14 Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner

14 Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner – Here are mix of sparkling, rosé, white, and red wine options that would be a wonderful addition to any Thanksgiving Day feast. Plus, 10 of these Thanksgiving wine pairing options are $20 or less, so there is no need to worry about spending a fortune for good wine. Cheers…and Happy Thanksgiving! | AGlassAfterWork.com

14 Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner – Here are mix of sparkling, rosé, white, and red wine options that would be a wonderful addition to any Thanksgiving Day feast. Plus, 10 of these Thanksgiving wine pairing options are $20 or less, so there is no need to worry about spending a fortune for good wine. Cheers…and Happy Thanksgiving! | AGlassAfterWork.com

It’s hard to believe that it’s Thanksgiving time.  Hubby and I are running the SOME Turkey Trot for Hunger 5k before we head to his mother’s, as we usually do.  While there is a lot to be thankful, our holiday festivities will be a lot smaller than previous years.  My sister-in-law moved to the West Coast, so she and her boyfriend won’t be joining.  Hubby’s cousin recently had a baby and decided to host, which means we’ll be missing both his cousin, her husband, and their baby girl, as well as her parents.  And, his grandmother passed away at the end of the summer, so there will be an obvious absence at the table.  Except for his grandmother’s passing, the smaller holiday is actually because of happy reasons, and I’m excited to see our families expand and be successful.  At the same time, though, I will miss the hustle and bustle of the larger dinners that I’ve gotten used to over the years.

That said, smaller numbers means more wine for me!  I’m still debating between a Zinfandel and a Petit Sirah as my big red wine of choice.  If you’re still trying to figure out what to bring, maybe this list of suggestions will inspire you:

Gruet Blanc de Noirs – This $13 bottle of sparkling wine from New Mexico is dry with beautiful, persistent bubbles. The bubbly tastes of berries, baked pears with hints of toast, cream, and vanilla. It’s delicious on its own or mixed with your favorite fruit juice for a champagne cocktail. Rating 4 out 5. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Gruet Blanc de Noirs

The Gruet Blanc de Noirs is full of berry and baked pear flavors mixed with a hint of toast, cream, and vanilla.  It’s a sparkling wine that I’m constantly recommending because it’s available throughout much of the country, is a big crowd pleaser, and is very affordable. In this case, though, it’s a particularly nice choice because it pairs will with Thanksgiving dinner. It compliments the turkey, while the bubbles and acidity cut through some of the heavier dishes like the mashed potatoes or green bean casserole. Plus, how often do you get to drink a wine from New Mexico?!? I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $13.

Biutiful Brut Rosé Cava – At $14 a bottle, this sparkling rose wine from Spain is perfect for any season. Whether it’s opened during a summer picnic with friends over a basket of prosciutto and cheese or during a Thanksgiving feast with family, this food-friendly bubbly is easily drinkable and is full of festivity and fun. Ratings 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Biutiful Brut Rosé Cava

The Biutiful Cava Brut Rosé (snooth) is a Spanish sparkling wine from Spain with tart raspberries and strawberries characteristics that mix with hints of peaches and cream. The wine had a light-to-medium body, has good acidity, and goes down very smoothly. It would go nicely with appetizers like a crab or spinach dip, as well prosciutto and cheese plates, while being able to transition nicely into a dinner time sparkler to pair with the turkey dinner, particularly if you’re having fried turkey. All in all,  this rose Cava is easily drinkable, food-friendly, and very affordable. I gave this wine 3.5 corks and purchased it for $14.

Storybook Mountain Zin Gris- At $25, this dry rosé wine from California is everything a pink wine should be. It’s a nice mixture of cranberries, limes, and thyme; it’s food-friendly; and it’s easy to drink. It would be the perfect wine for any picnic or cookout. Rating: 4.5 Corks out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Storybook Mountain Zin Gris

The Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zin Gris (winery) is Zinfandel rosé that is not a “White Zinfandel.” It’s a dry wine that’s full of cranberry, lime, and thyme flavors, which will mix nicely with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner side dishes like stuffing and cranberry sauce. Plus, the bright acidity of the wine will help cut through some of the more butter-laden goodness like macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes without overpowering them. I gave this wine 4.5 corks and purchased it online through the vineyard for $19.

