The Best Wines for Thanksgiving 2018 - The Classics!
A guide to the classic wine pairings for the Thanksgiving feast!
Thanksgiving is all about family and tradition, and what is wrong with tradition? These amazing wines have long been the perfect pairing to this annual feast, and with good reason! We also believe that as an American holiday, it only makes sense that we talk about some real American classics when it comes to wine.
California Pinot Noir
Pinot noir seems like it was made for poultry dinners, whether it be turkey, chicken, or Cornish hen. Pinot noir’s light body makes it a perfect accompaniment for the sweet and savory turkey meat whether you prefer white or dark. If you are looking for something lush and juicy that is full of ripe fruit flavors like dark cherries with some vanilla to round it all out then your go to is going to be Californian pinot noir, especially from classic winemakers like Paul Hobbs. There are some great California pinot’s for the minimalist, or natty wine drinkers as well from Clos Saron, Brea, POE, and Arnot Roberts.
Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir
For me the Banshee pinot is the quintessential entry level California pinot noir. The goal of Banshee wines was to make a pinot from California that was delicious, accessible, and didnt suck. I say they succeeded. It still packs the darker fruit flavors you expect in a California pinot without being oaked over the top.
Brea Wine Co. Central Coast Pinot Noir
Made by Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars, the Brea Central Coast pinot noir is one of the most exciting red wines to come out of California. A minimalist approach to winemaking gives us a lighter wine, but still rich in fruit flavors with a luscious smoothness that makes everything feel so damn good.
Drew The Fog Eater Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
How could I go through a list of California pinot and not include something from the exceptional cool climates of the Alexander Valley? The Fog Eater combines some of the best vineyards this region has to offer into a decadent wine that combines red fruits, spices, and earthy mushroom tones.
Oregon Pinot Noir
Those looking for lighter, crisper pinot noir should look for anything from Oregon, where the cooler climate seems to make these wines elegant and reserved. Lighter red fruits and some vegetal notes like red peppers come through on a wave of bright acidity that is refreshing. A perfect balance for your hearty Thanksgiving meal, and seconds then.
Minimus Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Minimus is the “entry level” brand of Oregon’s Craft Wine Company, but this is no mere entry level pinot noir. The Willamette Valley is Oregon’s most recognizable pinot region, and in this we have a wine that is unmistakably Oregonian. Light red fruits combine with dusty tannins and earthy tones. Its natural and funky, but also a classic and classy wine that will delight everybody at the table.
Kelley Fox Wines
To be honest I think all of Kelley Fox’s pinot noir wines are amazing as so many Oregon pinots are. What makes them so awesome are their true expressions of the terroir and cool climate of Oregon. If you love strawberries you will find an abundance of aromas and flavors in some of her wines, but with a down to earth complexity and seriousness that comes from surprising floral aromas and spices. You can easily ball out on her exceptional Maresh Vineyards Red Barn Blocks pinot noir which is great for impressing even the stuffiest of in-laws (classy label too!) But if you want bang for your buck or just dont have the budget then the Mirabai pinot noir is an uncompromising take on the entire Maresh Vineyard.
Speaking of balling out, there may just be no greater pinot noir in Oregon than Antica Terra. The Pinot noir coming from this winery is battling the elements to produce amazing wines. The Botanica is phenomenal, as if we are finally experienceing “Grand Cru” level wines in the United States.
Lets be honest, some folks are going to want white wine at Thanksgiving. You might get the “but its white meat so we should have white wine” argument a hundred times but fear not! There are some incredible wines that will help transcend your meal. Yes, a lot of California chardonnay is oaky and buttery as hell, those chardonnays do not have a place on our list. Your aunt and uncle may love Cakebread and your basic cousin can stick to her Kendall Jackson. We are talking about minimal oak, if any. Something full bodied and rich, but also crisp, bright, zesty and refreshing. Those are the real awesome California chardonnays.
The real awesome California chardonnays we are drinking
Sandhi Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay
You know the awesome sommelier from the documentary Somm who puts all the youngsters in their place? That would be Raj Parr, maybe the greatest sommelier alive. Nowadays one of his projects is Sandhi, focusing on his favorite classic grapes (pinot noir and chardonnay, and yes their pinot is also awesome.) The Sandhi Sta. Rita Hills chardonnay has everything you want, creamy almonds, racy lemons, and a kind of saline seashell thing going on right at the end. An awesome wine!
Matthiason Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
White peaches, almonds, and oyster shells. These are the hallmarks of the Matthiason Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. This wine is as acidic as a chardonnay can be, and is a crazy good, decadent, and opulent wine.
New York Riesling
Riesling is kind of an outlier for Thanksgiving meals, but depending on what you get you could have a great accompaniment to any turkey meal and its sides. You could go with a dry riesling and have a light and refreshing drink that is crisp and racy to wash down your second plate, or you could have something that is off-dry (read: just a little sweet). Rieslings from New York are coming into their own right now, and the state has the best climate for this grape. They make for some elegant, refined, fresh wines that bring out the wine geek in all of us with powerful combinations of sharp citrus and tropical fruits.
Delightfully Geeky New York Rieslings We Are In to
Hermann J. Wiemer Rieslings
If you want to get a great understanding for what great riesling can be like comeing from New York then you need to get into some Herman J. Wiemer rieslings. They happen to be one of the OGs of American riesling and they have a wine to suit every taste, need, and palette. Their dry rieslings are sought after by even the most serious wine geek, while their off-dry and late harvest wines are the guilty pleasure of every wine nerd who says they despise sweet wine.
Liten Buffel are a seriously cool winery from a seriously cool climate. Hailing from the Niagra Escarpment AVA, these hip winemakers are the toast of American wine hipsters in the north east. Their rieslings are as fresh as they are funky, some with a bit of skin contact and botyritis. Liten Buffel are taking riesling to amazing new places as only a forward thinking, modern American winery can.
We hope this got your mind going and inspired you to grab some tasty American treats for Thanksgiving. It is an American holiday after all! This is just a small selection of some of our favorites, there are hundreds of amazing wineries making kick ass wine, and we hope you find one that is going to be dear to your heart even after all the turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes are all gone. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Vynl!