Let’s face it. This Thanksgiving, we need a drink like we’ve never needed one before. While this wine list isn’t a guarantee you’ll be able to stomach your family’s politics or even their cooking, our suggestions will ensure that you won’t show up empty-handed and looking like a turkey. These five wines are easy, palate pleasing, meld well with typical Thanksgiving dishes, and won’t break the bank. (They can all be found easily at most local liquor stores.)
It might surprise you to know that the country’s best sparkling wine comes from our southern neighbor, New Mexico. As it turns out, the arid climates of winery Truth or Consequences (outside of Albuquerque) with its scorching days, chilly nights, and high altitude, provides the perfect terroir to grow the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes used in making Gruet Winery’s sparkling wines. The winery was founded by a French Champagne maker, Gilbert Gruet, in the 1950s, using the Methode Champenoise—and best of all, it will only set you back about $16. Their Brut will help kick off any celebration, and pairs well with starters like oysters and charcuterie boards.
If the idea of drinking Rosé conjures commercials of Reunite circa 1983, forget them. This wine has made a major comeback. The light, quaffable pink drink ranges in flavor from fruity to crisp, and accompanies dishes like salads and sides, turkey, and sausages, but would also be a great starter wine to accompany oysters and cheese boards. We like the (affordable) Charles Smith ViNO 2015 Rosé from Washington’s Columbia Valley. Bonus: It’s just $14.
Forget the over-oaked buttered popcorn flavors from California Chardonnays of the past. Today’s versions have hints of quince, Meyer lemon, and marzipan. We’re digging the 2014 Landmark Vineyards Overlook Chardonnay from California’s Sonoma County. It’s a white that is robust enough to stand up to turkey and stuffing for the white drinkers at the table and costs under $30.
A varietal popularized by the film Sideways (and again by hit Netflix series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘s unforgettable character, Titus Andromedon’s ode to the grape), Pinot Noir is a classic Thanksgiving beverage. And while it might be tempting to try Unbreakable actor Tituss Burgess’ real life version, we’re betting you’ll love one of our favorite versions, the Monopole Pinot Noir from Kovacs Nimrod winery in Eger, Hungary. There’s a Denver, connection, too: winery owner Nimrod Kovacs divides his time between Denver and Hungary. It will set you back around $20 and pairs well with turkey and other game meats.
For a stunning finale, (and one that’s the priciest on our list) check out Joseph Phelps’ Eisrebe, an eiswein made from Scheurebe grapes in Napa, California. Eiswein is created when grapes freeze, allowing the juice’s sugars to really pop. This palatable version has hints of honeysuckle, jasmine, gardenia, and citrus, and goes down well after dessert. The winery’s winemaker, Ashley Hepworth, is a Colorado native, and the 2009 vintage of this Eisrebe was served at this year’s James Beard Foundation dinner at Devil’s Thumb Ranch in Tabernash.
Go forth and drink wine, make merry—and most importantly—wear elastic waist pants.
Rebecca Treon, Editor