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Best wines with turkey

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Thanksgiving Wines – Six Pairing Strategies

Thanksgiving! It’s the one day of the year when wine is most likely to appear on American dinner tables. Selecting which wines will best complement your menu and appeal to your guests with individual taste preferences is always a bit challenging.

Turkey is one of the most versatile of meats when it comes to wine. The white meat is light enough to handle white wines, yet flavorful enough to handle lighter more delicate reds. The dark meat can stand up to bold reds. The devil, as they say, is in the details. In this case, wine pairings are complicated by delicious side dishes, type of stuffing or dressing, the gravy and all the trimmings that make Thanksgiving family traditions unique.

So rather than just recommend a few specific wines, we’ve compiled several strategies to follow in planning your holiday wine pairings. Check out the T-U-R-K-E-Y strategies below. One or the other may fit your situation, budget and guests’ taste preferences. As always, you’ll know if it’s a successful pairing when the wine makes the food taste better and the food makes the wine taste better.

Six T-U-R-K-E-Y Wine Pairing Strategies


Champagne or sparkling wine pairs remarkably well with Thanksgiving dishes from turkey to cranberry sauce to stuffing, so it can be enjoyed throughout the meal. Brut is the driest of sparkling wine classifications with no perceptible sweetness. Rosé-style sparkling wines are slightly sweeter and also good choices. Our top pink sparkling wine choice would be a dry sparkling Shiraz. Prosecco is also a good budget choice and somewhat sweeter than other sparkling wines.

Whatever your choice, you can serve sparkling wine throughout dinner. It will morph with your entire menu to produce a spectacular pairing. Be sure to have plenty on hand and make sure to serve it thoroughly chilled.

U – Unique Wine with Each Course

If you’re planning for a party of six to eight guests, you could open a different wine for each course. You might begin with a toast and a celebratory glass of sparkling wine, like Prosecco. and then move to still wines. Generally speaking, the progression of wines throughout the meal will be from white to red, from lighter-bodied to full-bodied, from dry to sweet (i.e. dessert wines).

An interesting choice at this time of year is the new Beaujolais Nouveau from France, which is released every year on November 15. Fruity and flavorful, Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be consumed right away. It does not age well and is just perfectly timed for this holiday feast. Trader Joes and most big and small wine shops will carry Beaujolais Nouveau at a very modest price.

As for which wines to serve with which course, there are no rules. You want to be sure the wine and the dish don’t fight each other with one overpowering the other. Here are a few tried and true pairing ideas:

  • Wine Pairings with Turkey and Dressing: Cabernet Franc, White Burgundy/Bordeaux Blanc/Pouilly Fuisse, Chardonnay with low or no oak,a dry Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Beaujolais Grand Cru, Beaujolais Nouveau, Merlot, Pinot Noir or a fruity Zinfandel.
  • Wine Pairings with Light Side Dishes (like green beans): For something different and delicious, try Albariño or Grüner Veltliner.
  • Wine Pairings with Cranberry Sauce: Prosecco or a fresh-tasting Dry Rosé, both of which pair with the tart and tangy cranberry sauce.

R – Red & White

A good and simple strategy for Thanksgiving wine is to select a very good white and a very good red, offering your guests their choice.

For reds, look for soft tannins that will yield to and blend with your dishes, like Pinot Noir, Syrah, a fruity Zinfandel, Merlot, Beaujolais Nouveaux or a (more expensive) Beaujolais Grand Cru will delight most red wine lovers without overpowering lighter turkey flavors.

For a white wine, look for a wine with well-balanced acidity. Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, an unoaked or low-oak Chardonnay, or Viognier are all good choices for those who prefer traditional white wines. Non-traditional white wines that will work nicely are Albariño and Grüner Veltliner.

K – Know Your Guests

It’s always fine to serve a wine just because you know your guests love it. New wine drinkers, for instance, often prefer “sweeter” wines. While that may not be your first choice, it is always okay to simply consider what your guests would most enjoy and stick with that, unless it really clashes with your meal. In that case, try selecting wines in a similar style that work with your menu. Then it becomes a good opportunity to introduce your guests to something new but similar to what they’ve always enjoyed.

E – Ending on a Sweet Note

Well, what pairs with traditional thanksgiving desserts like Pumpkin or Pecan Pie? We suggest a glass of sweet Moscato, Port or Sherry (fortified wines like Pedro Ximénez or a Cream Sherry). Any “late harvest” wine will be sweet as well. More expensive sweet wine choices include Sauternes or Hungarian Tokai wines. The basic idea is to choose a wine that is as sweet or sweeter than the dessert itself. Otherwise, even a very good wine will come off as bitter or ‘sour’ by comparison. The exception to the rule seems to be sparkling wine or champagne… which pair beautifully with chocolate and most other sweet desserts.

Y – Your Guests Get to Choose!

This is a sure winner! A dear friend and syndicated wine columnist, Jerry Mead, many years ago explained his favorite Thanksgiving wine strategy, as follows:

There was a time when I too (it was a very long time ago) tried to select a wine each year that I thought most likely to work well for everyone, with everything on the table, at a traditional turkey dinner.

Then I got smart. For at least the past 25 years I have been the hero of every family holiday dinner. You too can be a hero if you follow this sage (no play on words intended) advice.

Give every guest at least two wine glasses (even if you have to buy a little additional stemware). Then place on the table at least three different wines, all different in style and color, and let your guests try the different wines with different foods and flavors. Be prepared to declare the first bottle emptied to be the best wine.”

If you’re selecting three or four wines, we suggest:

  • A Dry White: This could be a Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc (Fume Blanc), Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, or even a dry Chenin Blanc. If you live in the Midwest or East, Seyval Blanc or Vignoles are more likely to be available.
  • A Semi-Sweet Wine: Think Riesling, Gewürztraminer, some Rosés and White Zinfandel. These will please beginning wine drinkers who tend to prefer very fruity and slightly sweet flavors, and may actually work best with some of the sweet flavored foods.
  • A Friendly Red: First choice is probably Pinot Noir, but also Gamay, many Merlots and the Beaujolais Nouveaux which are released in mid-November each year.
  • For a fourth wine, you might add a full-bodied red Syrah, Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon

MORE THANKSGIVING & WINE TIPS

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Having a traditional roast or a meal whipped up with leftovers? These are the perfect wine pairings for all your turkey dishes

When you’ve spent hours basting turkey, stirring gravy and shaking trays of roast potatoes, it’s important to serve a wine that helps your festive meal shine. And, while turkey is a versatile meat that goes equally well with fruity, elegant reds as with zingy whites, finding a pairing that compliments all the trimmings – from roast parsnips to creamed sprouts – can be a little trickier.

