Thankfully, Thanksgiving is easiest of wine times.

First, with cornucopia of food, it is almost impossible to fail to pair with something on the table. Buy whatever you like, anything in your price range, whatever looks interesting.

Second, this is a meal with people you know and love gathering for a good time. They will enjoy anything. Plonk in a box, your brother-in-law’s home-made stuff, the joke bottle from your office party, whatever. The occasion and people you drink with means more than what you pour. It will be good, even if it is terrible, Enjoy, laugh about it.

Still, some Turkey-day strategies:

Start with something nice, light, lower alcohol for appetizers and visiting. White usually is right; sparkling works, too.

Pour a high quality red when turkey gobbling gets going. Let everyone know it is special.

Follow with an assortment of value wines (under $12). Light whites, full whites, rosés, light reds, heavy reds. Open them all if the party is large and palates eclectic.

Finish with a flourish. Vintage Port. Madeira. Sauternes. Use small glasses; a little of these goes a long way.

Thanksgiving formula recap: something special when main meal starts, something strong and memorable after meal ends, cornucopia of choices rest of the time. Enforce designated driver rules.


• Bogle Riesling. Starter. Green apple, pear, a little peach. California. $11

• Bouchaine Estate Chardonnay. For white winers. Bright acidity, citrus, only hint of oak. California. $26

• Elk Cove Pinot Noir Willamette Valley. Classic turkey pairing. Focused, black fruits. $27

• Fall Creek Meritus. Arguably best wine made in Texas; dense, full-bodied; chocolate notes on the finish. $42

• Leacock’s Madeira Malmsey. Wonderfully rich, sweet dessert wine; honey finish. $26