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November 08, 2013


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Jameson Fink

I like the phrase "spirited wines" as a way to describe wines with good acidity without using the "a" word.

Meg Houston Maker

Thanks so much for reading, Jameson. I'm not afraid of acidity, but I know the word makes some people nervous. "Spirited" and "refreshing" are perhaps a bit more approachable.

gwendolyn alley

Personally, I love zin with turkey--but what I realized from your post, Meg, is that I am a dark meat turkey lover and that zin might overwhelm white meat. I also love zin with ham and many families offer both. I agree that dry rose provides a nice refreshing alternative; it works well with both ham and turkey. I appreciate that your post offers general guidelines without being specific to brands. Happy Thanksgiving!

Meg Houston Maker

Gwendolyn, thanks for the tip about ham and the plug for Zin and dry rosé, both of which are great choices. Beaujolais is also good with ham. I'd think a rosé of Zin could be terrific, too. But wait—haven't we seen that somewhere before?

fredric koeppel

Every year I offer for Thnksgiving dinner zinfandel, pinot noir and riesling, always American wines, well, zinfandel of course, because Thanksgiving in an American feast. I've not been very creative; I always serve the Ridge Three Valleys Zinfandel, the Domaine Serene Yamhill Cuvee Pinot and a Trefethen Riesling, preferably two or three vintages back. I'm thinking this year of changing the routine to a German Riesling (probably Mosel), a Burgundy (probably from a minor, lighter AOC) and a different zinfandel. I mean, America is a land of immigrants; serving European wines should be fine. And I'll say that this post is the most thoughtful that I have ever seen about these annual issues of Thanksgiving and wine. Thanks for all your research and good writing.

Todd - VT Wine Media

Nice compact list of tips and supporting info... again you have produced a useful piece that folks can take shopping with them as a cheat sheet if necessary.
This year we are having another big gathering in the 25+ people range at my folks place and I've opted to go with a volume of value Spanish Garnacha for the meal red (majority will go this direction), and with some Alsatian Sylvaner & Muscat for the white.
Special bottles will be saved for tasting and enjoying, before and after the big meal, as well as into the weekend.
Have a great holiday!

Meg Houston Maker

Fredric and Todd, thanks for reading and offering your thoughtful comments. I'm so glad you enjoyed the article.

I do like the idea of serving American wines for Thanksgiving, but I also like your sentiment about the melting pot. The Thanksgiving mythos has it that Pilgrims and natives dined together, and anyway, all those European vines are now grafted to American rootstock, right?

Jon Jefferson

I noticed a brief mention of ciders and local ales. Ciders would make a great traditional addition to the feast. And of course ales would also add in the tradition considering the low stores of beer were the reason they landed at Plymouth Rock.


A great piece. This should be everyone's go-to for Thanksgiving wines. We went with Gewurz, Albarino, and Viognier. A little something for each of the varied guests.

Meg Houston Maker

SAHMmelier, that sounds like a nice variety of whites: sweet/floral, zingy/citrusy, and lush/stone-fruity. Which was your favorite with the meal? And which was your guests'?

Jon, thanks for the comment about ales and ciders. If you want to go local for Thanksgiving, beers and ales are a great choice because they're so widely available. That's less true for hard ciders, though. Here in New England, we have several good cider orchards with true cider apples, but in other states, it's hard to find the right kind of fruit. I think this category will grow over the next ten years or so, and we'll start seeing new plantings of old apple varieties to supply the demand.


Great post! I will be sharing, resharing, pinning, etc on my own accounts, as well as Iron Horse Vineyards!

Though.. You lost me at the end "Thanksgiving is not really about the wine" - I definitely will have to disagree with you there. :)

Meg Houston Maker

Thanks for reading and sharing the recommendations, Shana! Perhaps I should have said, for most people it's not about the wine. But for the very special among us, on the other hand—


David B

That was well done Meg. I would not have thought about Zweigelt (the last word in wine), but its combination of forward black cherry fruit and more savory elements on the back end make a lot of sense with the diverse Thanksgiving table. I have always thought of Zweigelt as the Beaujolais of Austria, and Beaujolais (Cru not Nouveau) is a frequent choice for me.

Meg Houston Maker

David, many thanks. I love that notion of Zweigelt as the “Beaujolais of Austria.” Glad that struck a chord. Happy Thanksgiving!

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