19 Thanksgiving Wine Recs for 2018 + Tasting 3 of Them

Hi everyone…and Happy #WineWednesday! Today, I’m sharing 19 different sparkling, white, rosé, and red wine recommendations for your Thanksgiving feast, while tasting 3 of those recommendations with you. The prices range from $10-$100+, so there should be something for everyone to love. Have a wonderful holiday…cheers!

Websites & other videos mention mentioned in video:

Wines mentioned in the video:

🍷2017 El Terrano Verdejo from Whole Foods — $12
🍷2017 Casillero Del Diablo Sauvignon Blanc — $10
🍷2014 Clarksburg Wine Company Chenin Blanc — $18
🍷2017 Matua Pinot Noir Rosé — $13
🍷2015 Vasco Urbano Norm Grenache — $42
🍷Penner Ash Wine Cellars Pinot Noir — $50-$75
🍷Sokol Blosser — $40-$70
🍷Beaujolais Nouveau — $10-15 (my video reviewing 3 different 2018 bottles can be found here)
🍷Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais — $18
🍷2017 Meomi Pinot Noir — $20
🍷Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zinfandel
🍷Turley Wine Cellars Zinfandel 
🍷Turley Wine Cellars Juvenile Zinfandel — $38
🍷Cameron Hughes Lot 636 Lodi Zinfandel — $13
🍷Cameron Hughes Lot 630 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel — $15
🍷Kunde Family Winery Zinfandel — $22
🍷Segura Viudas Cava —$9
🍷Gruet Blanc de Noirs — $17
🍷Albinea Canali Lambrusco “FB” Metodo Ancestrale 

Questions of the Day:

  1.  What did you end up drinking for Thanksgiving (since it’s likely that you won’t have a chance to comment until after the holiday)?
  2. Do you have other suggestions that I may have missed?

A Day of Chocolate and Cava

*** I received this wine as a sample. ***

Last Saturday, I ran in DC’s Hot Chocolate 15k, which was sponsored by Ghiradelli chocolate and benefited the Ronald McDonald House.  Let’s just say the race was an organizational disaster.  The company putting on the race started making changes about a month ago—requiring carpooling for parking close to the race, changing parking lot shuttle times from 6:45am to 6:15am, changing the slowest pace allowed from 16 min/mile to 15 min/mile, redesigning the course itself…the list goes on and on.  All this meant that the problems at the race weren’t a surprise.

On race day itself, I got up at 5am, got dressed, ate, and headed to Crystal City to catch a 6am shuttle (since I didn’t want to risk missing the last one at 6:15).  My bus driver got lost going from Crystal City to the National Harbor and there was a ridiculous amount of race traffic, so what should have been a 20-minute bus ride turned into an hour and 15 minutes.  But, hey, at least I was warm.  It was 28 degrees outside, and the sun wasn’t out that early, so when I got off the bus it was very cold.

You can read about the rest of the fiasco in the race organizer’s apology post on Facebook. Whatever the reasons, the race was delayed over an hour, so by the time we actually started, I had been standing outside for over 2 hours and was so cold I’d stopped feeling my feet.

Once the race started, it took me 2 miles to really warm up.  However, I ran with my friend, and we decided to take it easy and just enjoy the 9 miles.  So, we talked, we ran, we saw several friends cheering us on, and we ate delicious chocolate fondue and indulged in thick hot chocolate at the finish line.  All in all, I’m glad I ran the race, I enjoyed spending time with Kelly, and I felt good when I finally got home.  In my head, it was definitely a reason to celebrate, so I busted out the bubbly!

Lady of Spain Cava

Lady of Spain Cava

The Paul Cheneau Lady of Spain Cava was 45% Macabeo, 40% Xarello, and 15% Parellada grapes.  It was a medium yellow with a lot of small, persistent bubbles.  On the nose, there were grapefruits, limes, and mangos.  In the mouth, there are grapefruits, limes, mangos, and bananas with the slightest hint of creaminess.  The wine is light-to-medium bodied and good acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? Sure…you won’t be drinking anything out of the ordinary, but you’ll have a decent, reliable glass of wine. At a suggested retail price of $10, this bubbly offered something a little different with all of the tropical flavors. I enjoyed a few glasses while recovering on the couch with my knitting.  I think it truly shined, though, when mixed it with some orange juice and made mimosas later in the evening.  Before I knew it, I finished my 15k celebration by finishing the whole bottle!

Question of the Day: Do you ever open a bottle of sparkling wine just because you feel like it or does it tend to be something you save for special occasions?

Suggested Retail Price: $10
Received as a sample.
Overall: 3 Corks

New Year’s Eve-Eve Bubbly Celebration

I ended up working the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and oddly enough, as the week has progressed, more and more of my coworkers returned to work.  What started out as a ghost town on Monday became a practically crowded office by Thursday.  Admittedly, much of the day was spent catching with the coworkers on a week’s worth of holiday festivities, travel war stories, and DC’s Flurrypocolapse 2010—the snow storm that never hit DC.  However, by mid-afternoon, people started drifting out, so I joined them with the hope of running a few errands and getting a quick run my planned New Year’s Eve-Eve get together with five ladies in my building.  And what would a New Year’s Eve-Eve gathering be without bubbly?  So, we each brought a bottle of sparkling wine to share, along with a few fun things to snack on throughout the evening.