Victoria Anderson, wine buyer at family-owned retailer Booths, says the key is to select a wine that can stand up to your roast turkey and accompaniments without overwhelming anything on the plate.

“It’s easy to plump for the trusted favourite and not venture out of your comfort zone – Christmas is about traditions after all,” says Victoria. “But with all the effort that goes into preparing the food and festivities at Christmas, it’s nice to give as much consideration to the wine choice too.”

If you’re feeling adventurous you could pick up the E.H.Booth & Co. Wine Adventure gift box from Booths. It contains a collection of Booths own label wines from the extensive in-store range, as does the Chairman’s Selection.

Here are Victoria’s wine suggestions for all your festive feasts, from the main event to leftover spreads eaten in front of the telly.

Traditional Christmas roast

Try: Domaine La Boutinière Châteauneuf-du-Pape, £22.50, Booths

Victoria suggests red Rhone blends, traditionally made with Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes and sometimes labelled “GSM”. “They have enough body and structure to match the robust flavours of a roast but also ripe fruit to match the sweetness of certain accompaniments such as cranberry sauce or chestnut stuffing,” she says. Whites should be full-bodied and on the richer side, like a buttery oaked Chardonnay from Burgundy.

Turkey-breast dinner

Try: Booths Côtes du Rhône, £7, or Booths Fleurie, £10

Lower-fat versions of traditional Christmas dinner can be paired with any of the above recommendations. Or, suggests Victoria, try something a little lighter like a Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc or Beaujolais.

THE NEXT DAY / LEFTOVERS

Try: Booths Verdejo, £7.50

Shredded turkey meat mixed up with chopped onion, coriander and a little chilli will pair beautifully with a Sauvignon Blanc or Verdejo, a bright, zingy white from the Rueda region in north west Spain. Either, Victoria suggests, will “complement the freshness and spice of taco mix”.

Curry

Try: Booths Vouvray Demi-Sec, £10

A rich, spicy turkey curry needs something fresh and aromatic to cut through and complement the flavour and depth. Victoria suggests a Viognier, or a white with a touch of sweetness to balance the heat.

Leftovers spread

Try: Booths Bordeaux Rouge, £8, or Booths Argentinian Malbec, £9.50

That kind-of-random but completely delicious mishmash of turkey meat, stuffing balls, cold roast potatoes, chutneys and pickles can be pulled together by a light, fruity red like Beaujolais, Cabernet Franc of unoaked Malbec. “A buffet-style mixture of food needs something that isn’t too overpowering,” says Victoria.

Thai-style stir-fry

Try: The Crossings Pinot Gris, £11.50, Booths

Chopped turkey breast works beautifully thrown into a stir-fry with crunchy vegetables, fresh chilli and lime. And those lively flavours will pair well with something equally fresh and delicately aromatic, like a Pinot Gris or Grenache Blanc, which has delicate notes of lemongrass.

Turkey noodle soup

Try: Booths Gavi, £8.75

The savoury, meaty flavours of a comforting broth made with the turkey carcass, last bits of meat, veg and noodles, pair well with a crisp white such as an unoaked Chardonnay, Soave or Gavi. The mineral notes and balanced acidity of the latter make it a perky accompaniment to the rich broth.

Wrapped up in perfection

The run-up to Christmas is always magical; from the twinkling lights to delicious seasonal food.

But we all know that celebration can often lead to exhaustion, so this year, why not take the stress out of the kitchen and order your food from Booths.

To find out more on making this an extra-special, hassle-free Christmas, visit orders.booths.co.uk

When it comes to Thanksgiving wine, you have an important choice to make. You can choose one standout versatile wine to serve with the entire meal, from appetizers right on through dessert (and the inevitable post-meal food coma), or you can switch it up each course and try a different wine to highlight each dish’s unique contributions. “Thanksgiving dinner is always a really challenging meal because there are so many different things going on with it. There are a lot of very savory elements, like turkey gravy and stuffing, but it’s also quite rich and there is also a lot of sweetness, so those are all things to consider,” explains Master Sommelier Emily Wines, vice president of beverage experience at Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants. “It’s also a meal that’s not only a dinner, but kind of a protracted epic feast.”

You’ve probably heard the old adage about pairing red wine with red meat and white wine with fish and poultry. But Wines stresses that, “The most important rule of food and wine pairing is that there are no rules, only guidelines. You should not only be matching the body of the wine with the food, but the volume, too,” she explains. “There are foods that are big and loud, like a grilled steak with blue cheese and onions. With that, you’d want a red wine that’s bold and intense. Something that would be heavy and quiet would be pasta Alfredo, with rich but not very intense flavors. So a big, soft, white wine would be a better combination with something like that.” She added that picking wines from the same region as your food (like sake with sushi, for example) is also a good rule of thumb.

Thanksgiving can be a great time to test drive new wines you haven’t tried before, so don’t be afraid to pick up a new and exciting bottle to bring to the feast. Wines likes to drink American on Thanksgiving, a quintessential American holiday. But when choosing a wine to pair with the spread, there’s only one hard-and-fast rule to follow: Pick a wine that your guests will enjoy and you can’t go wrong.

The Best Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner

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Pairing wine with food can be tricky even when a meal is simple. On a holiday like Thanksgiving—when plates are packed with a cornucopia of mains and sides—selecting an appropriate wine can feel downright befuddling.

Rather than trying to match wines to individual flavors or dishes, go for bottles that complement a wide variety of foods. “You need wines that can blanket the entire dinner,” says Andrew Milliorn, wine steward at Mattie’s in Austin, Texas.

