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The Secret To Thanksgiving Wines Revealed

Gil Kulers

Gil Kulers

Pairing a wine with the turkey is easy. Pleasing picky guest is what many Thanksgiving dinner hosts worry about.

Pairing a wine with the turkey is easy. Pleasing picky guests is what many Thanksgiving dinner hosts worry about.

The time has come for my Fifth Annual My Family Is Coming For Thanksgiving Dinner What Wine Do I Serve Manifesto. This year I feel it is important to show your family just how much you love them by simply serving the best.

The beehive that is the wine world is a-buzz about the 2009 Bordeaux. Unlike previous Vintages of the Century from this French wine region (see: 2000 and 2005), this one really is the “the one.” Everyone, from Grandma Hana to picky Uncle George, will recognize and revere these regal wines. They will immediately associate your overwhelming thoughtfulness with some form of love.

Which ones should you buy? That’s easy. Châteaux Latour, Mouton, Lafite, Margaux and my favorite, Haut Brion, otherwise known as the Bordeaux first growths.

Price: $6,053 for one bottle of each, plus tax.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Gil, only a fraction of the audience would be able to consider such a purchase (plus the 2009s will not be released until the spring). Got anything more practical?]

It’s time for my Fifth Annual My Family Is Coming For Thanksgiving Dinner What Wine Do I Serve Guide. This year, I thought we would throw a little curveball in the baseball game that is this annual family feast.

Two words: Boxed wines.

Now, I know in many circles the reputation of these wines is a little suspect. But, truly, more and better selections are hitting shelves every day. Not only are these wines tasty, they’re amazingly inexpensive. Everyone, from Grandpa Erwin to picky Aunt Pearl, will recognize your good taste and your sharp shopping skills. They will associate your astute consumerism and these conversation-starting wines with some form of love.

Which ones to buy? That’s easy. Look for boxes that come in 1.5 and 3 liters (the equivalent to two and four regular bottles). In general, avoid the 4- and 5-liter boxes. Names to look for: Black Box (especially from Central Coast California and Argentina), Bota Box, Big House, Hardy’s from Australia, Bodegas Osborne’s Seven from Spain and The Big Green Box (new from Pepperwood Grove). A great serving suggestion is to pour out generous portions in carafes or pitchers and put them on the table.

Price: $45 total for a 3-liter box of white and a 3-liter box of red.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Gil, management is not suggesting that boxed wines are déclassé, but some hosts may be a little image conscious. Got anything a little more upscale?]

For my Fifth Annual My Family Is Coming For Thanksgiving Dinner What Wine Do I Serve Handbook, I thought we would throw a Hail Mary pass in the football game that is this annual family feast.

That’s right, I’m talking bubbles! Take if from a former sommelier, sparkling wine goes with everything…and frankly, the Thanksgiving meal is typically a menagerie of flavors that make coherent wine pairings impossible. Everyone, from Grandma Sharon to picky Uncle John, will recognize your original thinking and ability to add fizz to these fun festivities. They will associate these traits with some form of love.

Which ones to buy? That’s easy. Anything from Spain, where they call sparkling wine cava. Freixenet (especially the Extra Dry and the Rosado), Segura Viudas (especially the Aria Brut) and Codorníu (especially the Reserva Raventos) are names to look for.

Price: All are well under $20 a bottle.

[NOTE TO READERS: Don’t fret about the Thanksgiving wine selections. Your family and friends do not judge you by the things you can and cannot offer them but by the sincere love in your heart. And if they do, in fact, gauge their love based on what you serve, then does it really matter what you serve?]

Gil Kulers is a certified wine educator with the Society of Wine Educators. You can reach him at gil.kulers@winekulers.com.

4 comments Add your comment

Zydeco

November 20th, 2010
5:45 pm

I am looking for a very good madeira (fortified wine from Portugal) called ALVADA by Blandy and have been unable to locate it in Atlanta. I have tried the usual places including Total Wine with no luck. Any suggestions?

Dgalloway

November 20th, 2010
8:47 pm

A clever way of presenting some useful information. Thank you.

kp

November 21st, 2010
11:42 am

How about a sparkling cider or even a rauchbier to go with the turkey and friends?

Gil Kulers

November 24th, 2010
3:55 pm

Zydeco, don’t quote me, but I’m pretty sure that the Sherlock’s in Decatur has what you’re looking for. Call before you go.

Dgalloway, Thanks!

KP, sparkling cider ain’t bad, but it ain’t wine. If’ you ever get your hands on some sparkling cider from Calvados, France, buy it. It’s called Pommeau. IMPOSSIBLE to find, but do partake if some finds its way into your glass.