20 Fantastic Thanksgiving Wines (2018 Edition)

Because Thanksgiving is the perfect wine holiday.

Why? Well, it’s the only holiday with a savory feast that happens right after the grape harvest. Not to mention the fall flavors pair perfectly with many great wines. So, let’s find out which Thanksgiving wines to add to the table this year.

IN THIS ARTICLE
  • Break the ice with something refreshing and celebratory like sparkling rosé.
  • Bring out the medium-bodied reds because they pair the best with turkey.
  • Bask in the glory of at least one special occasion wine (dessert wine or something stranger).

Thanksgiving Wine Picks for 2018 by Wine Folly

                      Sparkling Rosé

There’s nothing better than arriving to a party and being handed a glass of something sparkly. It even works on little kids (but perhaps a shiny tumbler of Martinelli’s instead?).

Sparkling rosé pays tribute to the changing seasons with its pinkish hue and the red fruit core that forecasts incoming cranberries for the holidays.

Here are a few sparkling rosé wine styles you deserve to taste at least once in your life:

sparkling-rose-wines-thanksgiving-winefolly

 Lambrusco Rosé – This wine is often made with Lambrusco di Sorbara – the most delicate of the Lambrusco varieties. Expect delightful, fruit-forward aromas of pink grapefruit, watermelon, and rose candy.

Carafoli “Sensazioni Rosa” Lambrusco Rosé Extra Dry (~$10)
 
 Cava Rosé – A lean and dry style from Spain that usually includes varieties like Garnacha, Monastrell, Pinot Noir, and the rare Trepat. On the nose, expect forest berries, raspberry bramble, and wet stones. Bottles labeled “Reserva”will have been aged on the lees for a longer amount of time.

Llopart “Reserva” 2014 Brut Rosé (~$20)
 
 Italian Metodo Classico – Two regions in Italy rival Champagne: Franciacorta in Lombardy, and Trento in Trentino-Alto Adige. These wines are quite fine (and priced accordingly). Expect tiny, creamy bubbles and cherry driven aromas.

Ca’ del Bosco “Cuvée Prestige” Franciacorta Rosé (~$65)
Ferrari “Perle” Trento Rosé 2008 (~$65)
 
 Bugey Cerdon Rosé – One for the wine geeks! A richer, darker rosé from the foothills of the French Alps and made using a very ancient sparkling wine method. You’ll find the local varieties of Poulsard and Gamay are often used and deliver aromas of peonies and forest berries.

Patrick Bottex “La Cueille” Bugey Cerdon Rosé (~$20)
 
 Tasmanian Rosé – The rare and exciting sparkling wines of Tasmania are finding their way into US stores. The producer we found (Jansz) had super compelling aromas of bitter-sweet red fruits and subtle smoky, yeasty notes. Easy on the palate.

Jansz “Premium” Brut Rosé Tasmania (~$20)

FUN FACT:Wine sales for Thanksgiving are the highest of any single holiday.

                      Medium-Bodied Reds

If you’re looking to pair wine with poultry, it’s important to think about intensity. Sure, you could blow down the house with a big, bold-faced Bordeaux, but it’s not going to do your beautiful bird any justice.

Fortunately, there’s a segment of red wines with more juicy fruit and brown spice subtleties. The following medium-bodied reds pair really well with turkey, gravy, and roasted winter vegetables:

Thanksgiving-Red-Wines-01

 Carignan – Loaded with cherry fruit and spiced tobacco flavors, Carignan is meant for turkey. Seek out old vine wines from places like California, Chile, and Languedoc-Roussillon France.

Ridge Vineyards “Dutcher Creek Vineyard” 2015 Carignane (~$35)

 Zinfandel – With tasting notes akin to cranberry sauce (e.g. “spiced red fruits”), Zinfandel will moisten even the driest slice of turkey. We’re really delighted by the subtle white pepper, sage, and volcanic subtleties that Zin delivers from Napa Valley. (It might be Napa’s best value!)

D-Cubed Cellars Napa Valley Zinfandel (~$30)
Lagier Meredith Mount Veeder 2014 Tribidrag (~$45)

 Garnacha – So juicy and pure, Garnacha from Spain delivers sweet red fruit and citrus notes on top of dusty minerality. The best part is that you’ll find many of the buying options to be shockingly affordable. If you want to bump it up a notch (and taste some serious versions), look for Garnacha from the Vinos de Madrid area.