Light-bodied red wines that avoid heavy use of oak are a great option, Milliorn says. These wines tend to pack enough fruit and acid to complement but not overshadow a range of dishes and flavors. “French Gamay, especially Cru Beaujolais, is considered a go-to wine when pairing with Thanksgiving dinner,” he says.

Pinot Noir—especially fine-boned and delicate Pinots like many of those made in Oregon’s Willamette Valley—is another great choice. “Pinot Noir is a food friendly wine that often shows classic fall flavors such as cranberry, red apple skin, dried leaves, and allspice,” says Leslie Hartman, sommelier at The French Room in Dallas.

Meanwhile, white wines with a little sparkle and sharpness are also able dance partners when served with a broad range of foods. “Try something young and fresh with ‘green’ notes,” advises Jill Weber, owner of Jet Wine Bar in Philadelphia. Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling are two excellent options.

While fuller-bodied wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are crowd-pleasers, their bold and typically oaky notes are better suited to the roasted red meats of December’s holidays. If you love them, by all means, serve them. But the assorted whites and reds on this list are can’t-miss options for your Thanksgiving table.

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The Four Graces Pinot Noir 2017 ($26)

Flavors of bright-red berries such as turkey-friendly cranberry are prominent in this balanced, subtly spicy Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. Priced under $30, it’s a killer value.
Buy it here

Sidebar High Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017 ($20)

This Sauvignon Blanc from famed California winemaker David Ramey is easy to sip on its own, but it really needs food to show off its best stuff. Bracing and refreshing, it’s a great wine to help clean and refresh your palate between bites (and helpings).
Buy it here

JJ Vincent Cru du Beaujolais Juliénas 2015 ($28)

Fruit, funk, and a hint of smokiness come together beautifully in this smooth Beaujolais. Throw your turkey, ham, or spice-covered vegetable sides at this wine; it will keep on singing.
Buy it here

Beaumont Hope Marguerite Chenin Blanc 2018 ($39)

Tropical but soft, stony and acidic, this South African Chenin Blanc is an absolute knockout. It has the heft to stand up to rich dishes, but it won’t overpower the flavors of milder meats and sides.
Buy it here

Flâneur Wines Cuvée Constantin Pinot Noir 2016 ($40)

This Oregon-based producer uses sustainable, irrigation-free “dry farm” practices, and they also take a gentle approach to wine additives and manipulation. Their 2016 Cuvée Constantin features juicy red fruit and a nice mix of spice and earth. It’s a great mate for food, but it goes down just as well on its own.
Buy it here

Frank Family Vineyards Zinfandel 2016 ($34)

Ripe berries, herbs, and the right ratio of acid-to-tannin make this Zin a perfect partner for the rich flavors and sauces of Thanksgiving. “If Thanksgiving is the most quintessential American holiday, Zinfandels are the most quintessentially American wines,” says Angela Gargano, wine director at Montana’s Triple Creek Ranch. The two are a great match.
Buy it here

Humo Blanco Sauvignon Blanc 2018 $15

This Sauvignon Blanc from Chile’s Colchagua Valley has all the citrus and acid you’re used to from this grape, but there’s an underlying spine of minerals that give this depth and panache.
Buy it here

Amity Vineyards White Pinot Noir 2018 ($19)

This “white” Pinot Noir, which is rosé-hued and made from skinned Pinot Noir grapes, is a juicy and absolutely delectable blend of fruit and minerals. It packs plenty of mouth-clearing acid, but it’s a balanced blockbuster with turkey and fixins.
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Beaux Frères Willamette Valley Pinot Noir 2017 ($70)

Beaux Frères is in the first rank of Oregon Pinot Noir producers, and this wine lives up to their reputation. A harmonious mélange of fruit and flavor, it’s the kind of wine that was meant to be shared with friends and family on a special occasion. If you really want to wow your guests, their iconic Beaux Frères Vineyard Pinot Noir is even more impressive.
Buy it here

Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc 2017 ($29)

For less than $30, few Sauvignon Blancs can compete with this offering from Napa’s Cakebread. Tropical fruit and herbs mingle with white flowers in this excellent wine.
Buy it here

Division Winemaking Company Gamay Noir “Lutte” 2017 ($28)

France’s Beaujolais region is ground-zero for great Gamay wines. But some U.S. producers are making exquisite takes on the traditional French grape, and this wine from Oregon’s Division is a stand-out. Peppy and fruit-forward, it’s a great match for Thanksgiving dinner.
Buy it here

Best Thanksgiving Wines – The 2020 Reverse Wine Snob Picks!

“What are the best wines for Thanksgiving?” It’s a question we get asked a lot. The great thing is that there’s no one perfect wine — there are lots of picks that will do the job, but pairing a wine with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy and more is no easy task either.

In this list we gather some of our very favorite Thanksgiving wines from over the last few years. We cover everything from the obvious (Pinot Noir) to the not so obvious (Rosé) to the mostly unknown (Cinsault and Zweigelt). From reds to whites to rosés to sparkling wines to even a few dessert wines we highlight the wines that should be gracing your table in our best Thanksgiving wines list.

One last note before you dive into our recommendations – always remember rule #2 of our Ten Tenets of Reverse Wine Snobbery. If Moscato or good old Cabernet makes you happy, don’t worry if it’s not on our list, drink what you like (especially on Thanksgiving)!

Read on for our list of The Best Thanksgiving Wines Under $20!

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A Guide to the Best Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner: 18 Options That Won’t Break the Bank

Photo by Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Thanksgiving is a particularly tricky American tradition. You’ve got family and extended family—most of whom may have wildly different food preferences and palates. (And we’re not even counting significant others and friends.)

You’re going to have a mishmash of dishes. There will be chaos in the kitchen. If you happen to be one of the unfortunate guests, the turkey will be ultradry. And of course, there will be the traditional tension between those who are there to feast and those who are there to devour football.

Considering all these factors, there’s only one way to get through it all sans hiccups: Good alcohol for all, to keep spirits up and the festive mood going.

So I enlisted the help of Peppi’s Cellar and Gran Tivoli head sommelier: Luke Sullivan. The 24-year-old Australian native is something of a rarity for his age—a wine prodigy. He’s already completed the introductory and certified exams from the Court of Master Sommeliers. (That was in 2016.) And beyond that he’s also finished levels two and three WSET awards in wine and spirits.

