Thanksgiving is the great American holiday of feasting and fellowship for the pure purpose of nourishing the commonweal.
Rarely are grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and kids, friends and neighbors altogether seated around the table.
Thanksgiving gives license to splash out on wine of a higher order –but these must still compliment the occasion, the crowd, and so many flavors and textures.
Whether the meal may be the traditional roast turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet yams, stuffing and cranberries, or instead the historic wild fowl, venison, and corn porridge, we are all excited to find wines to mark having everyone together. Curious what wines are to set our tables? Here is a taste of those which we at The Wine Company plan to enjoy this season.
A L L Y
Each year we go to my mom’s where she makes all the traditional Thanksgiving dishes from scratch. While I’d like to help, she doesn’t let me lift a finger so I am responsible for the wine. This year we’re definitely having the Cleto Chiarli Brut de Noir Rosé for bubbles because they’re tasty on their own but can go around the table no problem. As I’m a total fan of Viognier at Thanksgiving, we’re treating ourselves to Guigal La Doriane Condrieu because it is rich and fragrant and perfect for the holiday table. Then not because it pairs especially well but because I just love it and cannot get enough of it: the Château Laulerie Malbec.
L A R R Y
Few would accuse me of being “stodgy”, clothes maybe but not concerning wine. Alas, the very fruit of my loins has flung, verily I say to you flung this at my feet. My sons rebel at my axiomatic “Thanksgiving wines must be American”. They will be most delighted that I have chosen for this year’s classic Turkey with chestnut stuffing and scalloped corn and oysters a pinot noir and gamay blend. Ahh, brilliant you say, a Passetoutgrain. Nope, even more brilliant. Marchesi Pancrazi San Donato IGT, an Italian blend that marries pinot noir spice and structure to the serious side of gamay, nearly pinot but fleshier.
J U L I E
This year for Thanksgiving, I am going to hunker down and spend it with two people who are closest to me in life, hopefully looking out the windows at a fluffy white blanket of snow this year! My own blissful little capsule. We will enjoy a traditional feast of pasture raised turkey from Wild Acres in Pequot, mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, pan roasted Brussels sprouts, and homemade cranberry sauce. Skip the dessert! And for the wine…..I will need something uplifting, joyous, and maybe a little cerebral. It has to be sparkling. It has to be versatile. Marc Hebrart Blanc de Blancs it will be.
W I L
My mother is the greatest Champagne enthusiast in my life, and given my great appreciation for all she has put up with from me over the years it seems only just that we start out with a particularly lovely bottle of Champagne. Pierre Gimonnet Special Club will kick off the festivities this year. Happily this is a wine which goes equally well with both cheese straws and whatever football is on at the moment. Moving to the table we’ll open a bottle of Domaine de FA Beaujolais, because it is the perfect transition wine, everyone should be drinking more Beaujolais, and I just kinda love it. As we settle into the home stretch it seems appropriate that we move to an American wine for the quintessential American holiday. I think of David Lett as a truly brave pioneer in the model of the Pilgrims; boldly going where no one had gone before in first planting Pinot Noir in Oregon. As an homage to him and because I adore the wines we’ll finish up with a bottle of Eyrie Pinot Noir. I’ll bring a 2014 home for the occasion, but if the dinner is going as well as I expect it will be we might also grab a last bottle of 2005 from the basement. Cheers!
R O B B
Our Thanksgiving gathering is of the traditional sort: Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. To me, nothing complements this meal like chardonnay and pinot noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. A family-owned and operated winery, Bethel Heights Estate Chardonnay and Estate Pinot Noir will be in our glasses as we celebrate with family and friends.
It’s many layers work beautifully with the food on that table and it keeps reminding you how perfectly it fits. Lang & Reed is just juicy enough to be a refreshing red with my turkey but serious enough for a special occasion.
J E F F
Because of the wide variety of flavors, textures and personalities on and around the Thanksgiving table I selfishly like to reach for wines that I simply love to drink. This year you’ll find Daniel Barraud Mâcon Chaintré 2014 for its Maconic purity that doesn’t break the bank as well as the always dependable St. Innocent Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir for its lightness and weight—you heard me.
We will start out the afternoon with the Paetra Riesling and miscellaneous Rosé while my brothers-in-law drink cheap beer.
When the turkey is ready for consumption, Failla Pinot Noir is in order.
This Thanksgiving, I will be enjoying Racauderie Vouvray Brut (Méthode Traditionelle) because sparkling wine is food wine, too!
Vouvray already is a no-brainer on the Thanksgiving table…adding a little sparkle makes it that much more enjoyable in my opinion!
N O R D Y
Amy, her mom, and I get up early Thursday AM in Faribault and prepare all the main dishes for the 2:00 meal. We will be enjoying Bloody Marys during this process. Then we go in town to Grandpa Al’s to meet other family and play pull tabs and perhaps another cocktail. I will bring Pedroncelli Zin Rosé, Pedroncelli Pinot Noir and Dom Diogo Azal to enjoy with our holiday meal. We all will be thinking of our Tim sitting in Egypt away from his family.
