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November Thanksgiving Wine Guide

Thanksgiving is right around the corner. In the midst of planning the big meal wine selections often get overlooked. If you are hosting or asked to bring a bottle to the big meal this guide will help you choose the best wines for the day. Here are some great wines and where to find them in Rochester, MN

This guide is designed to take some of the guess work out of selecting wines for Thanksgiving –everything you need to know about which wines work and where to find them.

As a Wine Educator I am often asked "What wine should I buy?" or "What wine should I bring to Thanksgiving?". Here are my answers to those questions. I will break it all down giving both budget and premium wine recommendations.

Now let's get to the wines. Cheers!

Pairing Wine with Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinner is the ultimate meal of the year. There are so many different flavors that come through during the course of the meal. There are salads, breads, green vegetables, savory herbs, rustic foods, cranberry sauce, and of course the turkey. Trying to find a wine that is going to complement all of those flavors is no easy task. Not to mention the people that you have at your table. Usually in a big group people will have preferences for their wine so making a selection becomes even more difficult. This guide will help you decide what is right for your dinner and guests.

*Click on the names of the wine to view pictures of the bottles in the notes below


Fantastic Sparkling Wine Options

Starting the meal with a Sparkling wine is a great way to celebrate. Sparkling Wines will tend cleanse the palate and are incredibly food friendly. I always have sparkling wine on my table. They just feel special and they are easy to sip on throughout the meal.

Typically for this meal there will be many people gathered so if you don't want to break the bank but want a sparkler from France I would pick the Lucien Albrecht Crémant d'Alsace Brut. This wine is a blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Pinot Auxerrois with floral, green fruit, and classic brioche notes. The bubbles are fine and persistant and perfect for Thanksgiving. You can find this wine at Apollo South in Rochester, MN for $22.00/bottle.

If you really want a celebratory sparkler to start your meal a Charles Heidsieck NV Brut Reserve Champagne would be a great choice. Coming from Champagne France this bottle is a blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier. This Champagne gives notes of toasty brioche, white peach, and white cherry with a silky mouthfeel. This wine can be found at both any Andy's and any Apollo in Rochester, MN although Apollo's pricing is slightly better at $65.00/bottle.

White Wines and Rosé Wines

White and Rosé wines make beautiful additions to the Thanksgiving table. White wines can be great palate cleansers and/or great additions to the wonderful foods found on the table.

There are 3 white wines that I am featuring. Two of the wines are more traditional for a Thanksgiving meal while 1 is a bit different. The first is the Von Buhl Bone Dry Reisling This is a wonderful dry Reisling with notes of stone fruit and citrus with bright acidity. This wine can be found at Apollo in Rochester, MN at $25.00/bottle.

The second white wine is a Sancerre. Sancerre is an appellation in the Loire Valley Region of France. These wines are 100% Sauvignon Blanc. For these wines you will find notes of gooseberry, lemon and flint. These wines are not as herbaceous as those from New Zealand. A great Sancerre to try is the Domaine Fournier Sancerre Les Belles Vignes 2021. This wine will be a great compliment to your salad starting your meal and then act as a great palate cleanser throughout the meal. This bottle can be found at Andy's Marketplace in Rochester, MN for $32.00/bottle.

The third wine is a bit different. A Sémillon from Hunter Valley Australia wouldn't be the standard choice but it drinks fabulous with food. I recently did a Thanksgiving tasting and everyone thought it was a nice compliment to food without being over powering. This wine comes in at 11% ABV for easy drinking and lower alcohol. The Sémillon I would recommend is Brokenwood Hunter Valley Sémillon. This wine has gentle floral notes, lemon zest, green apple, lemongrass, and a bit of a waxy undertone. If you want to this wine has the ability to age in bottle. Through the aging process the wine will develop toasty nuts and honey notes which are extremely unique to this wine. This wine is very food friendly. In Rochester, MN this wine is a special order. Visit any of the shops in town and they should be able to track it down for you. Start with Jack's Bottle Shop and Tessa's Office. Apollo Wine and Spirits should also be able to order this bottle. Price $25.00/bottle

Rosé is often considered a summer wine but it actually makes a fantastic pairing for Thanksgiving. There are 3 Rosé wines that I will list that would go well with this meal.

The first Rosé is the Crios de Susana Balbo Rosé from Uco Valley Argentina. This is a bright Malbec Rosé with dry and delicate notes of strawberry, currants, and dried spices. This wine can be found at Andy's and Apollo in Rochester, MN with an approximate price of $15.00/bottle.

The second Rosé on the list is Cline Family Cellars Mourvèdre Rosé from Central Coast AVA California. This wine is lighter in body and gives notes of watermelon, strawberry, a hint of rose, and potpourri spices. This is a refreshing wine and can be found at Andy's or Apollo in Rochester, MN for $18.00/bottle.

The third Rosé on the guide is Domaine des Carteresses 2022 Tavel. A Tavel Rosé is fuller bodied and darker in color. This wine can keep up with a red wine but is slightly more food friendly making it a great choice. I often call Tavel Rosé a "red wine drinkers Rosé." This Rosé is deep in color with notes of black cherry, blackberry, with some herbs and spice. You can find it at Andy's in Rochester, MN for $20.00/bottle

Red Wines

Now it is time to go through some red wine selections. Yes, Pinot Noir is always a good choice but there are other wines that will compliment your dishes at the Thanksgiving table. The following are 3 red wines, 2 of which are from the same part of France but two different quality levels, and 1 that I would consider a Thanksgiving staple on my table.

The first red wine on the guide is a Beaujolais. There are several to pick from so I will list 2 different variations at different prices. The first is Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages. This wine is from Beaujolais France and is 100% Gamay. Beaujolais-Villages is a second tier Beaujolais (All things Beaujolais will be saved for another post). This wine has notes of strawberries, black cherries, and spices. A great compliment to all of the savory dishes on the table but will also pair nicely with the cranberry sauce. Find it at Trader Joe's for $9.99/bottle 2021 Vintage or $12.99/bottle for the 2022 Vintage.

The second red wine is also a Beaujolais. This is a Cru Beaujolais meaning that the wines come from very specific areas in Beaujolais. There are only 10 areas in Beaujolais that have earned Cru status. For Thanksgiving I'm going with an elegant style from the Fleurie Cru. Bruno Copéret Domaine de Roche-Guillon Fleurie is a fantastic value. This wine will have floral, red fruit, and spice notes. This bottle can be found at Andy's and Apollo in Rochester, MN for $25.00/bottle.

The final wine in the guide is the Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha 2019 . This wine is a delicious 100% Garnacha/Grenache with concentrated red ripe fruit, blackberry, plum and vanilla. The tannins are very smooth. This is an easy drinking red but can be dangerous at 15% ABV. It will pair beautifully with your Thanksgiving dinner from Turkey to cranberry sauce. This wine can be found at Apollo in Rochester, MN for $22/bottle.

I hope you can use this guide to solidify your Thanksgiving wine picks. All of these wines are available at stores thoughout the country so even if you aren't local to Rochester, MN you should be able to find them at a store near you. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and if you are interested in having a private wine class please send me a note at or click here and scroll down to fill out an event request form.

My Christmas wine guide will drop during the first week of December. Happy holidays!

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