Luke Sullivan—the 24-year-old head sommelier of New York City’s Peppi’s Cellar and Gran Tivoli—is … one of the world’s youngest sommeliers at his level.

Peppi’s Cellar | Gran Tivoli

Here, Sullivan agreed to pick out 17 wines (and one cider) for every kind of Thanksgiving situation—or menu. The requirements were simple enough: All the bottles had to be delicious and well–priced. After all, it’s not like you’re only going to need two bottles. This is America and Thanksgiving is a damn big deal.

And just to be extra helpful for the holidays, Sullivan even included two options to pair with tough, bland, and Sahara–dry turkey—choices that I’m sure a man like the renowned Turkey­–averse writer, Calvin Trillin would appreciate.

CHAMPAGNES + SPARKLING WINES

NV Tissot, Crémant du Jura Rosé, Jura, France ($24): “A more affordable and delicious alternative to Champagne. Perfect for a pre-dinner aperitif but will also carry all the way through Thanksgiving dinner! Its red berry notes will accentuate the cranberry flavors in the dishes,” Sullivan says. “But the freshness and acidity will also act as palate cleansers for richer sauces.”

2018 Lambrusco Cleto Chiarli ‘Vigneto Enrico Cialdini,’ Emilia-Romagna, Italy ($16): “Everyone has their own opinions on Lambrusco, but I think in the right context and when made well it can be the perfect choice, especially over Thanksgiving. The flavors are made to compliment a roast turkey with cranberry sauce. This Lambrusco comes from a small artisan producer in Emilia-Romagna.”

Hermann J. Wiemer 2006 Cuvée Brut, Finger Lakes, New York ($33): “I think it’s important to drink American wine on American holidays. This sparkling wine from the Finger Lakes spent 10 years aging on its lees. It’s textural and can be the perfect starting glass of wine, but would match perfectly with some cheesy potatoes or even mac and cheese.”

NV Moussé Fils, L’Or d’Eugene, ‘Perpetuelle Blanc de Noir,’ Champagne, France ($54): “If it is your first Thanksgiving at your potential future family in-law’s place, you are going to want a good first impression—and bringing a bottle of grower Champagne should do the job,” Sullivan says. “From a small producer, this wine is a blanc de noir, which means it is made from only red grape varieties. And in this instance, almost completely from the variety of Pinot Meunier. The flavors of red plum and delicate floral aromas will be the perfect start to a Thanksgiving dinner or the perfect glass of wine to cleanse the palate after a long dinner.”

WHITES + ROSÉS

2016 Albert Mann Riesling Cuvee Albert, Alsace, France ($26): “This is kind of a ‘diplomatic wine.’ It is guaranteed to be a winner: super versatile and a great food wine, especially with a Thanksgiving classic of Turducken,” Sullivan says. “A slight amount of pleasant residual sugar will complement the white meats with some riper fruit notes and minerality.”

2018 Pascal Jolivet Sancerre, France ($18): “Of course you’re going to eat brussels sprouts on Thanksgiving! so you’re going to need this delicious Sauvignon Blanc from Pascal Jolivet. It is lean, high in acidity, and full of minerality that will work with any green bean salad or brussels sprout dish.”

2018 Bernard Defaix, Petit Chablis, Burgundy, France ($22): “I would stay away from heavily–oaked Chardonnays on Thanksgiving, but this fresh, mineral-driven Chablis will be a great addition to the table. It will match almost everything from your stuffing to deviled eggs.”

2017 Clos Cibonne ‘Tibouren’ Rosé, Provence, France ($28): “I wouldn’t usually go for a light, delicate rosé for Thanksgiving because it’s easily overpowered by the richness of the food.” Sullivan says. “However, this Clos Cibonne Rosé is textural and rich, making it a great food wine for the holidays. Made from the lesser known variety, Tibouren, this is the perfect wine for turkey and cranberry sauce.”

REDS

2018 Kewin Descombes ‘Keke’, Gamay, Beaujolais, France ($20): “If you are a Francophiles celebrating Thanksgiving, this is the wine for you. The high acidity matches perfectly with sweeter sauces and substantial flavors. Its lighter tannin structure and delicate flavors will be pair well with the white meat of the turkey.”

2015 Pierre Gaillard, Saint Joseph Rouge, Rhone Valley, France ($26): “The bolder variety of Syrah will be a match made in heaven if you’re smoking your turkey this Thanksgiving,” Sullivan says. “The meaty and spicy nature of this St. Joseph will accentuate the savory quality of turkey gravy.”

2017 Mac Forbes, Pinot Noir, Yarra Valley, Australia ($27): “This is a safe bet to be a favorite at the Thanksgiving table. From the Land Down Under, this light and bright Pinot Noir will complement casserole and cheesy potatoes. The earthy notes will bring out the best in any sauces but won’t overpower anything.”

2016 Carl Roy East Side Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, USA ($19): “It is patriotic to drink American wine on American holidays, but it can also be more than that: A perfect match,” Sullivan says. “This Cabernet is definite value and will not last long on the table. Black cherries and cassis will be bursting from the glass with a firm tannin structure and high alcohol to match the heavy holiday flavors.”

2016 Clos La Coutale, Malbec, Cahors, France ($16): “Of all the holidays in the year, Thanksgiving is the one that calls for a wine with big personality but a velvety finish. And this French Malbec will hit the spot. From a very well–established producer in the region, this wine will stand up to all the big flavors.”

2012 Latium Morini, Amarone della Valpolicella ‘Campo Leon’, Veneto, Italy ($45): “If you’re serving ham this Thanksgiving, the dried fruit flavors of this Amarone will not disappoint,” Sullivan says. “The cherry and spice flavors of this wine will accentuate the sweetness of the protein. It’s not the most inexpensive wine in the world, but there’s great complexity and length to this wine.”

2015 Ridge, Zinfandel ‘Pagani Ranch’, Napa Valley, California ($34): “Probably the most all-American grape to accompany Thanksgiving would be Zinfandel. This wine from Ridge is a classic, quality, Californian Zinfandel. Thanksgiving spices such as clove and cinnamon will go work well with this wine—and its higher alcohol and richer nature pairs perfectly with turkey.”

