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?

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.

Starting the Day Off Right…With Cava

The second day of The Wine Academy of Spain’s Spanish wine course couldn’t have started any better. We spent the early part of the morning learning about Cava, and how can you have a bad day when it begins with bubbly?

Cava is second in the world for sparkling wine sales, and like Champagne (number 1 in the world for sales), it is made using the traditional method. However, while the method for making the sparkling wine may be the same, the grape varieties and the climate of the growing region for Cava are very different. Traditionally, Cava is made with 50% Macabeo (crisp, fresh acid), 30% Xarel-lo (elegance, body, structure), and 20% Parellada (creamy, soft body and delicate aromas) grapes. The climate in Spain is also significantly warmer than the climate in the Champagne region of France. On a very basic level, the Cavas we tasted were much brighter and fruitier than many Champagnes I’ve had, although both have toasty, yeasty characteristics that come from using the traditional method.

Tasting #1 on Day 2

3.5 Corks

Freixenet Cordon Rosado Brut (winery, snooth)
50% Garnacha & 50% Monastrell
Medium pink with a lot of persistent bubbles
Strawberry, raspberry, toast
A touch of creaminess and almost floral finish in the mouth
Very refreshing, good acidity with a slight sweetness

4 Corks

Juvé y Camps Brut Rosé Pinot Noir (winery, snooth)
Medium salmon
Bright red fruits, ripe strawberries, and toast
Very dry and creamy with a slightly bitter finish

Tasting #2 on Day 2

3 Corks

Gramonae III Lustros Gran Reserva (winery, snooth)
50% Macabeo, 40% Xarel-lo, 10% Chardonnay
Pale gold with small bubbles
Cream, buttered toasted, baked apples, caramel, pears on the nose
Apples, pears, bitter herbs in the mouth
Burbon-esque quality
Very different and very complex
Not my style, but good quality

4 Corks

Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut (winery, snooth)
Pale gold with small persistent bubbles
Granny smith apples, pears, toast, yeast, and a touch of herb
Light body, lime-like acid and a long, lingering, yeasty finish

Segura Viudas Brut Reserva (winery, snooth)
Pale-to-medium liquid gold with lots and lots of bubbles
Green apples, toast, yeast, touch of basil
In the mouth, the balance between the fruit and toast flavors is very refreshing
Light-to-medium body, very dry, high acidity

4.5 Corks

Aria Estate Segura Viudas Brut Nature (winery, snooth)
60% Macabeo, 20% Xarel-lo, 20% Parellada
Pale straw color with small, persistent bubbles
Green apples and rosemary with a touch of apricots, toast, and yeast on the nose
Apples, nectarine, and toast in the mouth
Creamy full body, but not aggressive

2004 Juvé Reserva de la Familia Brut Nature (winery, snooth)
33.3% Macabeo, 33.3% Xarel-lo, 33.3% Parellada
Medium lemon, flirting with gold
Sourdough bread, apples, touch of oak, sherry-like finish
Medium body and good acidity
Isn’t crisp, but is still beautiful.

*According to Jesus, this is one of the most traditional brands of Cava. The company uses slightly oxidized wines for dossage, which creates a flavor that shouldn’t be confused with the wine being “cooked.” Jesus said that this is a favorite of “old men in Spain.”

From left to right:

Aria Estate Segura Viudas Brut Nature 2004 Juvé Reserva de la Familia Brut Nature, Gramonae III Lustros Gran Reserva