Your Easy, No-Sweat Guide to Picking Wines for Thanksgiving


Her red was a 2018 Château Maris La Livinière from the Languedoc region of Minervois, a juicy, inviting blend of syrah and grenache. Its only flaw was an elevated alcohol level of 14.5 percent and an intensity of flavors that some of us feared would be tiring over a long meal. Nonetheless, the wine was delicious. Languedoc reds can be excellent choices.

Florence, who generally brings American wines, picked as her white a 2020 California blend of chenin blanc and viognier from Pine Ridge that was bright, floral and slightly spritzy. Her red was a 2019 pinot noir from Oregon, Other People’s Pinot from Maison Noir, light in color and body with subtle herbal and fruit flavors. Julia especially was a fan of this wine.

Pete brought a 2018 riesling from Bloomer Creek in the Finger Lakes. It was labeled “skin contact,” indicated the white was made like a red, in which the grape juice macerates with the pigment-laden skins before and during fermentation.


These are sometimes called “orange wines

.” This did have a darker color than a typical riesling, and it was spicy. But it was not as tannic as many orange wines can be and was more energetic than it might have seemed on first sip.

He also brought Humus, a nonvintage Portuguese red from Encosta da Quinta. This was an ideal Thanksgiving wine, earthy, lively, refreshing and low in alcohol at 12 percent. Sadly, this wine is difficult to find — most New York stores are sold out.

I brought two Italian bottles I’ve enjoyed several times over the year. My white was a bracing, spicy 2018 Pecorino Superiore from Antica Tenuta Pietramore in Abruzzo. My red was a juicy, buoyant 2019 Trebbiolo from La Stoppa, one of my favorite Emilia-Romagna producers.

In trying to rank these bottles, it was hard to find much separation, particularly among the reds. We liked them all. But it was left to Ian, our guest, to bring the two bottles that turned out to be our favorites.

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