Just about every wine publication, blog, and retailer has spent the past week bombarding you with their “ultimate Thanksgiving wine guide,” trying to convince you that they know precisely the wines that will (a) pair best with every single dish at your Thanksgiving meal; (b) be lurved by all your guests; and (c) be readily available at your local retailer. Bah humbug. I’m a big believer that on Thanksgiving — just like any other day — you should drink what you like. Whatever it is, I’m sure it will taste great when you find yourself surrounded by family and friends.
Because some have asked, I’ll share with you what I plan to pour this Thursday. There is a certain theme to selecting these wines: they all bring back memories of my time travelling through France, and remind me how lucky and thankful I am for the people who made my trip so memorable. Not sure how this might pair with the food on the table (we’re going with a potluck dinner), but I know I’ll have a good story to tell my guests as I open each bottle.
It all boils down to an easy to remember acronym: VBB — Vouvray, Beaujolais, Bordelet.
VOUVRAY: I’m going to start Thanksgiving with sparkling Vouvray: the 2005 Domaine Huet Vouvray Pétillant Brut (around $30 at Dig SF, and also available at Arlequin) and Catherine et Pierre Breton‘s Vouvray Brut La Dilettante ($23 at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants). These are bright, energetic wines with nice acidity and crowd-pleasing bubbles — a great way to kick off the festivities. Plus, Chenin Blanc has a soft spot in my heart because it is my mother’s favorite varietal. Here’s to you, mom!
BEAUJOLAIS: Cru Beaujolais has been one of my go-to wines for the past year. It tends to please both the occasional wine drinker and the geeky wino. One of the Beaujolais wines I remember enjoying was made by a relatively small producer, Julien Sunier, who makes killer juice from Morgon, Fleurie, and Regnié (hat tip to Dagan of SF’s Terroir Wine Bar for introducing me to Sunier’s wines). I’m going to opt for a bottle of his 2009 Morgon ($24 at Arlequin Wine Merchants, and also available at Vineyard Gate in Millbrae). This wine has plenty of fruit, but enough earthiness and acidity to round it out and keep it from going flabby. (Picture from Vineyard Gate).
BORDELET: At only 4%ABV, the Bordelet Poiré Granit ($23 at Arlequin, also available at K&L) is a great way to top off the night without having to fear that anyone will be getting too rowdy. The first time I had Bordelet’s ciders was in Champagne during a visit to Anselme Selosse’s Hotel Les Avisee, where the chef kindly treated us to a bottle — the perfect end to a memorable meal. Hey, but don’t take my word for it. Chambers Street Wines (the “greatest wine retailer in America“) also gives Bordelet a T-day shoutout: “The perfect beverage for lingering over pumpkin pie at the end of your Thanksgiving meal. This dry, elegant cider comes from organically tended ancient pear trees, with roots deep in a granit soil giving minerality, acidity and length to this Champagne of ciders….”
Cheers, and best wishes for the Thanksgiving weekend!