Marañones “30,000 Maravedies” Vinos de Madrid 2015 Garnacha (~$17)
Comando G “Rozas 1er Cru” Vinos De Madrid 2016 Garnacha (~$32)

thanksgiving-wines-2018-winefolly-reds

 Pinot Noir – The classic go-to red for Thanksgiving. Honestly, it’s hard not to have a bottle or two of these lying around. No pressure, but you might want to stock up on value 2015 Bourgogne Rouge before they sell out!

Frederic Magnien 2015 Bourgogne Rouge (~$20)

 Blaufränkisch – It’s hard to stumble upon greatness for under $20 if you’re perusing the usual suspects. Instead, look for something like the lesser known Blaufränkisch. The Austrians obsess over this red because it delivers rich, black fruit flavors, spice, and food-friendly acidity. This is a great choice for dark meat and wild rice stuffing.

Markowitsch Carnuntum 2016 Blaufränkisch ($18)

 Beaujolais – We’re sure to be roasted on a spit if we forget to mention the classic Francophile-Thanksgiving favorite: Beaujolais. Long ago, the Beaujolais grape (Gamay) was banned in Burgundy, but that didn’t stop it from existing – and thriving – in neighboring Beaujolais. Wines are beautifully floral (think violets and peonies) with soft, luscious, berry-driven fruit, and a subtle bitter note on the finish. Look for a Beaujolais Cru for superior quality.

Michel Guignier “Vieilles Vignes” Morgon 2017 Beaujolais (~$17)

 Mencía – When people finally figure out how exceptional Mencía wine is, we’ll no longer be able to get is so cheap! Imagine a wine with the dark fruit of Malbec paired with the delicacy and complexity of high-end (high tannin) Pinot Noir.

 

Losada 2016 Bierzo (~$20)
Castro Candaz “A Boca do Demo” 2016 Ribeira Sacra (~$49)

 

Special Occasion Wines - Madeira, PX, Vin Jaune, Tokaji

                      Special Occasion Wines

There’s no better time to share something rare and unique than during the holidays. Some wines are just too much a delicacy to hoard alone. Here are a few special wines to consider:

 Sercial Madeira – This very rare single-varietal Madeira wine can be served chilled and makes for an amazing match with pumpkin pie. It’s not too sweet and exudes toasted walnut, burnt caramel, and peach notes.

Blandy’s 10 Year Old Sercial Madeira (~$28)

 Pedro Ximinez – Forget dessert when you can drink something so sweet and rare as a 90-year old Solera dessert wine from the Montilla-Moriles region in southern Spain. This very sweet wine offers fig, molasses, and nutty-coffee notes. We’re honestly shocked that it’s so nicely priced.

Alvear “Solera 1927” Pedro Ximenez (~$30)

 Vin Jaune – Truly golden-yellow in color, you’ve never had anything like Vin Jaune before. Vin Jaune is a true geek wine with arresting flavors of linseed oil, pear, and preserved lemon. Despite its bizarre aromatic structure and saline taste, it pairs fantastically well with pumpkin pie.

Domaine Baud Còtes du Jura 2010 Vin Jaune (~$35)

 Tokaji Aszú – Hummingbird elixir.

 

Kiralyudvar Tokaji Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2007 (~$85)

 

Visit WINE FOLLY for more articles.

 

Winebuffs: A Simple Wine Gift for the Holidays 2018

 

 

 

My last article included some ideas for gift experiences (i.e. notes with wine and complementary products). This time, as we jump into the holiday wine giving/gifting season, I am going to suggest a single simple product with tips on how to make it work for you. 

 

Owned and created by a friend of mine, the product suggestion for 2018 is called a WineBuff. This is a micro fiber polishing cloth for glassware that not only works well with all shapes and styles of wine glasses, but can also be used on eyeglasses, iphones, or laptop computers. Any wine cloth might do, but what makes this item special for wine lover gifting, is the wine map imprinted on each one depicting various popular wine regions.

