Jason’s Thanksgiving Wine Guide for Any Budget

Seven local wine experts tell us the best wines for Thanksgiving, all near the Twin Cities and at different price points

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I asked several wine retailers for their Thanksgiving picks. First, I’d encourage you to not stress about the perfect pairing. The Thanksgiving meal is so varied in flavor profile, it’s almost impossible to pair. Instead, think about pacing the afternoon. Start with something bubbly maybe, then go white, then go red. Or just drink what you want—that works too!

Here are the experts offering recommendations below:

Top Ten Liquors: Nikki Erpelding, director of retail sales
Henry & Son: Linda Zimmerman, shop manager and wine buyer
1010 Washington Wine & Sprits: Mitch Zavada, wine buyer
North Loop Wine & Spirits: Lisa Impagliazzo, owner & Angie Heitz, Wine buyer
Solo Vino Bottle Shop: Chuck Kanski, owner
Haskell’s: Beau Farrell, V.P. of marketing/e-commerce
Atomic Liquors: Rachel Short, owner (Eagan)

Wine that’s around $10-$14:

Top Ten Liquors: Sainte Anne Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. Pick one or a pair. These French beauties won’t break the bank and are ultimate food-friendly crowd pleasers.

Henry & Son: Henry Varnay Brut Blanc de Blanc. Delicious, unique, low-alcohol French sparkling wine. It’s great with hors d’oeuvres or with a meal and is an aperitif on its own.

North Loop: Cerejeiras Tinto Red from Portugal-a is a delightful red that everyone can enjoy for $10!

1010 WWS: For a red, go with Field Recordings Noir Pinot Noir ($15) from California. This Minnesota-exclusive bottling makes for a perfect Thanksgiving Pinot Noir, with bright fruit and enough balance to hold up to the whole meal. For a white, try La Grange de Piaugier CDR Blanc 2020 ($14). And White Rhone Field Blend is complex and full bodied with a rich palate. Perfect to please everyone.

Solo Vino: Try a red and white from Lago Cerqueira. First, there’s Lago Cerqueira Douro Valley Red Wine 2018 ($11.99). Most Douro reds are base blends of the Tourigas (National/Franca). This wine is Tinta Roriz, which you also know as Tempranillo. Great on its own and ready for food when needed. And then there’s Lago Cerqueira Vinho Verde 2020 ($11.99). Excellent and adventurous blend. Beautiful notes of “fresh-cut grass” and strong notes of peach pit and ripe pear. Perfect pairing with turkey.

Haskell’s: For a red, try Beaujolais Nouveau Duboeuf 2021 ($9.99). The perfect fit, released worldwide Thursday, November 18. Light, fruity, and easy drinking. Celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau [a French wine holiday on the third Thursday of November] because Gamay [grapes] go great with turkey. For a white, go with Vouvray Les Lys 2020 ($11.99). The classic white wine to pair with turkey and all the sides. Chenin Blanc grapes are in Vouvray—light, refreshing, with just a slight hint of sweetness.

Atomic: For a white, try Cline Vineyards Viognier, with its floral nose, bright fruit, and crisp finish. OR a Bonny Doon Vineyard Picpoul, which is savory and acidic.

Wine that’s closer to $20:

Top Ten Liquors: Historic Catena Malbec is always a good hearty red for a chilly day and great with turkey and sweet potatoes.

Henry & Son: The Populis Wabi-Sabi Red Blend is a fun, versatile, and utterly drinkable red blend from Mendocino. Slight funk, brooding yet balanced, dark fruits accompanied by dried leaves and fresh-tilled earth.

North Loop: Domaine Brisebarre Vouvray Sec ($22). One-hundred percent Chenin Blanc from the Loire in France. Vouvray is my go-to Thanksgiving wine

1010 WWS: For a red, go with Gregoire Hoppenot Fleurie Origines 2020 ($20) from France. Beaujolais and Thanksgiving make for the ultimate holiday partnership, and this is one of the best values we’ve run into in some time. For white, do Bott-Geyl Riesling 2018 ($22) from Alsace, France. Delicious, dry Riesling from sunny Alsace, where the wines are just rich enough to handle all those savory Thanksgiving flavors.

Solo Vino: A red and white from Mary Taylor Wines (read about it in the New York Times). First, there’s the Mary Taylor Pascal Biotteau Anjou Blanc 2020 ($17.99). Perfectly balanced between a “bone-dry” Chenin and its juicier, fruit-forward cousin. More body then a typical Anjou Blanc. This style will definitely be more of a crowd pleaser. Very smooth finish. Then, there’s Mary Taylor Pascal Biotteau Anjou Rouge 2019 ($17.99). A very soft, popcorn-butter and pepper nose from Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc. Well balanced between fruit and tannin. Dry on the finish but not overly so.

Haskell’s: For a red, try La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi 2016 ($26.99). Tempranillo is on a tear! The wine is phenomenal—unique, delicious, and a crowd pleaser. For a white, try Terraces Chenin Blanc ($27). Sticking with the Chenin Blanc theme, our friends at the Terraces in Napa have produced a simply stunning white wine. The wine is delicate and elegant and truly shows the craft that goes into making superb wines.

Atomic: For a red, go with Willamette Valley Vineyards Whole Cluster Pinot Noir. For a sparkling white, try Field Recordings Dry Hop Pet Nat.

Splurge:

Top Ten Liquors: Champagne! Piper Heidsieck Brut—lots to toast to this season!

Henry & Son: Domaine Gerard Duplessis Chablis is a gorgeous entry-level Chablis from one of our favorite below-the-radar Burgundy producers.

North Loop: Lingua Franca Avni Pinot Noir ($43) from the Willamette in Oregon. Light and bright and spectacular with everything on the table.

1010 WWS: For a red, go with Domaine Tollot-Beaut Chorey-Les-Beaune 2018 ($45 sale) from Burgundy in France. Moderately full-bodied, it has a zesty mid palate and notes of candied black cherries, which make this a great wine for Turkey Day. For white, try Au Bon Climat Sanford & Benedict Chardonnay 2018 ($45 sale) from Santa Ynez Valley, California. Chardonnay has long been forgotten among cooler and more hip white wines, but this one knocks it out of the park for Thanksgiving dinner.

Solo Vino: Herri Mina Irouléguy Blanc 2016 ($24.99), a blend of Gros Manseng, Petit Courbu, and Petit Manseng. This wine is a lightening strike of acid. The acid in this wine will “bob and weave” all through your Thanksgiving meal. The fruit profile is citrus and stone fruit with a touch of pepper on the finish.

Haskell’s: Pommard Goichot Pinot Noir ($50). This is Pinot Noir at its finest. Very soft and elegant, the Tasevinage label is reserved for some of only the best. Ready to drink now. For white, try Chassagne-Montrachet Andre Goichot 2018 ($79.99). Aromas of mayflower, acacia, and honeysuckle blend with verbena and hazelnut and—in some cases—toast or fresh butter. This wine boasts a profound minerality, too (flint).

Atomic: Two red options: Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot and Kosta Brown Pinot Noir.

Thanksgiving bonuses:

North Loop is selling three-pack kits curated by the wine team, and Jason Kallsen, wine instructor and founder of Twin Cities Wine Education, is providing a video about the wines. For $60, you get a Spanish Cava Rose, Vouvray, and Beaujolais Village. For $70, you get a Cotes du Rhone white, an Oregon Pinot Noir, and a Portuguese Red.

1010‘s Mitch Zavada has prepared a guide to Thanksgiving wines you can click here to download: Thanksgiving Guide 2021

Haskell’s: Ted’s Turkey Wines – a collection of 6 wines for $60

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