2015 Klinker Brick Winery Rosé – At $15, this California rosé wine is a perfect summer porch sipper with a nice quality/price ratio. Rating: 4 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Klinker Brick Winery Rosé

The 2015 Klinker Brick Winery Rosé (winerysnooth) is a light bodied wine that is beautifully fresh tasting, with lots of grapefruit characteristics mixed with hints of tart raspberry and flowers. This wine is an easy sipper that would compliment both appetizers and the main feast, particularly for the wine drinker that prefers lighter, crisp styles. I gave this wine 4 corks and tasted it the winery during the 2016 Wine Bloggers’ Conference. It has a great quality/price ratio with an SRP of $15.

2015 Vasco Urbano Wine Company – At $24, this California rose from the Livermore Valley is light bodied and nicely balanced. It’s perfect for a cheese board or some porch sipping, and it will carry over nicely into the fall. You might even want to consider it for your Thanksgiving table. Rating 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Vasco Urbano Wine Company Grenache Rose

The Vasco Urbano Wine Company’s 2015 Ghielmetti Vineyards Grenache Rosé (winery) has quickly become one of my favorites. It’s light body, bright acidity, and beautiful balance makes it a wine that is enjoyable both on its own and with food. It’s a particularly nice option for Thanksgiving because it will compliment the turkey, while keeping your mouth fresh and ready for the next bite. I gave it 4.5 corks and tasted it the winery during the 2016 Wine Bloggers’ Conference. It has an SRP of $24.

2014 Chateau St. Michelle Cold Creek Riesling – At $20, this white wine from Washington state would be the perfect wine for a summer salad, cold chicken, or just to sip on with good friends and conversation. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Chateau St. Michelle Cold Creek Riesling

The 2014 Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Riesling (winery)has the slightest touch of sweetness, but when combined with a nice acidity, the wine is refreshing and incredibly drinkable. The wine has aromas and flavors of ripe peaches and apricots mixed with honey and a hint of ginger., which will bring warmth to the turkey dinner and all it’s dishes. The wine would be particularly nice with a fried turkey. I gave this wine 4 Corks and purchased it for $20.

2014 Clarksburg Chenin Blanc – This $18 white wine from California would be good any time of year and is absolutely wonderful on its own, but makes a particularly delicious addition to a Thanksgiving feast. It’s the epitome of what every Thanksgiving Dinner pairing should be! The magnetic wine charm is by Simply Charmed and part of the “Tom Turkey” set. Rating 4.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Clarksburg Wine Company Chenin Blanc and Simply Charmed magnetic wine charms

The 2014 Clarksburg Chenin Blanc (winery) is everything I want in a Thanksgiving Day wine. I’m actually sorry that I opened my final bottle last week because it means I won’t have another to open when Hubby and I do our own Thanksgiving. That said, I did enjoy my bottle with turkey-stuffed acorn squash, and the pairing was out-of-this-world. The juicy stone fruit combined with hints of melon and wax enhanced the sweetness of the squash, while nice acidity of the wine helped keep the turkey and rice mixture inside the squash from being too heavy and dense tasting. It was the type of pairing where I was literally alternating between a bit of dinner and a sip of wine. So grab this wine today! I gave this wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $18.

(And as a side note, while I’ll be doing a separate blog post that will include a giveaway to one lucky reader, if you’re looking for fun, magnetic wine charms to help with glass identification when you’re entertaining or if you’re just feeling festive and want to fancy-up your wine glass, I highly recommend Simply Charmed. My glass of Chenin Blanc is rocking one from the “Tom Turkey” charm set that I received as a sample.)

