A bubbly (or two). Whether you opt for a sparkling wine or bubbly cider, something that will please a crowd and not bankrupt the host is key.
Sparkling cider is a perfect call for the afternoon glass (or morning, no judgment here) while cooking, thanks to a much lower alcohol volume, relative to wine. Trabanco Poma Áurea Sidra natural brut nature is a lovely, quite dry Spanish cider with a persistent bubble. It presents more like wine and less like boozy sweet apple juice. Also, the 6.5% alcohol means you won’t need a pre-dinner nap.
Avinyó Reserva brut cava is our top pick for the party-friendly sparkling wine of the holiday season. With beautiful fruit and elegant body, this wine has wowed our picky colleagues, and it is affordable enough that you can keep it well stocked for larger gatherings while you enjoy cheeses and pre-dinner appetizers. Organically grown, this vintage sparkling wine for under $25 is hard to beat. Buy it by the case and be ready for New Year’s Eve, as well.
A white. Options are great, but sometimes the best course is to pick a white that can do it all. Think somewhere in the middle, neither too full nor too light-bodied. A little bit of fruit-forward character is nice for tackling the many flavors on the plate (sweet potato souffle and Brussels sprouts is a tough combo), but sometimes grapes like chardonnay or riesling can be polarizing.
We are obsessed with Venica Venica friulano, a lovely white from northeastern Italy. The friulano grape checks all of our boxes for the holiday table, bringing some delicate fruit, as well as floral and mineral qualities, while still delivering good acidity. No one can complain if you offer a great Italian white.
A red. If you want to complement the many varied flavors of the holiday meal, you’ll want a red wine that is not too aggressive, with mellow tannin, fresh fruit and good acidity. This is why pinot noir and gamay are so often the go-to for a traditional Thanksgiving table. Plus, the brambly red fruit mimics the vibe of cranberry sauce, adding brightness to the turkey.
Save the more robust reds, such as cabernet sauvignon and syrah, for later in the season, when the standing rib roast makes an appearance.
We are keeping it classic this year with the beautiful Clos de la Roilette fleurie beaujolais, a brilliant example of gamay that has depth and grace. And despite prices going up in every category, it still is available for under $30.
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