N I C H O L A S
To match up with all the varied dishes that grace the holiday and to live up to the rarity of gathering all the family together Champagne is essential. This year Drappier Brut Rosé will be our Champagne. A rosé de saignée of Pinot Noir from the Côte des Bar in the Aube in the south of Champagne. Just north of Chablis but with similar Kimmeridgian soils, these bring out the flex and musculature of Pinot Noir. Add a little tannic grip and savory spice from skin contact during saignée and its substantive fruit works well with everything
Chiarli Vecchia Modena– This will always be a staple at my Thanksgiving dinner. I like it because it drinks similar to a rose (savory fruit yet distinctly dry on the finish) and pairs well with everything on the table. This wine is also a total crowd pleaser and I always enjoy the reactions of the guests the first time they try it, it really grabs your attention in a great way. Plus it’s one of my wife’s favorite things to drink and I say “Baby wants, baby gets”
McDuck Red– Of course duck and turkey go well together. A Cab Franc based wine that is just fun to drink no matter what the occasion. It is extremely versatile with food and has a great punch of fruit with acidity adding a nice background from beginning to end. I won’t be in MN for this holiday, so it’s nice to have a little MN connection at the table.
Chateau Montelena Chardonnay– Phil Colich cultivated my love of California Chardonnay. As much as I’ve discovered and fallen in love with different varietals and even cooler climate Chardonnay I still like to relax with some good old California Chardonnay. Draw the shades, pour a glass, and turn up the Olivia Newton-John.
Arnoux Cremant de Bourgogne!
I love how the wine looks in the glass, I love the fresh bright creaminess and I love the festive effervescence.
I can’t think of one item on our Thanksgiving table that this delicious bubbly won’t enhance :-)
J I M
Part of the fun is introducing the family to new experiences in wine. Starting off as we gather, a sparkling has become the go to Thanksgiving kick off. This year I am introducing the family to an unbelievable Method Traditional value sparkler the Domaine de la Racauderie Vouvray Brut. This beauty is endearing and easy to enjoy, and when some in the family reach for the OJ I won’t die a little inside.
What better for the main course then to share wines with the family from the extended Wine Company family? Both choices bring new world terrior with the touch of old world souls originating from Minnesota. The Paetra Riesling from Oregon shows the passion and ability of Bill Hooper who studied and Graduated from the wine program in Germany and brought all of that knowledge and passion back to Oregon where he is making some of the most interesting and tasty Riesling around. Can’t wait to see the look on the families faces as they realize what Riesling can be.
The Cabernet Franc from Gamling and McDuck is the result of Gabrielle Schaffer and Adam McClary. This Minnesota pair have souls based in the Loire and bring that old world sensibility to Napa, offering this sultry, elegant and balanced wine that will grace our table beautifully.
Finally, I have the need to finish the ultimate family day in front of the TV with a small slice of each of the pecan, pumpkin and apple pies. Boy what will work with that trio. I am looking forward to a snit of Warre’s Otima 10 year to tie all of these flavors together and send me off into a blissful food/football coma.
T O M
This Thanksgiving I will definitely be drinking Arnoux Cremant which is both the best way to start a party with family and will be lovely with the meal. Then I will probably move on to Chiarli Vecchia Modena because why wouldn’t I want the liquid expression of the cranberries on the table? Melville Estate Pinot Noir anyone? Why yes I think I will! And don’t bother with pumpkin pie when Warre’s Otima 10 year is in tipping distance. What a lovely and well lubricated Thanksgiving it will be. Cheers.
P A U L
Being an American holiday I generally focus on American wine. An exception is bubbles which will be French for serving as our allies in the War of Independence and because they make the best sparkling in the world. Arnoux Crémant de Bourgogne is deep and expressive with a leesy yeasty charm seldom found for such a fabulous value.
From Willamette Valley, Paetra Riesling is one of the best domestic Rieslings made in miniscule quantities and serves as a dry but not too dry white. For more body and the depth of pear and apple but without any of the oak so often found on traditional Chardonnay I will also serve St Innocent Pinot Blanc.
As I enjoy red wine with the seasonal bird, traditional stuffing and giblet gravy. The recently arrived Regnié by le Domaine des Braves has everything to offer. It is supple, tender, and juicy with enough depth to stand up to everything. And as my American counterpoint Ponzi Pinot Noir combines elegant charm of Burgundy with the depth of fruit only found in Oregon.
J E F F
For the love of GrüVe and because the Thanksgiving holiday is all about the more the merrier I will serve up liter bottles of snappy Ecker Grüner Veltliner. Because bubbles always bring people together and play-well-with-others in terms of the traditional fare my family cooks up, I am popping Baumard Crémant de Loire –sustainably farmed Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc uniting both white and red grapes in a traditionally made, bottle fermented sparkling wine with plenty of character for everything on the table.
S H E I L A
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times! Each and every year since it first arrived in Minnesota it has been my choice for the great American holiday: I’m having Gamling and McDuck Chenin Blanc. The bright acidity is perfect with Turkey Gravy! There’s a beautiful mouthfeel and weight to the wine which stands up nicely to the turkey. I also feel thankful to support my friends in California.
M I K E
Racauderie Vouvray Brut is a sparkling Chenin Blanc from the Loire that is snappy, crisp and delicious – but don’t just serve it for starters. It will pair well and carry throughout your entire Thanksgiving meal! Durdilly Beaujolais is incredibly flexible when pairing with food, which makes it a fantastic option for Thanksgiving. Light in body and low in tannin, it will play well with a variety of dishes including cranberries and Brussels sprouts.
I will be raiding my cellar for a bottle of 2011 Bethel Heights Estate Pinot Noir for myself.
H A P P Y – T H A N K S G I V I N G
From all of your friends at The Wine Company