Thanksgiving strategies 11-15-2023

Thanksgiving is the greatest of all the food-centered holidays. July Fourth is hot dogs and beer. Christmas is sugar highs and multitudinous distractions. New Years is about regrets in the cold, harsh light of the next morning.

But Thanksgiving has been a true, pure harvest feast since Abraham Lincoln established it in 1863. In 1941, Congress declared Thanksgiving would occur on the fourth Thursday in November. The epicurean emphasis is on quality food and family, which often means wine is part of the festivity. Some tips:

• Since typically there is a cornucopia of different foods, consider drinking two or three wines at the same time, matching wine with what’s on your fork or in your spoon. This means more than one glass per person and a mixture of red, white, rosé, sparkling wine to choose from. If it is a small group, you don’t have to finish every bottle. Thanksgiving is a four-day holiday. You can tackle the remainders after surviving your Black Friday excursion. Sip on Saturday while vowing not to eat so much next Thanksgiving.

• Sparkling wine pairs with just about everything, and is a festive way to start your fest.

• Pinot noir is the versatile red. Pairs well with turkey, holds its own with ham or lamb or fish.

• Sauvignon blanc is the versatile white. Pairs with salads, chicken, seafood dishes. Also with soups.

• It is better to pair the diner with the wine than it is to try to pair the dinner with the wine. If you and your group like a specific wine, pour that no matter what your persnickety wine snob acquaintance might think.

• Enjoy those who have survived another spin around the sun with you. Toast those who have journeyed to the next realm. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Tasting notes:

• Villa Maria EarthGarden Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough 2021: Fresh, crisp, rich sauv blanc flavors. Extremely refreshing, thirst-quenching wine. $17-19 Link to my review

• King Estate Inscription Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2021: Bolder, edgier side of Willamette Valley pinot drinks more like a California effort. $18-22 Link to my review

• Calvet Crémant de Bordeaux Brut 2019: Fresh, elegant with tiny, long-lasting bubbles. A delight in the mouth with crispness and tasty semillon fruit (crémant is French sparkling wine made using Champagne method, but not made in Champagne). $18-22 Link to my review

• Bryn Mawr Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir 2019: Refined, lithe, excellent tart red fruits. Delicious, delicate—as superb pinot noir should be. $40 Link to my review

Last round: The best thing about Thanksgiving is you get to start drinking wine at 10 a.m. and no one thinks you are a hopeless wino. Especially if you help with the cooking.