What We're Really Drinking on Thanksgiving (2021) | Wine Enthusiast
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What We’re Really Drinking on Thanksgiving (2021)

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Thanksgiving traditions vary from large gatherings with turkey and trimmings to solitary fried chicken feasts. No matter what the meal entails, you’ll want something memorable in your glass, too. Here, 12 members of the Wine Enthusiast team share what they plan to pour on the big day.

For Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law prepares the turkey Finnish style: stuffed with orange slices, rosemary sprigs and spices. Being that I’m the only one in my family that drinks rosé… I like to pair my meal with a blush cuvée Grenache rosé. Crisp with juicy red-fruit notes, it pairs deliciously well with the Nordic-style turkey and balances the flavors of assorted sweet and savory side dishes. —Jaime Brown, Digital Editorial Assistant

I’m perennially on sparkling rosé duty for big family get-togethers. My parents get started with white wine before everyone arrives, meaning the rest of us have to find something else to sip on while setting the table. I opt for pink bubbles because I’ve convinced myself they pair well with any and every antipasto we pick at while placing dishes and silverware. —Marco Bruno, Social Media Coordinator

Thanksgiving wine
Thanksgiving traditions vary / Getty

We’re going to be a pretty small group this year—our family Thanksgivings used to be 30+ people strong—so I’m pretty excited to share a couple of special bottles that I know each sip will be truly, thoroughly enjoyed. We’ll start with a Ca’ del Bosco Dosage Zéro Franciacorta to go with the dried fruits, nuts and cheese appetizers, because who doesn’t love to kick off a special day with some bubbles? With the big feast proper, I’m a big fan of juicy reds with crunchy red-fruit flavors to pair with my bird and sides, so we’ll pop a bottle of A.A. Badenhorst’s Ramnasgras Cinsault to keep our palates happy and our hearts light. — Lauren Buzzeo, Managing Editor

Every year I look forward to going to my brother’s house for Thanksgiving. Not only is he a seven-minute drive from my home, but my sister-in-law is the best non-professional chef I know. I look forward to her delicious roasted brussels sprouts, tart cranberry sauce and seductively moist roasted turkey. (Even the non-turkey lovers in the family enjoy this dish.) The chef’s kiss of the experience, however, is the Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon. One of the few interests my brother and I have in common is dry red wine that goes down smoothly and doesn’t result in a headache. The only hangover I have the next day is the lack of leftovers. —Dara P. Kapoor, Executive Director of Content

We’ll likely start with a “Modern Mule,” using our favorite Maid of the Meadow vodka from Beacon’s Denning’s Point Distillery. The vodka’s unique wild-herb and honey notes added to the little bite from the ginger and lemon should ready our palates for the side-dish onslaught. There’s a chance it may also find its way into a thermos for our traditional pre-feast walk! —Julia Lea, Digital Creative Director

If I’m hosting the big day, I will make it easy on myself and go with classic T-day wine pairings: aromatic whites like Gewürztraminer and Riesling, and light-bodied reds like Gamay, Pinot Noir and (if I’m feeling frisky) an unoaked Cabernet Franc. There’s a reason these are the classics and, after days of kitchen prep, the last thing I want to worry about is the wine. —Alexander Peartree, Tasting Director

Beer is always my go-to for a holiday meal, but I like to keep it light. And as a Massachusetts girl, I always love to have Sam Adams’ Boston Lager on hand. Its crisp, clean flavor is perfect for the array flavors on the Thanksgiving table. I’m also planning, for the first time, to have some Athletic Beer this year. This nonalcoholic beverage is easy to drink and allows you to enjoy a beer without the buzz.—Kristen Richard, Digital Editor

My brother-in-law’s brother kindly prepares a delicious pre-dinner cocktail each year. It’s a riff on a Kir Royale made with sparkling wine and his homemade Concord grape syrup. (He lives in Maine and is very resourceful!) Bright and tangy, it whets your appetite for a long day of eating, drinking and talking over the football game on TV in the next room. —Emily Saladino, Associate Managing Editor, Digital

My mother-in-law loves bubbles, so this year, I’ll share Philippe Sohler Brut Rosé, a wine that’s more gold than pink and gets lots of fresh, crisp apple and pear flavors from Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris. It’s also got kind of an earthy, mushroomy edge to it that will work nicely with every element of the meal. My dad requested Alsace wines, so he can learn about this region that’s part of my job. I’m happy to oblige with not just bubbles, but Pinot Noir too. There are plenty of great under-$20 options with so much bright cranberry flavor that we may not even need cranberry sauce. I’ll go with the Ruhlmann Cuvée Mosaique, which also has some cedar notes that add a festive feel. —Layla Schlack, Associate Managing Editor, Print

Sparkling rose thanksgiving drinks
Sparkling rosé is Marco Bruno’s pick / Getty

Starting Thanksgiving on a bubbly note always makes the holiday festive. You can find incredible value in crémants, such as the Lucien Albrecht NV Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé… Next, ideally, in a picture-perfect world where I’m drinking in order of weight and body (which doesn’t always happen!) I’d go for a sumptuous Pinot like a bottling from Sonoma Coast or Willamette Valley. This is the holiday to treat yourself! Hartford Court makes some exceptional, lower-production labels. Finally, I hope to finish with something big and bold! Drinking Zinfandel on Thanksgiving can spark debate (is it really an “American” grape and does it even go with turkey?). The answer to both of those questions may be no, but since Thanksgiving food is so full-throttle, I say go for it. There is a producer called Manzanita Creek that makes old-vine beauties I highly recommend. —Erika Strum Silberstein, President, Wine Enthusiast Commerce

I love offering a few different bottlings during the holidays. I like to start dinner parties with bubbles, so this year, I’m starting with a fun Austrian Sekt from Christian Madl. I have a bottle of Von Den Weissen 2013 Brut that will excite their palates. For the appetizer course, I’m presenting a bright white wine like the J Vineyards 2016 Bow Tie Chardonnay. And for the main course, I’m opening a special bottle of the Emeritus 2017 Pinot Noir. —Jacy Topps, Assistant Editor

My family celebrates a mix of Mexican, German, and American traditions, so our Thanksgiving dinner is very diverse. This year, we decided to do something extra special because it just happens to be my birthday! I will prepare Feuerzangenbowle, a traditional German drink in which a rum-soaked pastry is set on fire and served with mulled wine. I don’t think I’ll need candles on my birthday cake this year! —Itzel Wittlif, Digital Product and Marketing Manager

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