The Thanksgiving Table

By Robert Whitley

November 26, 2019 4 min read

The annual Thanksgiving feast is the best of times for a wine enthusiast.

The combination of sweet and savory flavors on the typical Thanksgiving table opens the door to a multitude of options. Add to that the versatility of a roast turkey all by itself and a person almost can't go wrong no matter the wine selection.

As for me, I want it all. Roast turkey is famously compatible with the gamay grape, as in Beaujolais, and its kissing cousin, pinot noir. A rich chardonnay could also rule the day. Or an off-dry riesling. Pinot gris, zinfandel and even a dry rose can shine at the Thanksgiving table.

I typically offer a selection of wines, placing all on the table at the same time. This year I plan to put out a pinot noir from one of my favorite producers, Dutton Goldfield. The Dutton Goldfield pinots are robust yet elegant, with enough power and guts to stand up to strong flavors such as spicy stuffing, candied yams and the like. My pick is the 2016 Dutton Goldfield Devil's Gulch Vineyard Pinot Noir ($88) from Marin County.

I will also open a beautiful chardonnay. I am eyeing the Sonoma-Cutrer 2016 Les Pierres ($42), one of California's benchmark chardonnays from the Sonoma Coast. The exquisite balance and scintillating minerality enable the Les Pierres to shine alongside a bold pinot — or any other wine, for that matter.

For my rose, I am looking to France's Cotes de Provence and the beautiful 2018 Fleur de Mer Rose ($20). The dry rose wines of Provence possess a rare combination of elegance and power. Subtle aromas of strawberry and citrus are buttressed with firm acidity, remarkable length on the palate and persistence of flavor on the finish. Fleur de Mer is such a wine and will not be overpowered by the strong flavors of the Thanksgiving table.

Of course, I should add that if you like my idea, ideally you will need three wine glasses for each dinner guest.

Best Value

Wines are rated on a 100-point scale. Wines are chosen for review because they represent outstanding quality or value, and the scores are simply a measure of this reviewer's enthusiasm for the recommended wine.

San Pedro 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon, 9 Lives Reserve, Central Valley, Chile ($9.99) — Long a leader in value, Chile strikes again with San Pedro's 9 Lives reserve cabernet, a richly layered, supple red that shows notes of blackberry and cassis, a touch of spice and smooth tannins. It's remarkable that it sells for less than 10 bucks! Rating: 88.

Tasting Notes

Canvasback 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain ($42) — Washington's Red Mountain district has become a vital source for top-notch cabernet sauvignon of this ilk. The 2016 Canvasback cab delivers a powerful statement, showing impressive depth and complexity, beautifully integrated tannins and a beautiful finish. Still quite young, this vintage would benefit from additional cellar age. Rating: 94.

Jean Diot Extra Brut, Champagne, France ($50) — This bone-dry Champagne from Jean Diot delivers exceptional complexity, showing notes of freshly baked brioche, crunchy green apple and spice. The structure is a remarkable combination of firm acidity and creamy texture, with excellent persistence of flavor through a long, lip-smacking finish. Rating: Rating: 94.

La Crema Brut Rose, Russian River Valley ($50) — Although not known for bubbly, La Crema certainly has all of the ingredients. This pinot noir and chardonnay specialist delivers a very nice brut rose that is delicate and very dry, and shows notes of strawberry and apple with a fine mousse and exquisite balance. Rating: 90.

Follow Robert on Twitter at @wineguru. To find out more about Robert Whitley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at Email Robert at [email protected]

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