Happiest of Thanksgivings to you, our SOMM TV family! It’s been an odd and challenging couple of years for so many of us. For me, I’ve become a more reflective person. More than ever before, I have a significant craving for balance in my life. Part of that balance is prioritizing time to appreciate and spend with loved ones. I hope you can all reflect on what you are grateful for in your lives. Now is the time to enjoy a beautiful Thanksgiving surrounded by those you love the most.
Here are a few bottles that I recommend seeking out for your Thanksgiving table.
Blancs de Sauvignon Blanc Cuvee Agincourt, Sonoma, California
This traditional method sparkler from Bodkin holds the great distinction of being the first sparkling Sauvignon Blanc produced in the United States! And it is fresh, fresh, fresh! Zesty, bright lime and ruby grapefruit dance in the glass with lemongrass, hazelnut, and underripe pineapple with absolutely electric acidity. It is an absolute delight to drink.
Pop this bottle as your guests arrive to welcome them in and refresh their palates. This sparkler will carry you through your entire meal because it will genuinely pair with everything on your menu. You’re going to want to stock up on this wine even outside of the holiday season; it is a winner year-round!
2017 Bonne Nouvelle Saumur Chenin Blanc, Loire Valley, France
I had this wine on my list at Sushi Note by the glass because holy moly, this Chenin Blanc is ridiculously delicious! Producer Arnaud Lambert manages the vineyards of Chateau Brézé, continuously producing famous Chenin Blancs for centuries. Lambert crafts many fantastic single-vineyard Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc based wines from these sites. Typically, he uses the fruit from the “Bonne Nouvelle” vineyard to make Chenin Blanc with a fair amount of residual sugar. However, one of his importers begged him to make a dry wine from this vineyard, and thankfully he obliged, though he only makes two barrels of this wine each vintage.
It is a brilliant gold color in the glass and slightly viscous with intoxicating notes of overripe yellow apple, lemon curd, ripe Bosch pear, chamomile, honey, and white pepper. Its texture, along with soaring acidity, make it a very versatile wine for your Thanksgiving dinner table. It will be perfect with not only your turkey but also all of those delicious side dishes – hello, stuffing!
2015 Pinot Noir, Hilliard Bruce Vineyard, Sta Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, California
I fell in love with Tara Gomez’s wines when I first blinded her Chardonnay on SOMM TV and called it a Chablis. Since then, I have been consistently blown away by all of her delicious offerings. This Pinot Noir, though, is truly exceptional. Coming from a cool climate vineyard in the coastally influenced Santa Rita Hills of Santa Barbara, this is a profoundly complex Pinot Noir that is such a pleasure to drink.
Layers of overripe strawberries, pomegranate, cranberry are folded into notes of baking spices, vanilla, black pepper, wild herbs, cedar, fresh violets, and forest floor. If you’re ditching the traditional turkey and preparing a pork or duck centerpiece for your Thanksgiving meal, this wine is your new best friend. It will also pair beautifully with a mushroom side dish.
2017 La Réserve d’O, AOC Terrasses du Larzac, Languedoc, France
For those seeking a slightly juicier, cozier red wine to enjoy for Thanksgiving, this is the wine for you. The Terrasses du Larzac AOP of the Languedoc is one of the highest elevation appellations of the region, and the grapes for Domaine de la Réserve d’O ‘s La Réserve d’O cuvée are sourced from a windswept plateau vineyard. It is a blend of 45% Syrah, 45% Grenache, and 10% Cinsault, and while the fruit on this wine is juicy, that high elevation and wind help prevent it from becoming monolithic and over-extracted.
Ripe wild raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, black pepper, and cedar bind together by crisp acidity and elegant tannins. The famous Languedoc garrigue is present, as well with notes of rosemary, oregano, and thyme. If you are indulging in lamb, roast or stew this holiday season, grab yourself a bottle of this wine. It will also pair well with a classic charcuterie board.
Historic Series Charleston Sercial, Madeira, Portugal
Now is the time to hop on the Madeira train! Pour this at the end of your meal, when you’re absolutely stuffed, and the button on your pants has long ago been popped open. I love to recommend a Sercial Madeira because it is the style with the lowest amount of residual sugar. This particular Madeira is my personal go-to, and I love to share a glass – or sometimes a bottle – with my father over the holidays.
The layers that unfold on your palate are mind-blowing; walnuts, figs, dried porcini mushrooms, salted caramel, dates, chestnuts, and orange peel. The finish evolves and lingers on your palate long after your last sip. If you have happened to save that small spot in your stomach for dessert, pour yourself a small glass of this Madeira to pair with that slice of pecan or pumpkin pie. Or, if you’re like me, a mature cheese is divine for dessert, and this Madeira takes it to the next level. There are few things cozier than enjoying a warming glass of fortified wine after a hearty meal with your loved ones.