The Great Cornucopia of Thanksgiving Food and Wine for Your Holiday – James Melendez


I love Thanksgiving – I love it obviously for the food and feast and I love it for sharing a wide variety of wines with those closest to me.  Thanksgiving as I see it is an opportunity to have the cornucopia of white, red and sparkling wines and to do so with people who want and hope for superb wines.  I know have been to Thanksgiving dinners where there was Pinot Noir, Zinfandel or Beaujolais.  I like these varieties and and I also the unexpected–on my Thanksgiving table I have a lot of pressure to have outstanding wines but you know what it isn’t that difficult to do.

I always serve a roasted turkey and I also serve something in addition a pork loin, tamales (yes, tamales) or roast beef.  Given that I serve a variety of dishes that means there is a great possibility of choices with respect to wines.

I have guests ask what they should bring–I make a few suggestions and I let them know when I will be serving to give ideas.  I want to start by serving Champagne–it must be Champagne and I like to serve with a large variety of dishes: charcuteries, crab cakes, smoked salmon or trout dip.  Given a nice appetizer spread I want several styles of Champagne – Rose, Blanc de Blanc, Extra Brut, and Brut Nature styles–I taste a bit of every Champagne but always settle for Extra Brut or Brut Nature–so apt for food and I might add by themselves too.

And after having the starters and begin with salads and soup. I serve Chablis and Vermentino—Chablis with salad is a must on my table.  I vary another white wine depending on the soup — a cream based soup is an excellent opportunity to have a Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, Arneis, and/or Pinot Blanc.

For the Thanksgiving meal I will serve wines that are somewhat traditional and somewhat not traditional wines: Gamay Noir, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, and Plavac Mali.  I know some people like to serve Zinfandel, Beaujolais Nouveau, Pinot Noir and Bordeaux Varieties.  I look at my list and I want a great sense of diversity and wines that match a patchwork quilt of dishes.  I also know that there is such a great diversity of food that I am going to serve.  Most of which I make myself and that I insist I making.  I will serve a roasted turkey, French bread stuffing, Madeira gravy, velvety mashed potatoes, cranberries, sweet potatoes, Tamales and green beans.  I think that one wine is not enough and I want a bit of several wines to bring harmony to the table, delight to the feast and excellence in wines to bind the my souls at one table.  I have always served a diversity and I think in many ways people walk and way and learn something new—it is a wine that perhaps someone might not have heard about like Plavacs Mali or perhaps the producer of a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.

I may wait a little while between eating the main courses and dessert.  I always make a pumpkin pie and either an apple or pecan pie.  I like to have a dollop of heavy whipped cream and something ethereal like a vintage Port or Madeira–to imbibe slowly.

Be adventurous and serve a whole host of wines and ask your friends or family members that are coming to your house for Thanksgiving to bring a specific variety or region.  If you are invited and going to someone else house be sure to bring an interesting wine that someone might not consider bringing.  Below are some suggestions for wines for your Thanksgiving celebration – I tried giving a larger selection in case you couldn’t find some of these wines in your marketplace.

Appetizer wines:

  • Champagne Drappier Grande Sendrée Cuvée
  • Champagne Devaux Grande Réserve NV
  • Champagne Louis Roederer, Brut Nature ”Phillipe Starck Design” 2006
  • Champagne Jacques Selosse Brut Blanc De Blancs Initiale Disgorgement 2014
  • Champagne J. de Telmont OR 1735 Brut 2002
  • Champagn Larmandier-Bernier Brut Rosé de Saignée

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First and second course wines:

  • Domaine Samuel Billaud Petit Chablis
  • Domaine Louis Moreau Chablis 1er Cru Vaulignot
  • Cooper Mountain Reserve Oregon Chardonnay
  • Bethel Heights Willamette Valley Chardonnay
  • Calera Central Coast Chadonnay
  • Mancini Vermentino di Gallura Vermentino
  • Vietti Arneis Roero
  • Ponzi Willamette Valley Arneis
  • Domaine Cherrier Père & Fils Sancerre
  • Groth Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
  • Troon Vermentino Sauvignon Blanc
  • Trimbach Alsace Pinot Blanc
  • Gustave Lorenz Alsace Pinot Blanc
  • Domaine Chignard Juliénas Beauvernay
  • Maison B. Perraud Fleurie
  • Villa Poggio Salvi Brunello di Montalcino
  • Baricci Brunello di Montalcino
  • Il Molino di Grace Chianti Classico
  • Fratelli Barale Barolo Chinato
  • Flavio Roddolo Nebbiolo d’Alba
  • Domaine Drouhin Laurène Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
  • Domaine Borgeot Santenay 1er Cru
  • Gramercy The Third Man Columbia Valley Grenache
  • Borsao Tres Picos Campo de Borja Garnacha
  • Dingač Vinarija Plavac Mali

Dessert Wines

  • Rare Wine Company Historic Series New York Malmsey Madeira
  • Churchill Quinta da Agua Alta Vintage Port 1992
  • Quinta do Vesuvio Vintage Port 1994



James the Wine Guy

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About James Melendez

I love wine and have had the privilege of working in the wine trade as a senior national wine marketing manager for a wine, food and home goods retailer in 30+ US States. I executed into making wine experiential and made 'wines of the world' programme work in a highly regulated framework for a successful business proposition. My "wine" site also incorporates those categories intimately involved with wine such as food, travel and lifestyle. This site incorporates my many dimensions of interest. I love to review and also talk about many aspects of wine. I have been privileged to visit many wine countries and find them enthralling no matter how many times I visit. I love all aspects of wine: viticulture, history, winemaking, brand development, wine regions and many more aspects. This is a living tradition that needs documentation, education, reporting and reviewing. Do I have favourite varieties and styles? I love so many varieties and often it is situational and yet there are time honoured wines that I anticipate and I am passionate about. I like all colours of wine and all styles. I have had a mad passionate affair with sparkling wines and they are always top of mind. Wine nourishes our soul and is the key to connecting with other people at our dinner table. Salute, James © 2014, 2017 James Meléndez / James the Wine Guy— All Rights Reserved – for my original Content, logo, brand name, rating, rating graphic and award and designs of James the Wine Guy. James the Wine Guy also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social medias.
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