Wine Wednesday: It’s Time to Talk Turkey – and Wine!

by Robin Barr Sussman on November 15, 2023 in Food+Drink, Drink,

Thanksgiving is probably the most food-oriented holiday of the year and the kick-off to the holidays. Here’s our food and wine tip sheet for delighting your entire group from that wine-neophyte nephew to your picky sister and everyone in between.

Light white wines and bubbles go with appetizers, cheeses, salads, and fruit

Estate Bochaine pinot gris 2019

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Zippy and aromatic, yet round and supple, this Napa gem enhances most starters. Bouchaine’s lightly oaked chardonnay and delightful gewürztraminer also impress.

Kramer Vineyards 2021 Muller-Thurgau Estate, Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon

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So expressive it leaps out of the bottle with flavors of guava, lychee and fresh orange zest and so affordable. This unique varietal reminds us of a fragrant dry Riesling.

Ricci Curbastro Brut Franciacorta

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Fresh and light as a cloud, Italian Franciacorta sparkling wine is made in the “metodo classico,” or the same classic method as Champagne. Bubbles make everything better to kick-off an occasion!

Cliff Lede sauvignon blanc 2022 Napa Valley

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Vivid and inviting, this blend brims with elegance and balance. Kiwi, peach, mango, cucumber awaken the palate!

Full bodied whites marry well with roasted turkey, buttery cornbread stuffing, salmon, roasted veggies, and pastas

Three Sticks Alana Vineyard 2021 chardonnay

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This golden chardonnay from the Russian River Valley, California, boasts lush orange and caramel balanced with spice and everything nice (plus salty bites like caviar for the holidays). You can’t go wrong with any of its portfolio of chardonnays or pinot noir.

Stags’ Leap 2021 Napa Valley viognier

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Much like chardonnay, aromatic viognier marries well with this rich meal of savory stuffing, glazed turkey and other buttery classics. Stag’s Leap has also perfected its graceful 2022 Napa chardonnay. 

Lighter reds and some pinks pair with pork, game birds, fruit relishes, and seafood

GC Wines 2022 Convivial Oregon gamay-pinot noir blend

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With bright red fruits and bracing acidity, you’ll want to sip this family-friendly wine all day with appetizers, cranberry sauce, turkey, and the fixings.

Materra Cunat Family Vineyards Yoshino 2022 rosé

Made to pair with light Japanese cuisine, Materra Cunat wines are elegant with layered flavors. Its dry and crisp malbec rosé is ideal with a traditional umami-filled Thanksgiving spread. The whole portfolio is worth exploring!

Nicolas-Jay 2019 L’Ensemble pinot noir Willamette Valley, Oregon

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Pinot noir has become the go-to red for America’s annual feast due to its versatility with almost every dish. Silky L’Ensemble is a beauty with a cult following.

Morgan Winery Twelve Clones 2021 pinot noir

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Wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands in northern California produce rich wines with vibrant color and freshness. Morgan Winery’s silky Twelve Clones pinot noir begs to be on your Thanksgiving table along with Morgan’s Highland chardonnay.

Thomas Fogarty 2021 Santa Cruz Mountains pinot noir

Thomas Fogarty produces many different varietals, and its top-shelf pinot noir collection is especially splurge-worthy. This appellation blend is fresh and playful with notes of cherry, tarragon and citrus.

Medium to robust reds pair with beef tenderloin, venison mushroom dishes, and cranberry

Ram’s Gate 2021 syrah, Richard’s Vineyard

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The newest addition to Ram’s Gate beautiful collection is a dark, hedonistic sip with distinct aromas of sage, rosemary and thyme – a match made in heaven for this holiday meal. The Sonoma Valley Bucher Vineyard chardonnay is a gem as well.

Spring Valley Vineyard 2019 Uriah red blend Walla Walla Valley

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Expect a bold red with loads of character and notes of roasted coffee beans and herbs with dark black fruit. Merlot, cabernet franc, petite verdot and cabernet sauvignon make up the lip-smacking blend.

Wrath 2018 San Saba Vineyard syrah, Monterey

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Here’s another winery that produces wines made from grapes grown in the cool Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. Of the small-batch sustainable wines including several pinot noirs, its rich syrah packs powerful flavors of black pepper, black olive, cassis and a kiss of smoke with seamless tannins.

Markham 2020 Napa Valley merlot

For those who like cabernet sauvignon, but not the tannins and heaviness that accompany some, top-notch merlot is the answer. Markham specializes in merlot, so expect a plethora of expertly crafted choices including this Napa Valley wine with juicy black cherry flavors and a velvety dark chocolate character on the long finish.

Local Texas Flavor

Photo courtesy Texas Fine Wine

Texas Heritage Winery

We love supporting the wineries in our backyard, and Texas Heritage is a family-run winery and tasting room in Fredericksburg producing award-winners. Highlights include interesting whites like the 2022 vermemtino, 2019 malvasia Bianca, and the 2020 Texas Hill Country trebbiano. Popular reds include the 2019 tempranillo and the 2019 Texas High Plains merlot, to name a few.

Pedernales Cellars

Based in Stonewall, Pedernales Cellars and tasting room specializes in sustainable Spanish and Rhone style wines, including benchmark tempranillo and viognier. The food-friendly wines, including a delightful rose and effervescent Kyla Pet Nat, will surely please your group.

Flat Creek Estate Winery & Vineyard

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At this fun winery in Marble Falls, wines meticulously crafted by winemaker Olivier De Certaines are now available at select retail locations across the state. Six distinctive vintages and blends are on offer including the Super Texan, the Montepulciano, the Four Horsemen, and the pinot grigio. Flat Creek’s 80-acre escape offers diverse amenities include a tasting room, The Bistro restaurant, an outdoor pavilion, and a scenic disc golf course.


Cover Photo Murray Photography

Robin Barr Sussman ( is a freelance culinary and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone, Calif. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. Sussman is a columnist for Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, Prime Living and Houston House & Home. Her work also appears in Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.