2014 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay – At $18, this California white wine is very smooth and is a perfect food wine. Rating: 3.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay

The 2014 Concannon Vineyard Chardonnay (winerysnooth) is a smooth, food-friendly wine that embodies the nice balance a Chardonnay should have. It’s full of apple and pear flavors, but only has a touch of oakiness that is reminiscent of chewed on Popsicle stick (but in a good way). People often love or hate Chardonnay, but I would say that regardless of which category you fall into, this is one that is worth trying this Thanksgiving, especially as it will be a nice pairing with buttery mashed potatoes and gravy. I gave it 3.5 corks and tasted it the winery during the 2016 Wine Bloggers’ Conference. It has an SRP of $18.

2014 The Whip– At $24, this white wine blend from California will blow you away. It’s nicely balanced, easy to drink, and is a perfect pairing option for appetizers, dinner, or just talking with friends and family. Rating: 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 The Whip

Murrieta’s Well 2014 The Whip (winery) is a gorgeous blend of grapes. This is a wine that will blow away your Thanksgiving Day guests as it’s a nicely balanced, easy-to-drink wine that has a tart citrus flavor mixed with a hint of creamy sweetness that is unique, but homey all at the same time. The wine is full of flower blossoms, limes, stone and tropical fruits, and honey dew melon and would be a great way to start off the festivities. I gave it 4 corks and tasted it the winery during the 2016 Wine Bloggers’ Conference. It has an SRP of $24.

Albinea Canali Lambrusco “FB” Metodo Ancestrale -- This $20 bottle of sparkling wine from Italy is a dry wine, although the strawberry flavors are juicy and sweet. It would make a perfect pairing with Easter ham or Thanksgiving turkey. Rating 4 out of 5. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Albinea Canali Lambrusco “FB” Metodo Ancestrale

The Albinea Canali Lambrusco “FB” Metodo Ancestrale is a semi-sparkling, dry Lambrusco with a medium pink color rather than the sweeter, inky purple wine people often associate with Lambrusco. The “FB” has juicy strawberry flavors mixed with hints of bread crust and touch of tartness that will make a nice pairing with turkey. I gave it 4 corks, and while I received it as a sample, the suggested retail price is $20.

2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau – At $16, this light-bodied red wine from France is a food-friendly wine that will please almost every wine drinker. So, as you’re starting to think about holiday parties and dinners, this is one to keep in mind. Rating 4 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau

No Thanksgiving celebration is complete without at least one bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau. I haven’t had a chance to open my bottle of Georges Duboeuf yet, but I did taste the 2016 Domaine des Terres Dorées “L’Ancien” Vieilles Vignes Beaujolais Nouveau and was a fan. A nose full of strawberries and cream mixed with hints of late bloom rose petals. In the mouth, there are tart strawberries and raspberries, as well as hints of cranberries and roses. The wine is light bodied with light tannins and a good acidity that makes it food friendly and gives surprising structure to a wine that is so young. It also makes we want to try the winery’s regular Beaujolais, which I’m sure would also make for a nice addition to the Thanksgiving table. I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $16.

2015 Altovinum Evodia Garnacha - This red wine from Spain can be found for under $10, but your guests will never guess because it is a luscious, versatile wine. Whether opening it over appetizers, a dinner of white or red meat, or just open a bottle in front of a cozy fire with friends, it’s hard to beat this quality price ratio. Rating: 4 out of 5. | AGlassAfterWork.com

2015 Altovinum Evodia Garnacha

The 2015 Altovinum Evodia Garnacha is one of the more versatile wines I’ve had, as I think it would pair nicely with white or red meat. In the case of Thanksgiving, the cherry, raspberry, and cranberry characteristics blend nicely with cinnamon, rose petals and hints of tobacco to make a wine that is exactly what you want to pair with turkey and cranberry sauce. It’s also a wine that has a wonderful quality/price ratio. I gave it 4 corks, and while I received it as a sample, the suggested retail price is $11, but a little research makes it look like you can find it for under $10.

