First, let me set the scene. Growing up, my family always hosted Thanksgiving. We would typically have anywhere between twelve and twenty people for the day between my parents, brother, sister, and I, my aunt and uncle and their family, my grandparents and various other attendees who would rotate in and out over the years.
There was plenty of food to go around, from turkey and sweet potato casserole to cranberry sauce, corn casserole, and olives. Wine, however, far from being the centerpiece, was often absent from the table altogether. My parents rarely drank except on the occasional holiday. It usually took my aunts and uncles to bring the jug of Carlo Rossi in order for there to be wine present at any family function.
Once my wife and I got married and I started working in retail, the holidays changed a bit. Instead of having more time off this time of year, I have less and so it makes traveling harder. Since I often work on Thanksgiving, we decided going to my in-laws would be easier since they live much closer. In fact, this year is the first Thanksgiving I’ve spent with my family since we’ve been married. The setting has changed a little bit from when I was growing up. We still had eleven people, so no small affair. This year, my wife and I helped cook a lot more (I tackled the bread while my wife ventured into the world of pie-making). My sister was with her husband’s family, but my brother was able to make it with his girlfriend. And now wine is always part of the discussion.
While my family now expects that I will make the decisions when it comes to wine, I have trouble deciding what is most appropriate. I certainly have my favorites, but given that my family is not into wine as much as I am, I have found it best to find bottles that are enjoyable without being too extravagant. So my challenge was to find wines that I was willing to drink, without spending more than I needed to. This year, I chose to drink the following:
Cave de Lugny Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé
This is a simple, pleasant sparkling wine that was a great starter for the meal. We sipped this from standard wine glasses before we sat down to the table. There’s a good amount of bright fruit in this, strawberry and cherry being the most dominant, and it’s balanced nicely with some more subtle apple and bready qualities (flavors I find particularly appealing in sparkling wine). I picked this wine because I’ve been wanting to drink more sparkling lately. I thought this might be a nice, refreshing alternative to the what we normally drink. It’s fairly inexpensive coming in around $15.
2011 Jean Marc Burgaud Beaujolais Villages Les Vignes de Thulon
This was actually a little disappointing. I expected there to be a little more red and black fruit than I found and I thought it would pair well with the dishes on our table. Instead, I found that the acidity seemed a little high, and the pairing wasn’t so great. It may have been better with something like a roast chicken rather than turkey and cranberry sauce. Typically Beaujolais is a good pick for Thanksgiving, light, fruity, easy-drinking, and often inexpensive so this fit my criteria. Oh well, it was only $12, so I’m not upset.
2011 Les Lauzeraies Tavel Rosé
This was, in my opinion, the star of the table. I wish we had only been drinking this all day. I thought that the fruit in this was a perfect accompaniment to just about every dish we had. Plus, I think the small amount of age this bottle had gave it a beautiful complexity that wouldn’t be there had this been a 2012. I’ve been enjoying rosé a lot lately, and it’s typically a great pairing for turkey and cranberry sauce. This was a great choice, especially for $13.
Now I’ve got to start thinking about what I want to drink for Christmas. I’ve got much the same dilemma but with steak instead of turkey and baked potatoes instead of sweet. What do you think?