We could spend hours talking about our favorite wines, but we're going to stick with five varieties of vino that are popular and then a few brands and bottles we think you'll love. With just a little research, you can instantly become your family's own sommelier (and ward off those when are you going to have a baby questions for a few hours).
This is the number one kind of wine in the country, so it's a great choice to bring to large events where you have people with different tastes. The great thing about chardonnay is that you can get it unoaked or oaked. Unoaked chardonnay is a little sweeter, fruitier and has a bit more acidity. Oaked chardonnay is more buttery and creamy. This is a great choice for Thanksgiving because it pairs really well with fruity desserts (like apple pie), wild rice (like risotto and pilaf) as well as nuts (pecan pie). If you're on a budget but still want to impress your friends and family, bring the Bethel Heights Estate Grown Chardonnay from the Willamette region in Oregon. This brand is clean, fresh with just a hint of richness, so it pairs really well with roasted meats, like turkey!
Unlike merlot or Syrah, which are typically very dry, a good pinot noir is dry but still slightly sweet, so it's an easier red to drink. Domestically grown and produced pinot, like the ones made in California and Oregon, are smooth, yet still rich and very fruity. Pinot pairs wonderfully with turkey, wild rice, mushrooms, quinoa and spinach — which are all dishes often found on a Thanksgiving table! Many pinots are reasonably priced, with some of the best bottles coming in under $20! The Baileyana Grand Firepeak Cuvee Pinot is a favorite of ours for its strong finish and robust flavors of cherries, strawberry and vanilla. And for under $20 a bottle, you can't beat the price!
Sparking wine is one of those drinks that can really go well with any meal. It's light, bubbly, often sweet and fruity and helps level out the richness of the food. Since Thanksgiving is all about rich, hearty food, a glass of bubbly is the perfect light, refreshing cocktail to pair with the heavy mashed potatoes and turkey, since it won't weigh you down. If you're serving other sweet wines, opt for a sweeter sparkling wine. If you're drinking mostly dry, stick with that theme by serving a bottle of extra-dry Prosecco. The La Marca Prosecco is full of citrusy and fruity notes and has a clean, fun finish. Plus it's only $15 a bottle — and received a rating of 90 from Wine Enthusiast magazine!
If you want a dry red that isn't as aggressive as a merlot or Syrah, try a zinfandel. This wine is dry, but still slightly sweet, so it won't overpower your Thanksgiving feast. There are many varieties of zinfandel (just please stay away from white zinfandel, which is practically juice) but our favorites are the kind that come from California since they are typically blends of pinot noir, cabernet and Beaujolais. Because zinfandels are a little spicy, they go great with mild dishes like fruity pies and roast turkey. For an award-winning wine that is still under $20, try the Seghesio Sonoma Zinfandel.
No, we don't mean pinot grigio. Pinot gris refers to a wine made in the French Alsatian-version of the Northern Italian style (which would be pinot grigio). Pinot gris is typically spicier than pinot grigio, but still can be fruity and sweet. If you're not a white wine drinker, pinot gris is perfect for you because it's rich and hearty like a red, but sweeter and lighter since it's white. This white wine pairs really well with fish and hearty meats (like turkey and gravy) so it's a great addition to your Thanksgiving! The Willamette region of Oregon is known for their pinot gris, so try this bottle of King Estate Signature Collection for a great fruity and citrus variety that is still under $20!