Althea
$14
Prosecco
Greenish-yellow
Nectarines and limes
Very dry, not sweet, refreshing, and absolutely gorgeous
Overall: 4.5 Corks

Louis Bouillot Blanc de Blancs
$15
95% Chardonnay and 5% Aligoté grapes
Medium lemon, lots of persistent bubbles
Peaches and grapefruits
Yeasty, bubbly goodness
Overall: 4 Corks

Cupcake Vineyards (winery, snooth)
$10
Prosecco
I actually enjoyed this bottle more than the one I opened earlier in the week.  This bottle had significantly more bubbles, while maintaining the fun taste I found in the other bottle.
Overall: 3.5 Corks

Louis Bouillot Rosé
$15
Crémant de Bourgogne
80% Pinot Noir and 20% Gamay grapes
Light salmon, some small persistent bubbles, touch cloudy
Strawberries, raspberries, limes, herbs, touch of toast
Dry, light body,
nice
Overall: 3 Corks

1+1=3 (winery, snooth)
$14
Cava
45% Xarel-lo, 30% Parellada, and 25% Macabeo grapes
Medium-to-dark gold
Almonds, coconut…reminded me a little of a sparkling sherry
Dry, medium body
Different, by not my style
Overall: 2.5 Corks

I’m a little late in saying this, but HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Would You Like Some Cava With Your Ginger?

**I received this wine as a sample**

Tuesday was one of those days where the office was quiet, so I was able to accomplish a number of smaller projects that I hadn’t had the time to tackle.  I spent most of the day reading reports and studies, which meant that I was immersed in so much data that by the time I left work I didn’t want to open a book or look at anything with numbers.  Since I was home before Hubby, I went for a quick run before opening a bottle of sparkly and waiting for him to cook dinner.

Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvée Brut

The Freixenet Elyssia Gran Cuvée Brut (winery) was made with 40% Chardonnay, 30% Macabeo, 20% Parellada, and 10% Pinot Noir grapes and had a light, lemon-yellow color.  On the nose, there were bright lemons, limes, and nectarines, mixed with a touch of apples, pears, and ginger.  In the mouth, there were limes, nectarines, and pears up front, with a lot of ginger and spice lingering on the finish.  The sparkler had strong, persistent bubbles with good acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? Eh…if you have a bottle on hand, drink it, but I wouldn’t go searching it out either. At $22, this bubbly just had too much ginger for me to enjoy it.  I much prefer the Freixenet Elyssia Pinot Noir Brut (my review), the Freixenet Cordon Rosado Brut (my review), and the Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut (my review), all three of which are less expensive and far more satisfying.  So, if you’re looking for a good Freixenet Cava, grab one of the two rosés or the Cordon Negro Brut.  The extra $5-$10 for the Elyssia Gran Cuvée Brut just isn’t worth it.

Price: $22 (suggested retail price)
Received as a sample
Overall: 2.5 Corks

Bubbly & BBQ Bash…The Results

Last Wednesday was my condo associations’ big holiday party—the Bubbly & BBQ Bash. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve written up several wines (here, here, and here) that I decided against having at the party for a variety of reasons. It should be no surprise that several readers have contacted me to ask if I planned on sharing what sparkling wines I finally decided to offer, and of course I plan to share! I wouldn’t want to miss the opportunity to share sparkling wines, particularly since they are my admitted weakness.

As the association’s social committee chairperson, it was my job to plan all aspects of the party, not just the wine. Last year, we had Red, Hot, & Blue BBQ, which was a huge success. Up until that time, it was our largest community party and there were hardly any leftovers. I decided that there was no reason to mess with a good thing, so Red, Hot, & Blue was on the menu again this year. The challenge came with finding the sparkling wine because, to be honest, bubbly isn’t exactly what comes to mine when you think about eating BBQ. However, it’s a surprisingly good pairing and all the residents were thrilled. We had more people at this year’s holiday party than ever before!

As I researched sparklers for the evening, I was looking for two types of wines—ones that would act as good palette cleansers and ones that would pair well with the food itself. I also wanted wines that were a variety of price ranges and were fairly easy to find. I wrote up festive tasting notes, with a picture of each bottle’s label in order to make it easier for anyone who wished to purchase the wines at any of our local wine stores. In the end, we offered 6 sparkling wines—2 Champagnes, 2 Cavas, 1 Prosecco, and 1 California sparkling wine. I rated all of the wines with 4 corks or above, and they are all bottles that I drink in my own house.

The 2 Champagnes were fairly traditional—Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut NV (5 corks) and Montaudon Extra-Dry (4.5 corks). The Veuve Clicquot was one of the favorites of the night, although the Montaudon was not far behind. The fresh, brightness of both helped awaken taste buds between the pulled pork and pulled chicken.

The 2 Cavas were Segura Viudas Brut Reserve (4 corks) and Mont-Ferrant Brut Rosé (4 corks). The Segura Viudas, which I’ve reviewed before, served as a palette cleanser and the Mont-Ferrant was a nice accompaniment with the BBQ. As a heavier sparkling wine, the Mont-Ferrant has enough body and complexity that it didn’t get lost in the strong flavors of the BBQ, but rather added a nice, almost fruity compliment. It was definitely the sparkling wine that caused the most discussion, as people either absolutely loved it or hated it. The people who loved it seemed to come back for more at the expense of drinking the other wines and the people who hated it dumped it out after a few sips.

The Prosecco—Canella Prosecco di Conegliano (4.5 corks)—is another wine that I’ve reviewed in the past. This sparkler has a beautiful fruitiness that, when combined with its crisp acidity, worked well as an apéritif.

Finally, the California sparkling wine—Korbel Brut Rosé—was a nice, light rosé that both complimented the BBQ or was enjoyable once finished eating.

It’s a slight departure from my usual presentation, but in the spirit of the holidays, here are images of the tasting notes we used.