Wines for the 2021 Thanksgiving Table

by artfuldiner on October 16, 2021

in Breaking News, Opinion, Special Celebrations, Wine, Wining and Dining

Thanksgiving - Wine ChartIf you happen to consult the Internet for assistance with regard to choosing wine(s) to pair with your Thanksgiving dinner, you soon realize there is absolutely no shortage of suggestions… approximately 5,190,000 to be more specific… And the sources couldn’t be more diverse. They range from individual wineries and wine stores to periodicals like Wine Spectator, Food & Wine, Town & Country, Woman’s Day, and Oprah Daily to blogs like Pioneer Woman, Reverse Wine Snob, and Spruce Eats (that’s their nifty little wine chart).

… And while the art of pairing wine with food – as I’ve mentioned on several occasions – is very much a matter of personal preference, there are several fairly safe amalgams, both white and red, that may help to alleviate your oenological conundrums. With white wines, the pairing priority is finding vintages with well-balanced acidity (over-oaked chardonnays, for example, need not apply); your best bets, therefore, are Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio. When it comes to reds, you want to seek out wines with fairly subtle tannins that will support the flavors of the food rather than overpowering them. And the winner is…? Without doubt, Pinot Noir.

Riesling is a white wine that may be either bone dry or incredibly sweet. And whether hailing from Alsace, Germany, or Washington State, it is absolutely the top pick for pairing with Thanksgiving dinner. Its innate flavors and clarifying acidity give it a significant pairing edge with items like sweet potatoes, turkey, and spice-laden or herb-filled stuffing.

Trimbach Winery 4My choice to accompany your Thanksgiving dinner would be the 2018 Trimbach Riesling from the Alsatian region of France. The Trimbach family has been producing wines in the tiny hamlet of Ribeauvillé since 1626; and, across 13 generations, their wines have always been well-structured, long-lived, fruity, elegant, and beautifully balanced. In addition, bottles remain in their cellar for several years before reaching the marketplace, so as to ensure that the wines will be both ready to drink upon release and also hold great aging potential. The 2018 exhibits a beautiful straw color with green tinges at the periphery. On the nose, the characteristic petrol-mineral combo is unmistakably present and accounted for. And on the palate, it assaults the senses with a bone-dry refreshing acidity that continues through to the long, lingering, mouthwatering finish. Currently on sale through PA State Stores at $17.99.

However, if you really want to splurge for your Thanksgiving feast, I highly recommend the Trimbach 2011 Cuvée Frédéric Emile, considered, year after year, to be one of Alsace’s greatest Rieslings. This is also available through PA State Stores at $72.99… and, trust me, it is worth every penny.

Sauvignon Blanc is also considered an excellent wine to pair with Thanksgiving dinner. This white wine grape is widely cultivated in France and California. The best of French wines made from 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc are produced in the Loire Valley at Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. It is also grown in Italy, eastern Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America and South Africa.

Its crisp tartness and herbaceous aroma and flavor make it an obvious choice for the Thanksgiving table… But I do have one caveat. While the Sauvignon Blancs of New Zealand have developed a tremendous following recently, they have simply become almost too citrusy (read here grapefruit-y) to pair very well with foods – especially with the variety of foods served on a chilly Thanksgiving Day. No, these wines are best enjoyed for their own merits on a warm summer’s afternoon.

Ken Forrester Sauvignon Blanc 2018I do, however, have one suggestion… South Africa produces consistently fine wines in a variety of categories that may be purchased online through Cape Ardor,, the largest exclusive boutique wine retailer of top international wine. However, if Sauvignon Blanc is your choice for the Thanksgiving Day table, be sure to check out the many possibilities and prices at I have ordered a number of items from Cape Ardor, so I can personally vouch for their promptness and reliability.

On the other hand, if you’re not particularly disposed to put up with the possible hassles and the extra expense of shipping, I highly recommend the 2018 Ken Forrester “Petit” Sauvignon Blanc, which is also from South Africa, but is readily available at your local State Store for a mere $12.99 per bottle. This is really a marvelous little wine, tart, crisp, and clean yet without that off-putting grapefruit-y overdose.

If you would prefer Pinot Grigio with your Thanksgiving feast, you certainly can’t do any better than those of Elena Walch. Located in northeast Italy, bordered by Lombardy in the west, Veneto on the East, and Austria on the north, Elena Walch is a leading estate in the Alto Adige region and is also considered one of the finest in Italy.

Elena WalchThe 2020 Elena Walch Pinot Grigio was recently rated 90 points by Wine Enthusiast and 91 points by James Suckling. This is a wonderful wine, with a very nice mineral-salty richness and crisp acidity on the palate, an excellent depth of lemon/lime flavor, and a long, crisp finish. Marvelously versatile, it will marry well with the variety of foods that often grace the Thanksgiving table. Currently priced at $15.99 at PA State Stores, a dollar of two less from a number of sources online.

… And if you’d like to go a bit more upscale, the 2018 Elena Walch Pinot Grigio Vigna “Castel Ringberg” is an excellent choice. It is mostly made in stainless steel tanks, but approximately 15% is fermented and aged in wood in order to provide more heft and depth of flavor. Currently available online through the Wine Library in Springfield, New Jersey, at $20.99 per bottle.

