The single most important guideline for selecting wine for Thanksgiving is simply to have enough on hand. We generally recommend one bottle per wine-drinking adult. This may seem like a lot, but it is simply a hedge against an insufficient supply. You do not have to finish it all. If you like, you can even give away unopened bottles with the leftovers.
Beyond quantity, you need to provide both reds and whites. You can add rosé or a sparkling wine, but both red and white are essential. You will have guests who contend that red wine gives them headaches or white wine gives them heartburn. This is not the time to debate these issues. Let guests drink what they want unfettered.
In our calculus, we imagine Thanksgiving as a large, freewheeling buffet meal, with lots of different dishes and a sprawling patchwork of flavors. It’s not the time to fret about pairing particular dishes with certain bottles. The trick is to provide versatile, nimble wines that pair well with many foods and will not be as fatiguing as everything else.
That generally means bottles not especially high in alcohol, generally below 14 percent. They should not be tannic or oaky, but they must be energetic with lively acidity, which helps to refresh and cleanse the palate.
Over the course of many years we have identified wines that almost always work well: Beaujolais and bone-dry sauvignon blancs are crowd-pleasers. Basic Italian reds made of barbera or sangiovese are fine, as are Italian whites made of fiano or carricante. Loire reds, pinot noirs, chardonnays, chenin blancs, mencías from Spain, rieslings — all are fine choices.
Whites, Rosés and Sparklers
★★★½ La Vrille et Le Papillon Vin de France Caprice du Chameau 2016 $15
Bright, light and spicy, belying its cloudy, unfiltered appearance, with pure, unmediated flavors of pear and lime. (Fruit of the Vines, Long Island City, N.Y.)
★★★ Matanzas Creek Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc 2016 $20
Not particularly expressive aromatically yet richly textured, lively, clean and refreshing.
★★★ Dibon Penedès Cava Brut Rosé NV $17
Light, pleasing, fruity and lacy; an ideal aperitif. (V.O.S. Selections, New York)
★★½ Clos des Lunes Bordeaux Lune d’Argent 2015 $20
Fresh, savory, balanced and energetic, with a pleasant texture and hint of citrus. (BNP Distributing, New York)
★★½ Domaine Trotereau Quincy 2013 $25
Straightforward, with clean citrus and mineral flavors. (Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, Calif.)
★★ RuBor Viticultores Sierra de Gredos Cebreros Chass! 2015 $17
Cloudy, amber and intense with gritty tannins and oxidative flavors; perhaps not for a crowd. (A Katell Pleven Selection/The Vine Collective, New York)
★★★ Château Combel-la-Serre Cahors Le Pur Fruit du Causse 2015 $15
Inky dark, yet easygoing, combining plummy fruit and chalky, earthy flavors. (Louis/Dressner Selections, New York)
★★★ Sidónio de Sousa Bairrada Tinto 2013 $16
Soft, smooth and well balanced, with flavors of dark fruits, spices and herbs. (NLC Wines, Brooklyn, N.Y.)
★★★ Red Tail Ridge Finger Lakes Pinot Noir 2013 $25
Pale brick-red color, with fresh, bright, juicy flavors of red fruits.
★★½ Buena Vista Sonoma County Merlot 2012 $10
Aromas of dark, saturated fruits, soft and dense, with staying power.
This content has been shared from The Four Rules of Thanksgiving Wines by Eric Asimov in the New York Times on November 2, 2017. Read entire article