Even Bad Jokes Can Make Good Thanksgiving Wines

Nov 01, 2018 · 33 comments
Bonnie (White Plains, NY)
After reading this article I purchased three of the wines. One white which we never opened and two of the red. The Yakut for $11 and the Chateau Le Puy Duc des Nauves for $20. We opened the Duc des Nauves first. It was fabulous. We then opened the Yakut. Great value for the money but not as good as the first. If we had opened the Yakut first we probably would have been astonished at how good it was for $11. ( I say this as I sit finishing the Yakut and still shocked at how good it was.) Thanks for such terrific recommendations!
jj Ganesh (nyc)
sangiovese!
Sophia (Shaker Heights, OH)
Agile wine. Sounds great. In my next life I want to come back as a oenoscript. Or a person who names nail polish colors.
Corkpop (Reims)
Here in France a roast turkey would call for either a light red or solid fat white. Choices would be entry level Burgundies, Beaujolais or young loire maybe Sancerre rouge ( every dog has its day). For the white a Languedoc blend, Crozes ou St Joseph for the marsanne, roussanne where there is a little weight. A solid entre deux mers also works. All of the above are not bank breakers. I would save my good Bordeaux and top white Burgundy for finer dishes. Also you’d open a couple of bottles of nv champagne, just saying. Happy thanksgiving to everyone !
polymath (British Columbia)
Ha, I wonder how the photo managed to capture the wine at an angle to its glass! (Did someone tilt the table?)
Todd Howell (Orlando)
Thoughtful yet whimsical...enough with the personifications. I’ve sourced wines from across the world for fine dining and the disfunction supply chain matched up with descriptor nonsense like this makes me want to just order a beer.
Helen Boudreau (MA)
Please consider Beaujolais Nouveau with your feast. This year's wine is excellent! The Nouveau, always released on the Thursday prior to Thanksgiving is soft and smooth, pairing nicely with most anything and affordable to serve to a crowd at $8.99 or $9.99 depending on the store and the brand.
Ellen Shoshkes (Portland OR)
I'd like to know where to buy these wines, and at these prices!
Mickeyd (NYC)
Asimov is always entertaining. But occasionally the logic of his views seems a bit confused. Mostly it's fun to read anyway. For instance, he opines that Thanksgiving is not the time for "precision matching." I generally follow pairing suggestions if they sound sensible. Often I agree with great enjoyment. Less often, not. But the idea that precision matching" even exists is a bit challenging. Precision? If there were such a thing I guess I would be pleasantly surprised forever. Precision. Ha! Also, Asimov suggests we keep the alcohol count a bit low because, among other reasons, people come from "hill and dale". Great reason. It will avoid "languor." Excellent reason. So how much should we plan per person to avoid languor? A bottle apiece! Yes he's always entertaining and a good read .
Paladin (New Jersey)
Any wine that makes you feel good, enjoy the company you’re with, tastes good, and is within your price range will be perfect. Don’t over-analyze this - it’s a holiday and you’re with friends. Enjoy! And be thankful.
Scott (NY)
I make it a point to serve only American wines for Thanksgiving. Thanks for the suggestions on the ones you featured.
Rico (Auckland)
@Scott like Vitis labrusca?
KayVing (CA)
Love the Oregon Pinot Blanc idea, as I just had my first a week ago. Kelley Fox's Pinot Blanc has an undertow of sweetness along with a long line of acidity that would make it perfect for Thanksgiving food. Isn't an anonymous white, but has tons of personality.
Kerry Garesche (Mundelein, Il)
Eric, thank you for keeping up your Thanksgiving tradition so I can keep mine. Let the wine hunt begin!
Paul Bunten (New York, NY)
I serve red wine only to my Thanksgiving guests. Probably a Medoc. This isn't a restaurant.
KayVing (CA)
@Paul BuntenGosh, hope I don't miss out on the invite this year...
JPH (USA)
I had written another comments ...22$ for a little Bordeaux for Thanksgiving ? It is a wine that costs barely 10 euro in France . St Cybard. not bad.:un cotes de Castillon.It is still in Gironde but near the Dordogne ,close to where Montaigne was born. It is not a Bordeaux !!! But is it worth writing a column about a 10 euro wine for the most important dinner of the year in the USA ?The turkey deserves a wine with deeper curves specially because it is served with sweet accompagnements: yams, marshmallows, even potato puree .(can I write it in French ? ). A Graves or a St Estephe? You can find decent wines even in NY for 25/30 $ . But no California wines for that price . And to me they would largely overcome the taste of the turkey which is rather bland .
Tuvw Xyz (Evanston, Illinois)
@ JPH USA The first problem with Thanksgiving is the turkey. It is mostly no longer wild, but farm-raised, and it requires good basting and baking to be crunchy and not taste like turkey. The second problem is the wine. I believe it should only be white. Depending on one's taste and pocket, a dry, well aged Vouvray from the Loire Valley would be a good choice. For a sweater or drier taste, go with the Alsacian Gewürztraminer or Riesling, respectively. To follow good table manners, do not eat the wings and legs of the turkey with the fingers, but always with a fork and sharp knife.