TO ALLEVIATE A DRY TURKEY…

2017 Kracher, Cuvée Auslese, Burgenland Austria ($25): “With notes of quince and fresh peach, this wine should relieve the stress of a dry turkey,” Sullivan notes. “A mouth-coating sweetness of this dessert wine will complement the turkey but there is still enough acidity to drink the wine all the way through hours–long Thanksgiving meals.”

2016 Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie, France ($16): “While not made from fermented grapes, but rather fermented apples, this cider will have enough sweetness to keep everyone’s minds off the dry turkey. From a small, artisanal producer made organically with very little chemicals, you will be (almost) guilt-free on Thanksgiving.”

AND FOR DESSERT…

Niepoort, 10 year Tawny Port, Portugal ($24): “By the time it gets to dessert, if you pull out a bottle of Tawny Port to accompany pecan or pumpkin pie there won’t be any complaints,” Sullivan says. “The rich, honeyed flavors will add to the decadent nature of Thanksgiving.”

7 Great Thanksgiving Wines To Choose

Lifestyle November 7, 2016 – Updated on September 14th, 2018

This year there’s lots to be thankful for, particularly for the exceptional recent vintages that offer a spectacular selection of wines to pair with your Thanksgiving feast. We’d like to introduce you to some classic wine choices for Thanksgiving as well as a few new intriguing options that you might not have considered.

Thanksgiving Wine Pairings

Why these pairings work:

If you’re wondering why the following wines were chosen as ideal Thanksgiving matches, let’s take into account what these wines share in common. Each of the following red wines were chosen for their bold, red fruit flavors, subtle earthiness, light tannin, and moderate acidity. Why? Because these traits beautifully complement a traditional Thanksgiving menu and here’s how:

  • Red fruit flavors mimic the tartness of cranberry sauce and match well with autumn spices such as clove, allspice, and cinnamon.
  • Light tannin and moderate acidity pair perfectly with the texture and intensity of turkey.
  • Subtle earthiness complements the earthy, umami-rich flavor of gravy.

Zinfandel could very well be the #1 All-American Thanksgiving wine choice given that it was once the most planted variety in California (prior to the Prohibition era). Here’s how this wine will behave when paired with food:

  • It will amplify Thanksgiving spices such as clove, cinnamon, and allspice.
  • It often adds a touch of smokiness to the taste profile.
  • It’s typically bolder and richer (higher alcohol) and thus, pairs well with dark meat turkey.

Here are a few great American Zin options to get your mouth watering:

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Pinot Noir is the fine-wine lover’s #1 pick for Thanksgiving, which is due (in large part) to the grape’s prestigious pedigree tracing back to Burgundy, France.

  • A great pick for classic Thanksgiving dishes with simple spicing (salt + pepper) or cream based dishes like creamy mashed potatoes or casserole.
  • Pinot works well with both dark and white meat turkey.
  • It will do great to accentuate cranberry-like flavors.

The following wines highlight Pinot Noir’s brilliant red fruit and spice flavors:

Beaujolais

Beaujolais is the Francophiles #1 choice for Thanksgiving wines due to the perfectly timed arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau. This wine is made with 100% Gamay, which has a lot of similarities to Pinot Noir, except with way more bang-for-the-buck. Here’s why:

  • It pairs exceptionally well with wild rice, salads, roasted squash, and cranberries.
  • It balances Thanksgiving dinners that have a high sweetness factor (yams, etc.) with Bojo’s savory and earthy quality.
  • Its lighter, less tannic style works well with white meat turkey.

It turns out that 2016 was a tough year for Beaujolais, so I might steer away from Bojo Nouveau. That said, the Cru Beaujolais wines are incredible:

  1. 2015 Coudert “Cuvée Cristal” Fleurie (Cru Beaujolais ~$20)
  2. 2015 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly (Cru Beaujolais ~$23)
  3. 2009 Savoye “Vieilles Vignes” Morgon Côte du Py (Cru Beaujolais ~$45 1.5L)

GSM/Rhône Blends

This is the wine collector’s top pick for Thanksgiving because bottles are usually best served after aging (anywhere from 4–10 years). A GSM Blend contains Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre as its main ingredients.

  • The bolder blending varieties of Mourvèdre and Syrah make this wine pair well with smoked turkey.
  • The tertiary flavors of fig or dried berries from a properly aged GSM Blend match well with roasted squash and stuffing.
  • The earthy and meaty quality of the wine accentuates the savory quality of turkey gravy.

A few examples of Rhône Blends from all over the world include:

Rosé or Blanc de Noirs Champagne

This is a sommelier’s must-have wine for Thanksgiving because, for a somm, you can’t really start a meal without a splash of something sparkling wine. Here’s why:

  • It’s a great choice for a pre-Thanksgiving aperitif.
  • It’s bold enough to pair alongside dinner (for Champagne pairing with the main course).
  • Its strawberry, white currant and white raspberry flavors accentuate the cranberry flavors in the dish.
  • It acts as a palate cleanser to rich gravies and meats.

A few examples that are both awesome and affordable:

  1. NV Hervy-Quenardel Rosé Grand Cru Verzenay (Montagne de Reims, Champagne ~$56)
  2. NV Huré Frères “Insouciance” Brut Rosé Ludes (Montagne de Reims, Champagne ~$53)
  3. NV Drappier Blanc de Noirs Brut Nature (Côte de Bar, Champagne ~$50)

Sancerre

If you feature brussels sprouts or green beans prevalently in your meal, consider a lean, herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc as a highlight wine pairing. The 2015 vintage was exceptional in the Loire Valley and Sancerre is one of the international favorites of this region. Here’s why:

  • It pairs exceptionally well with green bean casserole, brussels sprouts, and roast asparagus.
  • It acts as a palate cleanser to rich gravies and meats.
A few examples include:
  1. 2015 Thomas-Labaille “Les Monts Damnés” Sancerre Chavignol (Loire Valley, France ~$28)
  2. 2015 Patient Cottat “Anciennes Vignes” Sancerre (Loire Valley, France ~$24)
  3. 2015 Franck Millet “Insolite” Sancerre (Loire Valley, France ~$25)

Amarone della Valpolicella

If you’re featuring ham as your main dish this year, the rich dried-cherry and chocolately wines of Valpolicella are amazing. Here’s why:

  • Its redolent cherry flavors accentuate the sweetness of ham.
  • Its moderate acidity acts as a palate cleanser, which is ideal for complementing rich meats and gravies.
  • Its dried fruit aromas of fig and raisins add to the harvest taste palate.