2013 Valle Dell'Acate "Il Moro" Nero d'Avola - This $17 red wine from Italy is a little sharp to drink on its own, but it pairs beautifully with some homemade Italian cooking or a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Rating: 3.5 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

2013 Valle Dell’Acate “Il Moro” Nero d’Avola

The 2013 Valle Dell’Acate Il Moro Nero d’Avola (winery) is a wine that was definitely meant to pair with food. While I was not as much of a fan of drinking it on its own, it was absolutely outstanding with the turkey-stuffed acorn squash that Hubby made for dinner last week. The nice tart blackberries and licorice mix with hints of blueberries and cedar in a way that would be a perfect pairing for sweet potato casserole. I gave this wine 3.5 corks, and while I received it as a sample, the suggested retail price is $17.

2012 Valletta Barbera d'Alba - This $25 bottle of red wine from Italy is delicate and intense, making it perfect for Easter or Thanksgiving dinner, particularly if you’re serving lamb or turkey. Rating 4.5 out of 5. | AGlassAfterWork.com

2012 Valletta Barbera d’Alba

The 2012 Valletta Barbera d’Alba (winery) is a red wine I open in my house regularly, as it’s seductive and food-friendly without being overly expensive. It’s a deep ruby color with flecks of garnet that I love looking at in my glass. And, the cherry and plum notes mix with an earthiness and something toasty to make a medium-to-full bodied wine with velvety tannins that just scream to be paired with a Thanksgiving dinner. I gave it 4.5 corks and purchased it for $25.

2014 Portalupi Dolinsek Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel – This $48 red wine from California lingers in the mouth, get more and more flavorful as time passes. It’s a wine meant for enjoying over a leisurely feast with family and friends. Rating: 4.5 out of 5. | AGlassAfterWork.com

2014 Portalupi Dolinsek Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel

Drinking Zinfandel with a Thanksgiving dinner is like eating peanut butter with jelly…the two are practically made to go together. And, the 2014 Portalupi Dolinsek Ranch Old Vine Zinfandel (winery) is a particularly good option because the medium-bodied wine is full of blackberry, raspberry, and cranberry flavors that hint at pine trees and baking spices. What’s particularly wonderful about the wine is it lingers in the mouth, get more and more flavorful. This Zinfandel will help bring out the deep flavors in the turkey (especially if you’re a dark meat lover), as well as in side dishes like the sweet potato casserole. It’s perfect for eating a leisurely feast with family and friends. I gave it 4.5 stars, and while I received this wine as a present, it looks like it sells for about $48.

Question of the Day:  Have you picked our your Thanksgiving wines?  What are you planning to serve?

Lambrusco Tasting at Osteria Morini

6 Lambrusco, Italian Sparkling Red Wines – Ranging from $7-$25, these wines range from dry to sweet, as well as from pale in color like a rose to inky purple like a sparkling red wine. All 6 wines are easy to drink and are perfect for pairing with food. The blog post includes details from a wine pairing dinner. | AGlassAfterWork.com

6 Lambrusco, Italian Sparkling Red Wines – Ranging from $7-$25, these wines range from dry to sweet, as well as from pale in color like a rose to inky purple like a sparkling red wine. All 6 wines are easy to drink and are perfect for pairing with food. The blog post includes details from a wine pairing dinner. | AGlassAfterWork.com

Banfi’s Lambrusco seminar at the 2015 Wine Bloggers Conference (WBC15) inspired the focus for this year’s tasting. In the WBC15 session, I learned that Lambrusco is the most purchased Italian red wine in U.S. retail chain stores. And, I realized that while I love ordering Lambrusco out at restaurants, I knew very little about the wine, I rarely bought a bottle to drink at home, and even less frequently wrote about it on the blog. So, I decided while still at the conference that 2016 was the year I would publically embrace Lambrusco, and what better way to do that than by organizing a Lambrusco wine dinner for my work colleagues.

Setup at Osteria Morini for 2016 Lambrusco Tasting

Setup at Osteria Morini for the Lambrusco tasting

At least once a year, my department does a team-building event. Several months after I started at this job, I offered to do an Albariño wine tasting for one of these gatherings. Since then, our annual staff bonding has occurred over food and wine. Usually, it’s just for the 15 people in my division that are located in DC. This year, however, the tasting ended up being while the regional members of our team were in town, so our size actually doubled. None of my coworkers are wine experts and only a couple could even recall ever having a Lambrusco before our dinner.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the wine, Lambrusco is a sparkling red wine made from a family of grapes that are unique to the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. This northern part of the country is about the size of Massachusetts and is particularly well known for the food that comes from the area. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Lambrusco makes for a perfect wine pairing with many of these items.