JPH (USA)
@Tuvw Xyz A Vouvray is good with a fish of the Loire ...or some tripes may be.Not with the turkey . Too sweet.A Vouvray does not exist by itself .You have a glass of Vouvray or two and then an other wine.Red. Is with the turkey, like the color of its pending beek attributes. But not a too strong wine because the flesh of the turkey is rather flat and has a delicate flavour not to be destroyed by a 15 degree California wine.Unless you eat only the thighs and wings ...with your fingers. Always the fingers in France.You even throw a rethoric with the pilon in your hand up !
Peggy (Upstate)
I'm sure all of Mr. Asimov's suggestions are dandy, but we'll be drinking Finger Lakes ciders, both still and fizzy -- perfect autumn quaffs to accompany Thanksgiving dinners. Highly recommend South Hill, Kite & String, Ithaca Cider Company, RedByrd, Black Diamond, and Eve's Cidery labels. Delicious, and lower in alcohol than many wines, so you can drink lots, which is what we plan to do, finishing with iced cider with dessert. Cheers!
JPH (USA)
Do you need a column in the NYT to review 11 $ wines for THKSGVG ? 11 $ means 5 or 6 euro wine in Europe. Not a wine for a Holiday meal as it is the biggest and only annual family dinner in the US. Vouvray for those who don't like wine ? Thank you.A little bio bottle from Bordeaux ,I looked : St Cybard .Not too bad but for 22 $ you can find better .The turkey deserves a Graves or a Medoc. The St Cybard is too flat .And since the meat is served with sweet accompagnements ,you need a wine that has more mellow and deep curves.
Roger (Castiglion Fiorentino)
@JPH Not that it matters too much, but today the euro is at 1.14 dollars; an $11.00 wine would be about 8.50- 9 euros!
JPH (USA)
@Roger You did not understand... a 12 $ bottle of wine in the USA is a 6 euro bottle of wine in France. No more. It has nothing to do with Wall Street . But... a 40 $ bottle of wine in the USA is perhaps a 35 euro bottle of wine in France. Go figure... Nothing to do with Wall Street ...except that the always win. If you understand what I mean..This time. If you are poor you pay double.If you have much more you pay just a bit more.
Carol K. (Portland, OR)
I have to agree with Pete on the Borealis (Willamette Valley) for Thanksgiving. To me, it's the ultimate turkey day go-to. In a word no oenophile would approve, it's yummy. I've had a feasting bottle for ten years, so far. It's not carried in major outlets here in Portland, but it's available by mail from the vineyard. Too heavy for a white? I generally start off with an Italian prosecco. For a person who's meh on turkey and trimmings, the wine makes the meal. Until the pumpkin pie, that is.
Bob Brown (Ventura County, Calif.)
If there is abundant, bountiful joy, any wine is fine. Especially Sparklers !
JPH (USA)
I realize that the wine choices here are from people who probably drink sweet drinks like cola or fruit juices ,soda at everyday meals. If you want to start appreciating wines ,drink water not pepsi with your daily sandwich. And if you drink wine,don't drink it as if it was coca cola by the full glass and throatful.When I see those huge glasses ...!
KayVing (CA)
@JPHThe choices of wine in the article and comments lean toward the sweet not because the readers are the stereotypical Americans guzzling supersized soft drinks, as you seem to suggest. Rather you misunderstand the character of most thanksgiving meals here. The turkey is bland, and rather tasteless. Thus, the wine is really to be paired with the side dishes -- many of which run towards the sweet side. Cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, even the stuffing are all sweet-ish. In that context, the choice of vouvray is a good one, as is Eric's suggestion of a pinot blanc. Red, unless it is fruity like a cru beaujoalais, and hopefully a little bit chilled, isn't a good choice.
Mike (Ohio)
Growing up in the 1970's meant a chance to have Cold Duck with Thanksgiving dinner. Great memories. I highly recommend people (families) trying it and reviving the tradition.
JPH (USA)
@Mike As a naive european I truly considered that you were writing about having duck for Thanksgiving until I read about Cold Duck .Mixed sparkling wine and red wine ? This must be really disgusting.
Mitchell (Haddon Heights, NJ)
@Mike My last experience with Cold Duck was about twenty years ago. Tasted like carbonated cough syrup. An experience I have no desire to repeat.
Bradley Currey (St. Louis, MO)
I have a different approach to Thanksgiving wine choices. In the Midwest (and I suspect elsewhere) most dishes offered are rich and a bit salty. Moreover, many folks drink wine only on holidays (beer being the default). So I would propose wines with bolder and fruitier profiles. For example, a Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay, or (if money is no object) any wine from Zind-Humbrecht. For red, a fruity Zin or Oregon Pinot like St. Innocent.
Paul (Bergen)
Could you include a slide show of the recommended bottles? I don't always (read: rarely) recall the wine names but can often summon up a mental image of the labels.
Tuvw Xyz (Evanston, Illinois)
@ Paul Bergen I gladly second your wish. The published lists of wines and vineyards exceed by far my knowledge of geography. As to the choices of wines for Thanksgiving, I see the main problem in turkey and the methods of its preparation as the pivotal course. I like turkey that does not taste like turkey (all baked to delicious crispness). This is easier to achieve with a phaesant -- alas, only farm-raised are to be had, no wild phaesants available.
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