Of course, Amarone della Valpolicella is an expensive wine due to its production process. Here are the best values we could find:

  1. 2011 Zenato Amarone (Sant’Ambrogio in the Classico Zone ~$70) 16% ABV
  2. 2011 Tenuta Novare Amarone (Novare in the Classico Zone ~$45) 2nd label of Bertani. Decant.
  3. 2011 Tedeschi Amarone della Valpolicella (Valpolicella Est ~$54) 16% ABV

Have a variety that fits the profile? Write in your comments below!

Thanksgiving Wine Pairings: Drink American

Thanksgiving: Ohh, sweet, delectable Turkey Day. I’m obsessed with this ultimate feast and the ever-swelling gathering of family and friends crammed into a too-tiny, hectic and utterly delicious-smelling kitchen. I adore the sight of hands everywhere eager to help prepare, stories being shared and everyone sitting down together to a veritable smorgasbord. And while this uniquely American holiday’s history has given us a fairly good idea of what to eat, the question of what to drink is perhaps not so easily answered.

To start, let’s get one thing out of the way: There’s not a “right” or a “wrong” wine to slug with your stuffing — but there are wines that just might be more likely send you to sensory elation. So, where to start?
One of the most relied-upon “rules” of wine and food pairing is “If it grows together, it goes together.” The idea is that wines and foods naturally evolved together as a whole regional cuisine. For example, you’d be more likely to find lots of fresh, crisp whites in a warmer-climate area adjacent to the sea than you’d be to find huge, dark, spicy reds (the former wines pair better with seafood than the latter). The concept isn’t as easy to apply in modern-day America, but you can still relish the uniquely American spirit of Thanksgiving by drinking American wines. And my, oh my, do we have some good ones to choose from!
If it’s a red you’re after, I’d bet most heavily on a Pinot Noir. Lighter in body and softer on the palate than something like a Cabernet or a Merlot, California Pinot Noir’s plush, easy berry fruit is just the right match for poultry and all your T-Day fixins. Pinot Noir from Oregon is also stellar — I find it has a touch more earthiness and a little less forward, juicy fruit than its sisters further south.
For whites, a fuller-bodied wine will stand up nicely to the rich dishes on your dining room table. A great California Chardonnay with a bit of toasty oak in it definitely fits the bill with its round mouthfeel and slight creaminess, which just begs for some buttery mashed potatoes and gravy. If you’re not a die-hard fan and usually dislike Chardonnay, ask your wine merchant for one that’s un-oaked, which will allow more bright, appley and citrusy fruit to shine through while the grape’s full body will still satisfy.
Alternatively, a wonderfully aromatic, lighter-bodied white with pronounced notes of fruit and flowers can act as an excellent contrast to the many savory, substantial foods of Thanksgiving. Washington state produces some excellent Rieslings (both dry and sweet, though I’d vote for dry and save sweet for pairing with pie), and the grape’s naturally high acidity cuts nicely through the richness of the food. Gewurztraminer is another favorite: Highly aromatic with a touch of warm spice, the best ones are coming out of cooler-weather areas like Washington and Oregon. On the East Coast, look for any of the aforementioned grapes coming out of the Finger Lakes region of New York.
In the end, Thanksgiving is about celebrating our blessings. So whatever beverage ends up on your table, raise your glass and toast to the good things!

The Best Wines to Pair with Thanksgiving Dinner

Photo via Flickr

Bringing wine to a holiday or Thanksgiving dinner party can be…fraught, to say the least. You know it’s impolite to show up empty-handed (hence, the wine), but what if you make a poor selection? If you’re not especially versed in wine tasting and pairings, you might default to picking the bottle with the prettiest label, the most interesting description, or the most apt-seeming price-point. Whether you’re looking for a red wine Zinfandel from France or a sparkling wine with fruit flavors, wine doesn’t have to be so vexing. A little information goes a long way.

Rather than playing the which-wine guessing game as you stand among other frazzled shoppers, we asked Master Sommelier and author Richard Betts — who emphasizes that “wine is a grocery, not a luxury,” about the best wine pairings for your holiday gatherings — particularly Thanksgiving wine to help accompany the rich flavors of cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes (or sweet potatoes) and pumpkin pie at the Thanksgiving table.

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Here’s his definitive guide for Thanksgiving dinner wines to pair with your Thanksgiving feast:

2000 Kalin Cellars Semillon, California

Best white wine from America? Very likely. Semillon is not well known but it certainly deserves to be as it is a perfect partner to most food and ages into a thing of beauty.

2013 Bellus Scopello Frappato, Italy

Super fun alternative to pinot noir, Frappato is native to Sicily and is all about red fruits and fun. It’s also relatively unencumbered by tannin and oak which makes it a perfect table mate.

2012 RPM Wines Gamay Noir, California

Remember all of that Beaujolais that America used to drink at Thanksgiving? It was for good reason as the grape, Gamay, is bright, crunchy and perfect with Turkey. This Gamay from California is a very serious step up in quality and focus while remaining everything great Gamay should be, delicious.

2013 Copain Tous Ensemble Pinot, California

You gotta have pinot noir, you just gotta and Wells Guthrie at Copain makes some of my very favorites including this super easy, extremely yummy version. A few years back Wells made a big pivot in his winemaking and his style now prizes balance and grace which, whether you know it or not, is a style that will make it impossible for you to have just one glass.

For more straight-talk about wines ranging from Italian cabernet sauvignons to French sauvignon blancs, join Richard for his CreativeLive class, Become A Great Wine Taster, or check out his blog, My Essential Wine.

