Hello friends. It’s almost that time of year again—the six straight weeks where you’re forced to eat your weight in roasted birds, imbibe alcohol nightly at countless holiday parties, don ugly sweaters, cut construction paper into various festive shapes, and try to stay sane while listening to your relatives’ hot takes on politics. It all starts in less than a month with the first event: Thanksgiving.
Oh Thanksgiving. Take one part thoughtful occasion to step back with friends and family and give thanks for all we hold dear; one part excuse to drink heavily in the company of loved ones; a dash of 3am Black Friday shopping; add a pinch of salt and a half cup of heavy whipping cream; stir.
In my household, Thanksgiving was always an excuse for my dad to open magnums of California Zin and my mom to gleefully force every guest to go around the table and share what they were thankful for. While I still follow my family’s examples for expertly crafted turkey and slight emotional coercion, the wine list has changed drastically. You will not find many beefy red wines on my Thanksgiving table. Thanksgiving is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s a holiday that calls for affable wines that will help you thrive for 12 hours in the face of well-meaning family members; you need wines that are your friends.
So, we have a Thanksgiving six pack of obliging buddies for you this year. All of these wines follow three simple rules to ensure a successful dinner:
1. Moderate alcohol.
Remember: marathon, not a sprint. You want to be buzzed enough to hear Uncle Bruce’s opinions about the recent midterms without losing your mind, but you don’t want to be passed out before the cranberry sauce slithers out of the can.
2. High acid.
One look at the smorgasbord that is the Thanksgiving table is enough to make a trained wine professional turn to beer. Or whiskey. But no! Said trained wine professional will then remember that the hallmark of a versatile wine is acidity, and if high versatility is needed on Thanksgiving, then high acid is needed on Thanksgiving, enough acid to cleanse that battered palate and prepare it for the next round of culinary abominations.
3. Moderate price.
Thanksgiving is, statistically speaking, the most likely day of the year to host someone who will drop an ice cube (or two) into their wine, someone who will mix their wine with Sprite, and/or someone who will mix their red and white to make “moonshine rosé.” This is not the day to bust out the Grand Cru Burgundy; this is the day to seek out values. You won’t see a TPU price above $20 today.
Without further ado, here is this year’s six-pack of Thanksgiving wines:
NV Domaine du Prieure Cremant de Bourgogne
The first drink you have on Thanksgiving day should be a Kir Royale. (Maybe even before any of your guests arrive). This lovely, low-alcohol apéritif oozes with festive holiday charm. Ingredient #1 for a Kir Royale is usually Champagne. However, we’re trying to keep Thanksgiving affordable, and Domaine du Prieure’s Cremant drinks like a baby Champagne at a fraction of the cost. This is 70% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, and 5% Aligote, grown on soils of brown marl, white marl and shattered limestone. The nose combines white peach fruit, lemon meringue, roasted almonds, flaky croissant, and chalky mineral. So appetizing. In the mouth, this has a fine mousse, rippin’ acidity, and a wonderful palate-staining character with a touch of fruit. Delicious on its own, or as the aforementioned Kir Royale, mixed with the next bonus wine.
NV Domaine du Prieure Creme de Cassis de Dijon
You can’t have a Kir Royale without the Cassis This is far afield from the usual wines we offer, so I’ll let the folks at Prieure explain the process: Made from macerated, real blackcurrants (a woody shrub grown for its piquant berries) rather than flavorings and, the addition of the name Dijon means that the currants (“cassis”) used were grown only in the commune of Dijon. These currants are picked quickly at their peak ripeness and are immediately immersed in alcohol where they macerate for 3 months. Sugar is then added to balance out the tart flavor of the currants – it also makes the liqueur syrupy. Production is completely natural from start to finish; no fruit juice additives, colorings or flavorings of any kind are permitted. More than 13 pounds of fruit are used to produce each bottle.
As you can imagine, this smells and tastes mostly like… wait for it… blackcurrants. Blackcurrants with a bit of woodsy charm. Crème de cassis is often used as a descriptor for Cabernet Sauvignon aromas, so if you like the smell of Cab, you’ll probably like the smell of this. The palate is dark, sweet, and tangy—a delightful addition to a glass of bubbly. You can also sip a little of this after dinner, either on its own, or with a nice cheese (Delice de Bourgogne if you want to keep it all in the Burg family). Heavenly.
NV Les Vignobles de Jacques Cremant de Limoux Rose
You’ve had your Kir, now it’s on to the bottle you should open when your guests arrive—something to keep everyone entertained because the turkey is definitely not done yet. Deep in southwest France sits Limoux, a sparkling wine enclave of Languedoc-Roussillon. Southeast of Toulouse, and closer to Barcelona than Paris, Limoux sits within the cooler foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains. This region’s sparkling wines may be the oldest on official record. A regional legend says that Dom Pérignon actually got the idea of the Champagne method from passing through Limoux. Whether that story is true or not doesn’t really matter; what matters is that the sparkling wines of Limoux are delicious and worth knowing for any bubble head.
