuvage Rose Brut Nebbiolo d’Alba, 2019: Delicate pale pink bubbly made from 100% Nebbiolo grapes from vineyards located in the Barolo area. The nose shows wild strawberries and rose petal notes along with notes of buttered toasty bread which lend richness to the texture. Elegant, structured, and balanced, a really cool sparkling expression from Italy’s Piemonte. $38 on WineSearcher
California, Texas, Washington & Oregon –
Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon 2018: Plush and delightful on the palate with silky tannins and that just-right balance of fruit and spice. Jordan’s Cabernet Sauvignon has a cult following because it brings black cherry balanced deliciousness to the palate along with medium body and nice structure, all at a modest alcohol percentage which makes it easy to pour an extra glass or two to wash down the roasted bird on Thanksgiving. $61 on Wine.com
Malene by Chamisal Estate Rosé of Grenache, 2022: A rose wine is always a great play for Thanksgiving dinner. It has the minerality and freshness to stand up to sweet potatoes but also the texture and weight to hold its own with turkey. The wild strawberry elegance of this expression gets a nice lift of salinity on the palate. Yum $45
Et Fille Rose of Pinot Noir, 2022: A marvelously aromatic and lively rose wine made from single vineyard fruit in Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills. Winemaker Jessica Mozeico kept the focus on lifted aromatics like strawberry and orange peel and on bright, mouth-watering structure. $32
Seven Hills Winery Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2021: This wine is one of the world’s super deals, a world-class Cabernet Sauvignon that delivers on ripe decadent red and black fruit notes as well as structure and balance. Seven Hills has been crafting wine in Washington state for more than 30 years and is one of the founding estates of Walla Walla Valley. They know a thing or two, so consider this a nice alternative to a pricey Napa expression. Pairs well with holiday side dish staples like sautéed wild mushrooms or mushroom gratin. $35
CL Butaud Tempranillo, Texas, 2020: Only 250 cases exist of this unctuous and silky red wine from the Texas High Plains—so you’ll do best to order this one directly from the winery. Winemaker Randy Hester’s 100% tempranillo is the full expression of what Texas fruit can do. It has elegance and finesse tempered with bold dark red fruits and nicely integrated tannins. Your guests will love this wine’s complex, full-bodied deliciousness. $54
Ponzi Pinot Gris, Oregon, 2022: Pinot Gris is a rather unsung Oregon specialty that is worth exploring as an alternative to your usual white wine options. This expression shows aromas of pear laced with a bit of spice and juicy tropical notes. Pretty and elegant, it is a refreshing white suitable for the start of the meal. $24
Bryn Mawr Vineyards Tempranillo, Oregon, 2019: A very cool wine from a pinot noir focused appellation. This is one of the few, if only, Willamette Valley wineries that grows Tempranillo as well as Dolcetto at their estate. This one shows off with ripe black cherry notes, a hint of spice and a marvelously silky palate – thanks to a year of bottle aging before release. It’s only 12% alcohol so go ahead and give the aunties another glass or two.
Lucy Gamay Noir, 2022: Winemaker Jeff Pisoni just debuted this wine this year and it’s a delight. Fresh and juicy on the palate with lovely notes of raspberry and cherry, this is a medium-bodied red that will taste delicious throughout the meal. Interestingly, a portion of the wine was aged in a vintage California redwood tank. The wine was finished in neutral French oak for 8 months – just an exciting offering from Santa Lucia Highlands. $30
Pali Wine Co. Riviera Pinot Noir, 2021: Delicate notes of raspberry and cherry with an earthy black tea twist on the finish. A lovely, light-bodied sipper at a great price. $25.99 on wine.com
The Calling Chardonnay, Charles Heintz Vineyard, Russian River Valley, 2021: Rich, silky and elegant with a ripe tropicality and notes of lemon cream. Beautifully balanced, the wine is made from a vineyard just seven miles from the Pacific Ocean; the nice cooling influences create elegant fruit and a wine with blockbuster flavors. $70
A Steal of a Deal from South Africa – Simonsig Chenin Blanc, 2022: Stellenbosch South Africa is home to some of the world’s loveliest expressions of Chenin Blanc—a wine that makes a great alternative to Chardonnay at a nice price. This one is silky and rich on the palate with tropical fruit notes and a savory, refreshing finish. $14.99
A Cool Italian White – Il Conte Villa Pradone Navicchio Offida Pecorino, 2022: Sauvignon Blanc lovers will appreciate this under-the-radar Italian white. Crafted from 100% pecorino (the grape, not the cheese), it has a lively palate and flavor profile with ample tropicality tempered with juiciness and a touch of spice. Aged for 8 months in concrete, it’s perfect for sipping throughout the meal.
Ruffino Romitorio di Santedame Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, 2016: Made with Sangiovese and Colorino, this delicious red brims with black cherry, tobacco and warm spices. It’s a full-bodied wine with a marvelous savory edge. Gran Selezione is the highest classification in Chianti and this wine stands up to the designation. Serve it with roasted turkey and any other roasted meat. $70
Biondi-Santi, Rosso di Montalcino, 2020: This is the legendary Biondi-Santi’s rosso category red wine—which means it is released sooner, more youthful and less extracted than the longer-aged Brunellos (all of which are made of Sangiovese). This world-class offering is made with a selection of estate fruit and meant to be opened and enjoyed (or aged for a few years). It offers ripe notes of sour cherry laced with earthiness of dried herbs. Integrated tannins and a long, savory finish make it absolutely ideal with food, especially roasted meats. $120
Can Blau Red Blend, 2019: This plush blend of Garnacha, Cariñena (Carignan), and Syrah is a terrific value at $17.99. The palate delivers layers of ripe black cherry, warm spice and plum. The finish is silky and pleasing with fine tannins and nice structure. Perfect for roasted turkey.
Bodegas Benjamin de Rothschild & Vega Sicilia Macan Clasico Rioja, 2019: The partnership between Rothschild and Vega Sicilia brings Bordeaux-like sensibilities to this wine, making this 100% tempranillo a truly elegant expression of Rioja. The silky tannins and palate of dried cherry, plum and warm spices unfold into a nice structure. Age it a bit or open now, and be prepared to share – the flavor profile is seriously pleasing and rich.
Barton & Guestier Cotes du Roussillon Villages, 2021: A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan, this wine is a ‘plays-well-with-others’ option that guests will enjoy and that will pair well with just about any dish that lands on the Thanksgiving table. The blend delivers ripe but gentle red fruit tempered with a nice bold edge of wild herbs and spice.
Château de Nalys – Saintes Pierres de Nalys Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2019: Brimming with bold, ripe red fruits, notes of spice and minerality, this is a bold red that shows marvelous freshness as well. Generous and rich, it will work wonderfully with turkey or a sausage-based stuffing. A great option for your full-bodied red lovers. $70
How about some Sherry for dessert?
The Tio Pepe Fino en Rama 2023 is a fresh, lively sipper with notes of toasted almonds, lemon and dried herbs. Made with minimal intervention, this is a great expression at a great price. $18.99