As luck would have it, one of my favorite Italian restaurants in DC–Osteria Morini–specializes in food from the Emilia-Romagna, so there was no question about holding the wine tasting dinner there.

Lineup for 2016 Lambrusco Tasting

Lambrusco tasting lineup

There were 6 different Lambruschi (the plural of Lambrusco), ranging from dry to sweet, as well as from pale in color like a rose to inky purple like a sparkling red wine.

Donelli Lambrusco di Sorbara

Donelli Lambrusco di Sorbara

Donelli Lambrusco di Sorbara (winery)
SRP: $15 (purchased in restaurant for $40 a bottle)
Grapes: 90% Lambrusco di Sorbara and 10% Lambrusco Salamino
Medium pink color with flecks of ruby and a pale pink foam
Roses and violets mixed with strawberries and raspberries
Lighter bodied with bright acidity.
3.5 Corks

Albinea Canali "FB" Lambrusco

Albinea Canali “FB” Lambrusco

Albinea Canali “FB” (winery, snooth)
SRP: $20 (*provided as a sample)
Grapes: 100% Lambrusco Sorbara
Pinkish-red
Fresh and fruity with lots of strawberries and hints of yeastiness that comes from the second fermentation in the bottle
Lighter bodied with refreshing tartness
Dry
4 Corks

Albinea Canali Ottocentonero

Albinea Canali Ottocentonero

Albinea Canali Ottocentonero (winery, snooth)
SRP: $20 (*provided as a sample)
Grapes: 50% Lambrusco Salamino, 40% Lambrusco Grasparossa, and 10% Lancellotta
Darker ruby with hints of purple and a pinkish foam
Cherries and blackcurrant on the nose
Flower petals and sour cherry in the mouth
Dry, almost bitter finish with bright acidity, but pleasantly so.
3.5 Corks

Riunite

Riunite

Riunite (website, snooth)
SRP: $7 (*provided as a sample)
Grapes: Lambrusco Maestri, Lambrusco Marani, Lambrusco Salamino, Lambrusco Montericco, and Lancellotta
Dark ruby with hints of violet and purplish, foamy top.
Big and fruity—strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and cherries
Medium bodied with soft tannins.
Sweet
4.5 Corks

Fattoria Moretto Lambrusco Grasparossa

Fattoria Moretto Lambrusco Grasparossa

2013 Fattoria Moretto Monovitigno
Cost: $25 from Wine Library
Grapes: 100% Lambrusco Grasparossa
Dark, purplish ruby with a nice foam top
Mixture of strawberries and blackberries with hints of sour cherry, rose petals, and something herby
Medium bodied with soft tannins
Hint of sweetness
4.5 Corks

Bell'Agio

Bell’Agio

Bell’Agio (website, snooth)
SRP: $15 (*provided as a sample)
Grapes: Lambrusco Salamino and Lambrusco Grasparossa
Dark ruby with hints of purple and foamy top
Mixture of raspberry and blackberries
Full-bodied with a bit of acid and soft tannins
Luscious and sweet
4 Corks

2016 Lambrusco Tasting Menu at Osteria Morini

2016 Lambrusco Tasting Menu at Osteria Morini

What I still love about these wine dinners is that they’re not just about the wines, but also about experiencing the wines with good food and company. And, the restaurant definitely didn’t let us down when it came to good food.

cheese and charcuterie board

cheese and charcuterie board

The evening started with a cheese and charcuterie board to go with our first Lambrusco–the Donelli Lambrusco di Sorbara, which is the only bottle we opened from the restaurants wine list. The Lambrusco and the boards were enjoyed cocktail hour style, with everyone standing our talking, eating, and sipping away. After that, we sat down to dinner at two long tables, where we indulged in a 4-course, family style dinner.

