Thanksgiving Wine Guide 2013

Canned cranberry sauce or make it from scratch - we say have both

Wine and Thanksgiving are a quintessential pairing. This festive Holiday that began in 1863 - when it was instituted by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War - has been celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November every year since. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the harvest and the hearth, a time to be thankful for the blessings we have in our lives and a time to remember good times and loved ones from the past. Nothing enhances this occasion like great food and great wine (and maybe some football). This is our guide to Thanksgiving 2013. 

Thanksgiving Wines

There are two wines that traditionally go well with Thanksgiving - Pinot Noir (red) and Riesling (white). These wines tend to be perfect for Thanksgiving because although the meal is heavy, the foods tend to be lighter in terms of flavor and sauces. The holiday, after all, evokes the flavors and dishes of early American colonists and is very traditional in nature (we've included some of our favorite recipes in the next section of this blog post). Both Pinot Noir and Riesling are lighter bodied, fruit-forward wines that can be enjoyed with a variety of foods and are perfect for enjoying earlier in the day. They won't overpower the meal and serve as a great pairing with Turkey to boot. Check out part II of this post: 3 non-traditional Thanksgiving recipes 

Beajoulais Nouveau is another wine that many Americans have adopted as part of their Thanksgiving celebration. Beaujolais Nouveau is a very young wine made from the Gamay grape in France and is actually the first wine created from this year's harvest. Beaujolais Nouveau undergoes virtually no aging - either in the bottle or in barrels. This wine is very fruity and light in nature and has become a Thanksgiving favorite moreso because it's released every year in November than because it's a traditional pairing for Thanksgiving. This wine shows up in stores this time of year because it has literally just finished fermentation. However, the light, fresh, and fruity nature of this wine make it great for Thanksgiving - serve it slightly chilled.

Winestyr's Thanksgiving wine selections:

Red: Lucas and Lewellen 2009 Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara - This fruit-forward Pinot Noir is regularly $20/bottle but is currently on special for $13/bottle. This is the perfect wine for Thanksgiving and what my family will be drinking this year. Bright fruit and some earthy tones and a silky smooth finish make this a perfect pairing with your Thanksgiving meal. $13/bottle.

White: Lucas and Lewellen 2010 Chenin Blanc from Santa Barbara - This Chenin Blanc is actually quite similar to Riesling due to the hint of sweetness and easydrinking nature. Chenin Blanc is actually a grape traditional to some of the best dry, semi-dry, and semi-sweet white wines produced in France - specifically Vouvray. With good acidity and crisp fruit flavors, this will be a crowd-pleaser. $20/bottle.

White: Lucas and Lewellen 2011 Viognier from Santa Barbara - Another traditional French grape, this wine is more floral and less crisp than the Chenin Blanc but will also be a crowdpleaser. This wine is a great alternative to both Sauvignon Blanc (due to it's floral nature) and also Chardonnay (due the fuller body) and pairs perfectly with Thanksgiving foods and festivities. $19/bottle.

Vineyard-to-table: we are proud to announce the addition of one of Michigan's best and smallest wineries to the Winestyr marketplace. Old Shore Vineyards produces exceptional Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from their estate vineyard in Michigan's Lake Michigan Shore AVA. These are truly world-class wines being produced in Michigan and if you're lucky enough to live in California, Missouri, Michigan, or Illinois, they will ship these wines right to your door just in time for Thanksgiving.  We suggest the following:

Red: Old Shore 2011 Refuge Pinot Noir from Michigan - you will be stunned by the quality of this wine if you've never given Michigan wine a fair shake. With good fruit, acid, and earth, this wine is reminiscent of the great red wines of Burgundy or Pinot Noir from Oregon due to it's restraint and finesse. $24/bottle.

White: Old Shore 2011 Turkey Nest Pinot Gris - This is the perfect Thanksgiving white wine all the way down to the name (and the stroy behind it). The name "Turkey Nest" came from the fact that a wild Turkey had created a nest in the rows of Pinot Gris at Old Shore Vineyards. This wine is dry and crisp with great minerality - a truly great wine and unique to Michigan. $15/bottle.

Try these no-frills wines because they will enhance your Thanksgiving and make for a great story at your table this year - or bring them with you as a gift to the host (or hostess). After all, Thanksgiving is a time to spend with the ones we love most and that's the perfect time to open a bottle of craft wine. Cheers and have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!  Again, be sure to check out part II of this post: 3 non-traditional Thanksgiving recipes

Bob Wilson, CSW



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