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Top pairings

Top wines to drink with turkey

Posted by Fiona Beckett (Google+) on December 18 2018 at 09:45

You may already have your own favourite wine pairing for turkey but if you’re looking for inspiration here are some of my favourite matches.

The challenge with pairing wine with turkey is what else you serve with it – a full-flavoured, fruity, sometimes spicy stuffing, tart cranberry sauce and an array of vegetables (sprouts and carrots at a minimum) that means you probably have about a dozen different flavours on your plate. That doesn’t mean you can’t pick a white or rosé but it does suggest something full and fruity that can cope with the onslaught.

The other consideration should be who you have round the table as both Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to be multi-generational gatherings involving older members of the family who may well be set in their ways! So it’s worth sticking to tried and tested crowd-pleasers:

Six wines that pair really well with turkey

Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Not an inexpensive option, admittedly but the impressively embossed label has a real feel-good factor and the generous alcohol of the wine will hold its own with the stuffing and sides. Don’t try to do it on the cheap though. A decent Chateauneuf costs at least £15 (on special offer) and generally well over £20.

Other southern Rhône reds

More affordable options would be appellations such as Lirac (just next door to Chateauneuf), Gigondas and Côtes du Rhône ‘village’ wines such as Vacqueyras, Séguret and Cairanne. The 2015 and ’16 vintages were particularly good ones. A magnum would make that choice even more impressive

Other GSM (grenache/syrah/mourvèdre) blends

‘Cos that’s the base of the Chateauneuf/southern Rhône reds. You’ll also find that style of wine in the Languedoc but also in Australia and South Africa. Often with the letters GSM on the bottle.

Merlot

Time we rehabilitated Merlot which is a really delicious, crowd-pleasing wine. Look for a smooth velvety style rather than a heavily oaked one. Chile has some well-priced examples.

Sparkling Shiraz

This is what the Aussies tend to have with Christmas lunch which is of course celebrated in high summer. If you don’t have the nerve to serve it with the meal itself crack open a bottle on Boxing Day. (Straight unfizzy Shiraz is also pretty good with a hot or cold bird)

Oaked chardonnay

A surprise, maybe, but at a Christmas tasting I did a couple of years ago for Decanter magazine a white burgundy – a Chassagne-Montrachet – came out tops. (Limoux chardonnay is a good low cost alternative.) You need to keep the gravy relatively light, obviously, but it’s surprising how well it works. Well worth having a bottle on the table for those who prefer white wine to red.

You could obviously serve other classic wines such as red Bordeaux, Burgundy or Rioja but I personally feel they’re better with other festive meats:

Bordeaux or other cabernet blends – better with roast beef

Burgundy or other good pinot noir – better with roast duck or goose

Rioja – better with roast lamb

What I wouldn’t do is pull out some aged and venerable bottle that you’ve been keeping for a special occasion. There’s always a danger that it will disappoint and that the cranberry sauce will just slaughter it.

When it comes to cold turkey think in terms of a slightly lighter red like a pinot noir or (my own favourite) a chilled cru Beaujolais or good Beaujolais Villages.

So what do you drink with your turkey? I’d love to hear about your favourite wine matches in the comments or on Twitter.

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9249 b Philip on December 24 2019 at 18:071577210856

I’m going for a Magnum of lightly oaked and smooth merlot from the western edge of the cote du Rhone from the cave cooperative in euzet. I hope it goes well! Only cost 8.70 euro for the Magnum! But it is a tried and tested wine!

Fiona Beckett on December 22 2019 at 20:361577046977

I think that would be delicious too!

Nick Brett on December 22 2019 at 16:541577033672

Good advice about not having that “special “ bottle with the meal, rarely works.

Matt on December 22 2019 at 15:521577029940

Thanks for the advice, as ever. What would you think to pairing the classic turkey lunch with Hermitage Blanc?

Ask A Somm: What’s the Best Wine to Drink With Thanksgiving Dinner?

Restaurateur Michael Kornick of Chicago hospitality group DMK Restaurants might be best known for his work in the kitchen, at places like mk and Rec Room, but the chef is likewise an avid wine collector. Below, he suggests bottles appropriate for Thanksgiving drinking and highlights a good point. Turkey serves as more of a blank canvass with which many bottles can be paired, but it’s really the flavors in the sides that one should consider. Also, why not throw some red wine into sauce or two?

Q: What kind of wine pairs with turkey?

“What’s the best wine with turkey?” is a question I’m often asked. As a chef, passionate wine enthusiast, and lifelong collector, I’ve tried quite a few. Roast turkey, like chicken, is completely open minded as it’s very flexible and works terrifically with many types of wine. However, the flavor components of the gravy, stuffing, and side dishes have a greater impact on the wine than the actual bird.

If you’re planning on having sugary sides, I recommend richer higher alcohol red wines…

Since I serve my turkey with a mild giblet gravy and apple, sage, and thyme dressing, the best wine for our table is a rich, aged German Riesling. I would go with a 2005 Graacher Domprobst Riesling Auslese from Willi Schaefer ($65) or a 2007 J.J. Prüm Riesling Kabinett ($34).

I also have lots of family who prefer red, and I always like to reduce some red wine and a splash of port in the gravy for them. In terms of reds, a good choice would be a 2012 Chinon from Charles Joguet ($42) or a fruity central coast Pinot Noir from Au Bon Climat ($20). Keep in mind, if your sides are high in sugar like marshmallow topped sweet potatoes or maple glazed carrots, the Pinot loses the battle to the sugar. If you’re planning on having sugary sides, I recommend richer higher alcohol red wines like Geyserville Zinfandel from Ridge ($30) or young Syrah and Grenache from the Rhone or California or Garnacha from northern Spain. Turkey’s delicate nature gets a little lift here, so to better serve the red wine folks. I like to suggest roasting the breast and braising the legs (drumsticks and thighs) in red wine and making the sauce from the braising liquid.

Most importantly, make the wine part of the celebration of the meal. Overspend, buy a bottle with age or from a great producer in the region. Research the wine a little and tell your guests the story behind it. You may not have a table of connoisseurs, but everyone loves a good story and can certainly taste delicious.

Have a wine-related question you’d like answered? Hit the comments.

mk The Restaurant

868 N Franklin Street, Chicago, IL 60610 312 482 9179 Visit Website

Wine & Food: What Wine Goes with Turkey?

