Now more than ever, versatility is key to choosing a Thanksgiving wine. With all the unpredictability in the world, it’s wise to choose a wine that pairs with everything from turkey to cranberry sauce and can delight in its own right, a reward for surviving the past year. Thanksgiving can be a challenging time in ordinary circumstances and now it comes with additional decisions about how to keep it safe and how to maintain the family tradition. Here are five wines to grace and enliven your holiday table, whether in person, on Zoom, and somewhere in between!
1) Underground Wine Project ‘And Why Am I Mr. Pink’ 2019, Columbia Valley – Despite this wine’s identity crisis, there’s no question why it’s named Mr. Pink: it’s pleasing, stylish, pale pink in color, with a whiff of pomegranate, and a firm backbone of acidity. It’s not a soft, sweet summer sipper, but something on the savory side, making it a great match with Thanksgiving dishes from turkey to stuffing. Underground Wine Project, $13.
2) Dowsett Family Gewürztraminer Celilo Vineyard 2017, Columbia Gorge – Treat yourself to a cornucopia of fruits in a glass. This wine brims with full, ripe layers of honeyed pear, tropical fruits and lychee nuts, balanced with crisp acidity, making it a great complement to everything from turkey to pumpkin pie. Don’t let the name Gewürztraminer intimidate you, this is simply lip-smacking delicious! Dowsett Family Winery, $29.
3) Soter 2016 Brut Rose, Yamhill-Carlton– This elegant, effervescent wine, mostly Pinot Noir with a dash of Chardonnay, reveals aromas of strawberry, raspberry, citrus peel, flavors of dried cherries and has a firm, satisfying finish. A traditional sparkling wine, it elevates a Thanksgiving table and matches with everything from cranberry sauce to oyster stuffing. Soter Vineyards, $65.
4) Archery Summit Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2018, Willamette Valley – This bright, stylish wine is redolent of cranberries and plums, with a black currant core, and dried cherries and herbs on the finish. A generous wine, it makes an ideal pairing with rich, fatty foods like turkey drumsticks, potatoes au gratin or foie gras, if that’s on your Thanksgiving menu. Archery Summit, $65.
5) Gramercy Cellars ‘Third Man’ Grenache 2017, Columbia Valley – This meditative wine with an intriguing nose of pepper, black olive, and Provençal herbs, encourages reflection on the blessings and challenges of the past year. Its subtle, pleasing power builds as it opens, allowing it to complement rather than overwhelm the turkey, sweet potatoes, and green beans with toasted almonds. Gramercy Cellars, $36.
Bio – Nicholas O’Connell is the author of the forthcoming book, Crush: Adventures in the Wine Trade and the founder of www.thewritersworkshop.net