Pinot Noir is a traditional favorite at the Thanksgiving table. Its subtle, earthly undertones and often mushroom-inspired flavors surround the fresh fruit features and tend to complement the variety of flavors present at the Thanksgiving Day meal.

Here are my suggestions of the moment… The 2019 Chad Pinot Noir Willamette Valley is smooth on the palate and the pocketbook. It is the very essence of Oregon pinot. Aromatically, black cherry predominates along with a beguiling touch of spice. The taste is vibrant and complex with an abundance of berry fruit and soft, silky tannins. This is an outstanding wine at an outstanding price point. The lowest listing I’ve seen online is $23.50 per bottle (plus shipping) at Nicholas Wines, Red Bank, New Jersey.

Hamilton Russell Winery - Anthony & OliveHamilton Russell Vineyards is one of South Africa’s most prestigious wineries. Located in the beautiful Hemel-en-Aarde (Heaven & Earth) Valley appellation adjacent to the picturesque fishing village of Hermanus, it is also one of the most southerly wine estates in Africa and one of the closest to the sea. Anthony Hamilton Russell and his wife, Olive (pictured), winemaker Emul Ross, and viticulturist Johan Montgomery are completely dedicated to expressing the personality of Hamilton Russell Vineyards’ terroir in their wines. Diminutive yields and intense worldwide demand keep the elegant, highly individual, estate-grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in very short supply.

However, the 2019 Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir is unique… as it is the only HR Pinot Noir to be made with purchased grapes, as wildfires tainted the estate’s own fruit. This is a cuvée of the three Hemel-en-Aarde Valley sub-regions… “and all the better for it,” notes wine critic Tim Atkin, who bestowed a whopping 95 points on the 2019 vintage. “A fine effort in very trying circumstances,” chimed in Decanter. And that’s putting it mildly… Vinous said it much better: “Given the trauma suffered this vintage, this should be considered a success, not least because it still seems to bear the imprimatur of Hamilton Russell.” A simply fabulous wine and a wonderful complement to your Thanksgiving table.

The 2019 vintage is available online from Empire Wine, Albany, NY, at $42.98. However, if you would prefer, the 2020 vintage (also highly rated) may be purchased online through Shoppers Wines, Union, NJ, and Gary’s Wine & Marketplace, Wayne, NJ, at $34.95.

King Estate Inscription Pinot NoirThe 2019 King Estate “Inscription” Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is a relatively new brand introduced by the King Estate. About half the grapes in this wine come from King Estate’s own vineyards, with the balance from acclaimed vineyards located throughout the Willamette Valley. The grapes were hand-sorted with each lot and individually fermented in small batches. Stainless steel fermentation with daily punch downs and pump overs were followed by malolactic fermentation. The wine was then aged for 8 to 10 months in French oak, approximately 30% new barrels, before the final blend was made. The Wine Enthusiast, bestowed 90 points and an Editors’ Choice designation describing the wine as classy and affordable. And, yes, it is very affordable. The average U.S. retail price is $18.00 per bottle; $18.99 per bottle at Total Wine in Claymont, DE. Once again, however a little online shopping can yield a number of bargains: $14.99 at Marketview Liquor, Rochester, NY; $14.94 at Saratoga Wine Exchange, Ballston Lake, NY.

I first tasted the 2018 Stoller Dundee Hills Pinot Noir in the Purser’s Pub at the Inn at Perry Cabin during a trip to St. Michaels, Maryland… And I was so impressed that the moment I returned home I ordered six bottles online. This is a beautiful pinot noir: bright ruby red in color and an equally bright nose alive with the aromas of red fruits. Soft and elegant on the palate, its smooth, silky tannins move you along to a long, light ethereal finish. Wine critic James Suckling bestowed 92 points and referred to the wine as “their finest release under this estate label.” The 2018 Stoller Dundee Hills Pinot Noir will cost you $27.00 per bottle in Pennsylvania State Stores… On the other hand, it is available online from The Wine Buyer in Wayne, NJ, at $18.99 per bottle. This is where I purchased my six bottles, and shipping was only about $16.00. So, this is one instance in which you can save a bundle by doing a little searching online.

Tesselaarsdal WinemakerThe 2018 Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir was produced by Berene Sauls, a protégé of the aforementioned Anthony Hamilton Russell, who founded the Tesselaarsdal Winery in 2015. Hamilton Russell also financed the project. Ms. Sauls is a descendent of the freed slaves of South Africa, who were bequeathed the land of former East India Company settler Johannes Tesselaar in 1810.

This is a downright elegant wine, silky smooth on the palate with engaging aromas of red fruit. Aged for nine plus months in 100% French oak barrels, the 2018 Pinot Noir is graceful and completely enjoyable at the present moment but still age-worthy. The lowest price I have seen online is $44.93 at the International Wine Shop, Westport, CT. The perfect complement to your Thanksgiving table. Trust me, this is a wine you will definitely want to seek out.

 Bon Appétit!

Be Safe & Stay Well


{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: