Thanksgiving 2020

My final column this month runs the day before Thanksgiving, which gives you no time to act on any advice. So this week, advice about T-day wine provided in advance. Next week, an out-of-the-box idea for your meal, including a delicious recipe. Plenty of time for you to process and plan.

Although many people will wisely scale back group gobbling this year, Thanksgiving is our most family and food-oriented holiday. July 4th is hot dogs and beer—a culinary cul-de-sac. Christmas is sugar highs and egg nog—the big meal is slathered on to enhance regret in the morning. New Years—well, enough said.

Thanksgiving focuses on quality food and, therefore, quality wine. I caution, however, against wine of too high quality. This is a big feast with cornucopia of flesh, fowl, and fish; with sideboards of veggies, tubers, and heavily buttered baked grain comestibles.

That is a lot of competition for wine appreciation, not to mention family members you have not dared to see in person since Satan sicced contagion upon us. This is time for good wine, not great wine. Save a bottle from your trophy trove for less hectic meals when wine-food pairing does not compete with your Uncle Loudmouth and his opinions on the mercifully concluded political pyrotechnics this ghastly year. 

Tasting notes:

• Monte Dos Trevo Herdade Dos Grous Vinho Regional Alentejano 2018: Portugal produces some of the greatest wine values on earth; this is an example. Built for food pairing. $12-19 Link to my review

• Bouchard Père & Fils Réserve Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2017: Works as an everyday, basic pinot noir from quality maker; excellent price for Burgundy pinot. $14-20 Link to my review

• Sosie Wines First Things First Brut Nature Sparkling White Wine 2018: Distinctive California sparkler made with roussanne grapes—a creamy delight from grape seldom used in sparkling wine. $17 Link to my review

• Tasca d’Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Catarratto Antisa, Sicilia DOC 2018: Outstanding example of catarratto, Sicily’s most-grown white grape. Excellent acidity and tangy fruit. $20-22 Link to my review

• Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Pinot Noir 2017: Entry level offering from quality maker; affordable glimpse into this sublime world. $38-45 Link to my review

• Domaine Anderson Estate Pinot Noir 2017: Depth with black fruit flavors, good acidity. Some forest floor and earth notes, capturing ruggedness of Anderson Valley. $40-47 Link to my review

• Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial Champagne NV: Value and quality in the mass market. Bright, vibrant, red-fruit. $50-52 Link to my review

Last round: Most important step in any Thanksgiving recipe: add wine to the cook.