 

There are 5 versions including Napa/Sonoma, Italy, Spain, France and Australia. Retailing for a reasonable $19.95, these WineBuffs are a simple, easy addition to give as a nice hostess gift by itself or paired with a bottle of wine. Make it unique by incorporating your giftee’s interests and favorite travel spots.

 

Here are three simple ideas for personalizing your gift:

 

  • Consider adding a bottle of wine to the Wine Buff that fits the theme of a region (a Rioja with Spanish Buff, a Brunello with Italian Buff, etc). 

  • Include a WineBuff with a matching educational wine book from a wine region.

  • This one I credit to a friend: use the WineBuff in lieu of tissue paper, and place with corresponding bottle of wine in a standard gift carry wine bag.

As I always say, no matter what you choose, you cannot go wrong…. it’s all about wine! Here’s to a great start to the holiday season. Enjoy and cheers! 

 

Gary Gottfried is the Founding Principal of Crosslink Marketing LLC and has over 30 years in the food and wine industry. He consults for the Specialty Food Association based in NYC and Chairs their Food Service Council. He is also a partner in Silvadore Brands a wine essentials company. He can be reached at (440) 463-4663 and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

We like to call them Wine Essentials!

 



What is a wine essential? By my classification, it is a product or idea that has the ability to help you enjoy more and/or better wine. When it comes to products, most wine essentials are, or can be, accessories, however, not all wine accessories are essentials. There are also products that, when taught to be used properly, can become essential.

To many of us, wine can be a largely unknown and sometimes “scary” topic. We all know something, but we also seem to know so little. Ever sit in a restaurant and stare at the wine list or worry that you’ll be asked to select the wine? I know I have. We rely on others, waiters, sommeliers, and even bartenders etc. to help us select and that is o.k., however, keep in mind two things .. 1. With all the wine options in the world not everyone can be “all knowing” 2. Everyone’s tastes are different, so any selection may or may not be right for you at any given time.

From the variety of topics that I write on, hopefully most of you recognize that there is an attempted common thread to help you enjoy your wine experience(s) whether at home or traveling. I try to, through information and education, so that you may gain an understanding which translates to comfort and confidence when relating to wine. By introducing wine essentials, we hope it will help you continue to grow and expand the quality of your wine experience(s).

Here are a couple categories I’d place on the wine essential list:

1.Wine Aeration – wine aeration has been around for years, although until recently much of it was occurred with the process referred to as decanting. Essentially the benefit with wines (predominately used for with reds) is to “soften” the wine by exposing it to air “loosening” the tannins. Decanting also has the added benefit of separating sediment. As of the past 10+ years, the process has taken on a more modern twist using products that aid the process. I’ll go more in detail in an upcoming article and describe the why’s, what’s and how’s.

                                                             
 

2.Wine Preservation – I am very biased on this, however, I am not bashful to be adamant on the importance for this category to be known and understood. For consumers and the retail and restaurant trade, this category can help expand the enjoyment of more and better wine more than any marketing campaign. Education, comprehension, trust and use are key. There are many methods with pros and cons and some being better than others. I look forward to discussing this more.

                                                                       

3.Experiential Wine Events – this is a very WIDE range of angles that will fill the qualification of being a wine essential. These events can be at home, restaurant, local or near/far away as destination experiences. They can be formal, casual or event oriented. As you can tell, it is not all about where wine is drunk, but just simply that you are drinking wine and able to enjoy more and better. Look for multiple topics here.

                                       

With all the above said, as we continue down the path of these WAVE Wine Club articles, I may not teach you specifically about particular wines, however I’ll do all I can to talk about ways to enhance your wine experience. For more info, feel free to go to Silvadore Wine Essentials. I look to hear questions and ideas from all of you on products or experiences and hope to turn them in to wine essentials for you and your friends.

Gary Gottfried is the Founding Principal of Crosslink Marketing LLC and has over 30 years in the food and wine industry. He consults for the Specialty Food Association based in NYC and Chairs their Food Service Council. He is also a partner in Silvadore Brands a wine essentials company. He can be reached at (440) 463-4663 and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Respect the Power of Your Palate

Have you ever tasted a wine then read the wine notes on the bottle and thought hmmmm, I don’t taste or smell that at all? Or, have you been at a wine tasting heard the wine reps’ long list of descriptors and thought I obviously don’t know much about wine because all I smell is … wine? Then keep reading I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Wine tasting is relative and totally based on personal perception. What I taste as pear, you may perceive as green apple. What I perceive as tropical fruit may translate on your palate as mango and pineapple. Who is right? We both are. Taste, in all its forms is based on personal perception. To appreciate the power of your palate you must first become aware and respect your taste.

