The best wines for Thanksgiving

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While each family celebrates Thanksgiving in their own way, 2020 has us all changing up our plans entirely. And yet, if there’s one thing oenophiles can agree upon this Thanksgiving, it is that one of the most essential part of the holiday feast is choosing the right wines. 

Here are a selection of bottles ideal for food pairings with a cornucopia of traditional and non-traditional dishes.

If there’s one thing oenophiles can agree upon at Thanksgiving, it’s that one of the most essential parts of the holiday feast is choosing the right wines.
Courtesy of Trombella, McBride Sisters, Cakebread Cellars, Château Peyrassol, Wolffer Estate, Escudo Rojo

Sparkling wines

McBride Sisters: Launched in 2005, McBride Sisters has grown to what the female-founded winery says is the largest Black-owned wine company in the United States. Their Black Girl Magic NV New Zealand Sparkling Brut offers a foamy mousse mouthfeel with citrus and floral notes. On the nose, pear and candied lemon unite with soft gardenia. A blend of 91% Chardonnay and 9% Pinot Gris grapes, this smooth bottle of bubbles can be enjoyed on its own or with fruit and cheese. SRP: $25.

White wines

Baileyana Wines: The 2017 Zocker Grüner Veltliner 2017 from the Edna Valley, south of San Luis Obispo on the central coast of California, is a food-friendly option, ideal to pair with any Thanksgiving course, from appetizers to main meal and all the way to the dessert. Grüner Veltliner is a unique white grape in the United States, originating from Austria. Bright and energetic, the white wine has aromas of lemon and lime on the nose, and flavors of ripe melon and fruit cocktail. SRP: $20.

Trombetta Wines: Erica Stancliff, owner and winemaker for her family’s Trombetta Family Wines, as well as president of the Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance, has leaned on her network and leadership skills to bring the wine industry community together and support those impacted by the devastating 2020 California wildfires. This Thanksgiving, the winery’s 2018 Gap’s Crown Vineyard Chardonnay is a prime choice for food pairings, with aromas of cream, vanilla, tropical fruits, fresh melon, and hints of baking spice. Its initial fruity taste, creamy minerality on the palate, and a voluminous finish make this wine a crowd-pleaser. SRP: $65.

Rosé wines

Château Peyrassol: Rosé can have a wide spectrum of flavor; it can be complex, fresh, and bold. And quality rosé is an affordable and flexible option for holiday festivities; it’s approachable for wine novices and the nuances will appeal to connoisseurs as well. This rosé is deceptively pale in hue—with a nose of bright citrus, as well as lush ripe peach, apricot, and blossom along with a dense palate and full body—and offers an experience that can be difficult to find in other styles. The delicate freshness and deceptively full body in a wine such as the Château Peyrassol AOP Côtes de Provence rosé can pair with a variety of dishes from seafood, vegetables, or poultry, including one of the most beloved dishes this time of year: turkey. SRP: $28.

Rumor: Produced and bottled in Côtes de Provence, France, Rumor’s new 2019 vintage is an easy-drinking blend of Grenache, Cinsault, and Syrah grapes. The blush-hued wine features fruit and sharp citrus aromas, with a crisp and dry well-rounded finish. Available nationwide in the U.S., Rumor’s rosé bottles are also served at some of the most elite hot spots in the country, from the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles to the Setai Hotel in Miami. Thus, this is a perfectly festive option bringing a little bit of star power to your holiday feast. SRP: $35.

Red wines

Cakebread Cellars: Deep and luxurious, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon features aromas of ripe boysenberry, dark cherry, and cassis, coupled with scents of sweet oak and herbal spice, introduce plush, deeply concentrated, black fruit flavors bolstered by bright acidity and well-structured tannins. This full and bold wine will warm you up on any winter night and makes a perfect pair to a hearty holiday dinner. SRP: $77.

Château Lassègue: Expect a wine with a brilliant color and pure aromatics that leap out from the glass, offering a panoply of fresh red fruit, and evoking notes of rose and violet. On the palate, the 2017 Lassègue Saint-Émilion Grand Cru is dense and round with silky tannins. There is a fine complexity of spices and ripe fruits that extends into a long and balanced finish. This vintage exudes freshness and refined minerality. SRP: $60.

Escudo Rojo: Looking at the colder months approaching, medium to fuller bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignons and Syrahs tend to be enjoyed more with hearty meat dishes than other varietals. The Chilean winery’s 2018 Gran Reserva is a blend of four grapes produced in the Maipo Valley region: Cabernet Sauvignon (40%), Carmenere (38%), Cabernet Franc (2%), and Syrah (20%)—altogether forming a full body and density with a touch of spice. The powerful ripe red fruit aromas can be detected in this wine with the nose gaining in complexity from aeration. Ideal food pairings include glazed duck breast with spices or braised lamb shoulder with Sichuan sauce. SRP: $22.

Tolenas Winery: For award-winning winemaker Lisa Howard, wine and family are synonymous; her parents, Steve and Linda Tenbrink, ran a fruit stand in Suisun Valley, Calif., and eventually started their own wine label, Tenbrink Vineyards and Winery. After 10 years of being an agricultural engineer in Arizona, Howard’s Suisun Valley roots pulled her back home; she started her own label, Tolenas, with her husband Cliff. This winter, Tolenas is offering a new 2020 Port, a young, 100% Zinfandel ruby port harvested from dry-farmed, head-pruned vines. Lighter and fruitier than traditional ruby ports, this Port appeals to a broader demographic of wine drinkers and is a great bottle to finish the evening with after a holiday meal. SRP: $TK.

Une Femme Wines: The wine brand brought to life by former Riddler and Champagne Bar owner Jen Pelka, is debuting its third wine, “The Piquette,” a rare 2020 vintage from Sonoma Mountain, which is the brand’s first still red wine and its first step into the natural wine category. Pelka and her brother and co-founder, Zach, made this wine to give back to those affected by the wildfires that ravaged Northern California in August and September. Pelka’s family lost their cabin in Healdsburg, Calif. in the LNU Lightning Fires, and the wine brand wanted to focus on saving the agricultural product that would have otherwise been disposed of by purchasing grapes from a family that would have otherwise lost their crop from the fires. A portion of proceeds from The Piquette will be donated to TreeSisters, a nonprofit organization created in direct response to climate change and women empowerment. SRP: $25.

Wölffer Estate Vineyard: Located on the East End of Long Island, N.Y., Wölffer has become famous for its rosé wines and ciders, but do not overlook the winery’s premium bottles. The estate is preparing a limited release of its flagship wine, marking the 13th year in production. The first Christian’s Cuvée was created during the 2000 vintage, which debuted in 2004. The 2017 Christian’s Cuvée Merlot was named in honor of the estate’s “larger than life” founder Christian Wölffer, and the winery touts it to be the first $100 bottle of wine produced by a winery on the East Coast. The 2017 growing season was exceptional, being a warm year with a good amount of rainfall to fully ripen the fruit and maintain a nice acidity. The finished product is full of notes of lush fruit and licorice, fine leather aromas, and great concentration of ripe soft tannins and well-integrated oak. This Merlot can be aged and be enjoyed for many years to come. SRP: $100.

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