The Antipasti Course - Polpo alla Piastra, Polpettine, and Burrata

The Antipasti Course – Polpo alla Piastra, Polpettine, and Burrata

After the about 30 minutes of standing around talking, we settled into our seats for dinner. The Albinea Canali “FB” was served with the antipasti course–Polpo alla Piastra (charred octopus, fregola, and tomato); Polpettine (mortadella & prosciutto meatballs, pomodoro), which is one of my favorite dishes at Osteria Morini, and Burrata (house-made mozzarella, grapefruit, and pistachio). The FB is a lighter, drier style of Lambrusco. And, while the FB paired nicely with all three dishes, I could not get enough of combining it with the octopus. I kept taking a sip of wine, then a bit of octopus, and another sip of wine. It was one of the few dishes I went back for seconds on, even knowing how much more food was left to come.

The Primi course (rigitoni, gramigna, and cassarecce) with the Albinea Canali Ottocentonero

The Primi course (rigitoni, gramigna, and cassarecce) with the Albinea Canali Ottocentonero

For the second course (or Primi course), we opened the Albinea Canali Ottocentonero to drink with three different pasta dishes–a Rigatoni (made with braised wild mushrooms, rosemary oil, and parmigiano), a Gramigna (made with pork sausage, carbonara, and pecorino), and a Cassarecce (a squid ink pasta with scallops, squid, rapini, and calabrian chili). The Gramigna is usually my go-to dish at the restaurant, but I think that’s because I never had the Cassarecce before. The Cassarecce was my favorite of the night, and when put with the acidity and flavors of the Lambrusco, both the food and the wine came to life in a way that took what was already enjoyable individually and just made them sing together.

The main course (or secondi) actually featured two Lambruschi–Riunite and 2013 Fattoria Moretto Monovitigno–and they were paired with several different types of meats–Anatra (duck breast, spaetzle, trumpet mushrooms, spinach, radish); Branznio (Mediterranean seabass, chickpeas, charred broccoli, taggaisca olives, and bagna cauda); and Grigliata Mista (lamb porterhouse, pork ribs, chicken sausage, and hanger steak). Our side dishes, which I somehow missed getting a picture of, were Patata Fritti (crispy red bliss potatoes with pecorino) and Spinaci (buttered spinach).

The Secondi Course - Anatra, Branzino, and Grigliata Mista

The Secondi Course – Anatra, Branzino, and Grigliata Mista

The Riunite has a bit of sweetness, definitely more than the Fattoria Moretto Monovitigno, but that made the pairings even more interesting because everyone agreed that both wines matched the food beautifully. Several coworkers mentioned that they never really experienced a “good” pairing and the difference it can make in how the wine and the food both taste, but that this course really highlighted the possibilities for them.

It’s also worth noting that during this course, we tasted both the least and most expensive wines of the night. Interestingly, they were also both the favorite wines of the night. When it came to these two in particular, since we were tasting side-by-side, I asked everyone to show their hand for preferences before reveling the cost of the retail cost of the wines, and it was split almost exactly down the middle.

Dolci course with the Bell'Agio

Dolci course with the Bell’Agio

Finally, we finished the evening off with our last Lambrusco–the Bell’Agio–and dessert (Dolci course). This Lambrusco was the sweetest of the night, and its sweetness was particularly nice with the flavors of the Tiramisu (mascarpone mousse, lady finger, amaretto, and coffee crema) and Torta al Cioccolato (chocolate ganache and praline crunch).

Overall, the tasting was a huge success! I’ve had several coworkers follow-up when they’ve ordered Lambrusco at a restaurant or bought a bottle to share at home, and that is the ultimate sign of success for me. A special thanks to Joe and Dino at Banfi for generously providing 4 of the 6 wines we tasted and to Jonna, Rubio, and the rest of the Osteria Morini DC team for an unforgettably delicious evening.

Question of the Day: Have you ever had Lambrusco? If so, what are your thoughts on the type of wine? Do you have a favorite?