Chill Out About Thanksgiving Wine

Why do so many people make holiday wine so complicated?
Nov 19, 2014

When I was a greenhorn wine writer, I believed there was a perfect wine for Thanksgiving. It was just a matter of finding the right one, right? One year, I uncorked 20 carefully selected bottles with a few friends and laid out a full spread—roast turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, the whole shebang.

The Chardonnay complemented the turkey but clashed with the stuffing. The Gewürztraminer was great with the bird and the sweet potatoes but not the cranberries. I thought the dry rosé was the best choice but there was little enthusiasm from the others. In the end, Beaujolais and the Pinot Noir fared best all around but were less than ideal.

My conclusion? Wine people overthink Thanksgiving.

Just chill.

My advice is to put out a spread of wine, a bottle of this and that, so friends and family can experiment themselves as they eat. Below are a few of my current favorites worth seeking out. subscribers can read more detailed reviews by clicking on the links. Also, look for my colleague Alison Napjus' report on 2014 Beaujolais Nouveau later this week.

What are you planning to open on Thanksgiving?

Argyle Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2012 (90 points, $27)
Lithe and polished with tea leaf–accented cherry flavors.

Charles Smith Riesling Columbia Valley Kung Fu Girl Evergreen 2013 (91, $12)
Lots of zing and nectarine and peach flavors.

Fel Pinot Gris Anderson Valley 2013 ($25)
A new label and name for Mendocino favorite, Breggo. A sleek and classy Alsace-style white.

Girard Zinfandel Napa Valley Old Vine 2012 (90, $24)
Jammy with black cherry but light on its feet.

Groundwork Grenache Central Coast 2012 (87, $20)
Fruit-forward and zesty with raspberry.

Hess Select Pinot Noir Central Coast 2012 (88, $20)
A value Pinot with surprising style and guts for the price.

Rombauer Chardonnay Carneros 2012 (92, $34)
A bold California style for those who like their wine to have big flavors like the turkey dinner itself.

Trimbach Gewürztraminer Alsace 2012 (90, $26)
Well-cut, with dried apricot and a smoky minerality.

Holidays / Celebrations Thanksgiving

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