When planning a meal, you have to think about how everything goes together. It’s why turkey and roast potatoes are the classic Christmas pairing—they just work! Add on the cranberry sauce, delicious gravy, and a plenty of veggies, and you have the makings of a real Christmas feast.

But don’t forget the wine! In our opinion, no Christmas dinner is complete without wine on the table.

But what wine goes with turkey? Do you serve red or white wine with turkey?

We believe that pairing the right wine with turkey is as important as making roast potatoes, stuffing, or gravy. You want to find the wine for turkey that enhances the flavour of your bird, and which can stand up to all of your side dishes.

We have got the scoop on the right wine to pair with turkey to make your Christmas dinner a truly unforgettable meal!

General Tips for Pairing Wine with Turkey

Turkey is a lean meat, but with plenty of flavour, particularly in the legs. (Note: That low fat content is the reason turkey can become dry if over-cooked).

If you’re looking for the right pairing for wine with turkey, we have one simple recommendation: avoid excessive tannin! Tannins are perfect for high-fat meats and cheeses, as they will be softened by the meat.

With a low-fat meat like turkey, high-tannin wines can come across harsher and more accentuated.

Of course, you can’t forget that turkey, served with gravy and mashed potatoes or stuffing, can be a fairly salty dish. Therefore a wine with some fruitiness, acidity and low tannin works brilliantly.

Best Red Wine with Turkey

The low-tannin wines are ideal for bringing out the light flavours of the meat, but without overpowering it with sweetness. Lush, fruity reds are our recommendation for the best pairings of red wine with turkey.

We have four wines we believe are best for serving with your Christmas turkey:

  • Cabardes Chateau de Brau

If you’re going for a richer style of turkey (with rich gravy, glazed, or other strong flavours), you’ll want to try this amazing Languedoc-Roussillon red.

The combination of Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes make this wine full-flavoured and jammy, with a deep, rich red colour that will add to the range of flavours in the meal.

AOC Cabardes Chateau de Brau

With its flavours of damson fruits, blackcurrants, and a hint of spice, it’s an excellent wine with both character and just a touch of bite to make it stand up to richer foods.

  • Helios Pinot Noir

This is one of our new Romanian wines, but one that we really love thanks to its strawberry and cherry fruit flavours, and incredible value.

It has a light spice finish, and it’s wonderfully soft—making it the perfect pairing for lighter turkey dishes. It’s an eminently drinkable wine that is among the best of the Eastern European wines.

Helios Pinot Noir

A great choice if you’re unsure whether to go for red or white wine.

  • Morgon Beaujolais

Why not try a high quality Beaujolais cru with your Christmas dinner? This wine brings a touch of class and elegance to your meal, with a complexity that will be enhanced with each sip. The layers of spice, herb, minerality, and fruit will improve the flavour profile of your meal.

Its earthy tertiary scents will be just what you need to bring out the stronger mulberry and raspberry aromas.

AOC Morgon Beaujolais Cru Chasselay

A great wine that’s full of flavour, but light and refreshing at the same time.​

  • Bourgogne Pinot Noir Magnien

This gorgeous Pinot Noir is the classic Burgundian red, with strong aromas of dusty plums, cherries, and hint of pine needles to lend freshness.

The soft, silky wine will slide down your throat, but not before dancing across your taste buds with flavours of anise, black cherry, and rhubarb.

Bourgogne Pinot Noir

The oak-infused notes of meat, cloves, and coffee will make this the perfect wine to offer guests you want to spoil and impress.

Best White Wine with Turkey

The beauty of pairing white wine with turkey is that you don’t need to worry about overpowering tannins.

Below, we’ve come up with four recommendations for organic white wines that would all work brilliantly with your Christmas dinner:

  • Adobe Chardonnay

This Chilean Chardonnay is complex, but with hints of tropical fruit that deliver a wonderful freshness.

Adobe Chardonnay Reserva

Delicate oak ageing gives the wine the extra richness, and smoothness that make it great with turkey.

  • Domaine de Brau Chardonnay Finement Boise

For those who want a high quality French white, this Chardonnay from Languedoc-Roussillon is on par with the more expensive Burgundian whites, just at a lower price tag.

The wine is elegant and flavourful, with a touch of oak to give a richer palate. The flavours of ripe apple, pear, and lemon pairs perfectly with the scents of vanilla and oak spice.

Domaine de Brau Chardonnay Finement Boisé IGP Pays d’Oc

It’s a fantastic wine in the style of premier cru white Burgundy, but at a fraction of the price. A great match with turkey.

  • Chateau Rochecolombe Viognier

This wine is made entirely from Viognier grapes, which only a few decades ago was an almost extinct grape variety, native to the Rhône Valley. Luckily for us drinkers, it was saved and has now become popular across the globe.

It makes rich, full-bodied wines with distinctive aromas of apricot, peaches, and spice, with a decadently oily mouth feel.

Chateau Rochecolombe Viognier

A suitably luxurious wine to serve on Christmas day.

  • Pievalta San Paolo Verdicchio Riserva

This is the white wine for those who like a bit more complexity in their wines. The “Riserva” label shows its high quality, and the extra ageing it has received.

The biodynamic Verdicchio grapes give a fine acidity with flavours of tropical fruits, hazelnut, and honey.

Pievalta San Paolo Verdicchio Riserva

The wine is perfect for drinking now or can age further. Enjoy it with any Christmas turkey, regardless of the gravy or glazing. A great alternative to white Burgundy.

The good thing about Christmas turkey is that it can be both light and rich. Serve it with gravy, stuffing and pigs in blankets and you have a rich meal that can stand up to heavier wines. Serve it simply roasted with vegetables and you’ll be better off pairing it with a lighter wine.

Whatever your wine preferences, you’ll be able to find a wine that matches the dinner you’re serving.

Want to see a broader selection of wines to pair with your Christmas dinner? We are proud to offer a collection of some of the best organic and biodynamic wines from around the world. We offer high quality wines from France, Italy, Spain, Austria, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Chile, and more.

No matter what your desires are, we’ve got a wine to suit your tastes.

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