This bottling is a special one, a one-time thing. It’s made by a well-known Domaine in Limoux—which must remain nameless—for one of our local distributors. It’s made using the Traditional Method, and the grapes are 60% Chardonnay, 25% Chenin Blanc, and 15% Pinot Noir. It clocks in with 12% listed alcohol and opens with plentiful fresh raspberries, ripe honeycrisp apples, lemon curd, marcona almonds, earthy leaves, and subtle salty-sweet brioche. On the palate, it’s impeccably elegant—a vibrant sparkling with creamy texture and downright tingly bubbles. There’s a subtle earthiness from the Pinot Noir that accentuates this bottle’s charm. It’s a celebration-worthy bottle to drink before, during, and after the Thanksgiving feast.
2017 Jules Taylor Sauvignon Blanc
We had the pleasure of meeting Jules Taylor earlier this fall, and if I could invite one extra person to my Thanksgiving table it would be her. Born in Malborough in the year that grapes were first planted there, Jules took on a post-grad degree in viticulture and winemaking at Lincoln University in New Zealand. She then went on to work eight vintages in Italy before returning to Marlborough and becoming the winemaker for Kim Crawford, where she worked for almost a decade before going off on her own. Jules has one of the most impressive resumés in New Zealand. Marlborough is in her blood, and she knows how to make wine that’s representative of the place she calls home. What I want to share with you today is a quote from Jules—one that feels entirely appropriate for Thanksgiving. “Italy brought home to me the importance of enjoying great wine with the people you love in a place that’s important to you. Drinking wine should be less about status and more about creating good memories.” If that isn’t exactly what Thanksgiving is about, I don’t know what is.
Wine Enthusiast (Christina Pickard): “[TEXT REDACTED]”
2016 Guy Saget Vouvray Marie de Beauregard
The Saget family has been making wine in the Loire Valley since 1790 with a number of estates along the river, from Angers to Sancerre. They are one of only a handful of domaines that can say they’ve been in the Loire wine business for three successive centuries. This Vouvray, 100% Chenin Blanc, is sourced entirely from an estate located in Rochecorbon, a village directly west of the city of Vouvray. Rochecorbon sits along the north bank of the Loire River, equal distance between the city of Tours and famed Vouvray house, Huet. I drove through there a number of times this past April, most memorably up the winding hills to find the restaurant that had been recommended to our party by our tour guide at Huet.
Vouvray is heralded for its acidity—which makes it a wonderful wine for food pairing. It can handle brined turkey just as well as rye bread and apricot stuffing. It will elevate the usual mashed potatoes and finally make sense out of canned cranberry sauce. This particular bottle is exceptionally suited for Thanksgiving because it walks the fine line between dry and off-dry. Clocking in at 12.5% alcohol, the nose opens with ripe pear, lemon zest, apple chutney, candied ginger, and chalky minerals. The palate is so spirited with acidity that you could almost miss the inherent fruit sweetness of French orchard apples and summer stone fruit. That fresh fruit subtly and deliciously weaves its way through a fresh, silky mouthfeel that will last well past any pumpkin or pecan pie.
2017 Gobelsburg Rose
An ever-popular Austrian import, this wine is nationally loved by restaurants because of its food friendly character. It’s so well-loved by team Full Pull that—for the second year in a row—we’ve purchased all of the remaining bottles in Seattle for this offer. Rosé is wonderful on the Thanksgiving table—and if you can only choose one rosé, let it be from Gobelsburg. The acidity and fruit play off one another so well in this bottling, creating a wine that’s balanced and ready to pair with anything from finger-food to a plate full of Turkey. A blend of Austrian Zweigelt, St. Laurent, and Pinot Noir from Kamptal (an Austrian DAC), this wine clocks in at a friendly 12% alcohol and is truly a universal food companion.
Wine Enthusiast (Anne Krebiehl MW): “[TEXT REDACTED]”
2016 Frederic Sornin Morgon
Thanksgiving is all about family right? Well, Cru Beaujolais has always felt like a precious family secret—a delicious category of high-quality wines at impossibly low prices. Those in the know stock their cellars with Cru Beaujolais, which in a good vintage can age along the lines of high-end Burgundy, and hope that no one figures out that these wines could easily cost double or triple the price.
Frederic Sornin is a ninth-generation vigneron who took over his family’s Beaujolais estate in 1978. This bottling is 100% Gamay, entirely from Morgon, the second-largest cru of Beaujolais. (What are crus? Ten special hillside growing regions in Beaujolais that create intensely complex, compelling Gamay—especially in comparison to the flatlands used for Beaujolais Villages, straight Beaujolais, or Nouveau.) Morgon is known for its granite soils that provide concentration and structure to Beaujolais’ signature floral, spicy fruit.
This is quaffable, gulpable juice that makes you smile—but it’s so much more than that, too. What I like best about Morgon is its crunchy, mineral-drenched berry fruit; a perfect fit for the endless dishes of Thanksgiving day. It’s delicious and juicy, for those at your table who could care less about what they are drinking, but filled with savory intricacies for your nerdiest wine friends. Cru Beaujolais scratches the itch of red wine, but has enough wondrous minerality and rippin’ acidity to keep you afloat during a long meal. This bottle is one of my favorite discoveries this year—this is the only red wine in the six pack and I couldn’t imagine a better one for the Thanksgiving table.