Become a Student

Pay attention to what you smell and taste in a wine then make a mental note or better yet, jot it down. Revisit wines and compare what flavors stand out as you re-taste. Make a habit of attentively smelling everything - coffee, fruit, flowers, etc … and make a mental note of what captures your attention. Learn to appreciate and savor the taste and smell of the foods you eat. As you become of student of taste you will begin to better recognize and describe what you taste. And that leads to trusting your palate.

Make Time to Taste

Drinking wine is what you do when you are just hanging out and enjoying the moment. Tasting wine is an exercise in attention, appreciation and thought. Attending wine tastings at your local wine shop is a great, cost effective way to experience the art of tasting wine. Chances are the wine tasting will offer some new and interesting wines allowing you to expand your tasting experience. Pay attention to the wine descriptors the wine rep shares and see how they fit with your own assessment. As you broaden your horizons you will develop “palate recall” and an understanding of what Chardonnay or Cabernet tastes like to you. As time goes by you will develop a recognition of the nuances and differences in wine and even be able to distinguish where they are made and by whom. You will become your own wine expert.

Remember it’s all Relative

As you gain confidence you will understand that its okay that what you taste, or smell may be different than the wine notes on the bottle. What matters most is knowing what you taste and what you like.

And always remember, whether the wine glass is half full or half empty, always fill it with quality wine. Happy Sipping, Yolanda Albergottie, Wine Education Coordinator, Chuck’s Fines Wines, Chagrin Falls, Ohio. 440.247.7534. Follow us on twitter @chucksfinewines.

Just How Serious of a Wine Person Are you?

 
 
Pardon me … please do not take this as a challenge, but rather just as an assessment of where you want to be, knowledge wise, in the world of wine?

First you should be true to yourself on whether you want to be a professional in all or many aspects of wine, or a more versatile and educated wine consumer, or simply a hobbyist who is interested in pure learning and knowledge. Once you know that, you can select a program that is “right” for your needs.

There are plenty of local programs (may be that can help get you started, but if you are more focused and seriously minded there are wine and culinary schools that teach wine and entry level programs.

Do you know someone who wants to work in the wine/spirits/hospitality industry but they just don't know where to start? All of the certifications and programs out there can be a bit intimidating when you first start out. The Bev Specialist Certificate made available by the Society of Wine Educators is a wonderful place to start (full disclosure, I am a member and a big fan of this organization).

The Hospitality/Beverage Specialist Certificate (HBSC) is an entry-level, beverage knowledge program designed to fulfill the needs of the hospitality and culinary industries and their employees. The Beverage Specialist Certificate can also be used as an entry-level course for those planning to pursue higher levels of wine, beer, or spirits certification.
The HBSC provides a broad base of knowledge, covering all commercially relevant beverages, not just wine or spirits. The program’s content covers: coffee, tea, beer, sake, cider, perry, wine, and spirits. Details about sensory evaluation, tasting notes, and service standards for each beverage type are included as well as a chapter on the responsible service of beverage alcohol.

As an added thought, I’ll place a little “plug” right now for SWE. This year’s conference is almost in our backyard being held in Rochester NY (near the NY Finger Lakes). Those of you inclined may want to consider attending or, at the very least, learn more about it. Nice way to tie in a trip some to great regional wineries (pictured below is from Bet the Farm Winery, Kit Kalfs, the “guy” in the picture, at one time lived in our NE Ohio area ). Did you know that NY State is home to the 4th largest number of wineries, behind CA/WA/OR?
 

In addition, enjoy touring an areas full of nice surprises i.e. Corning Museum of Glass, Watkins Glen, or even within a short drive to Niagara on the Lake.

Gary Gottfried is a wine preservation specialist who consults on helping consumers enjoy and businesses sell more wine. He consults to the food and wine industry. Contact Gary at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.