Best Wine (and Beer) for Thanksgiving? Our experts weigh in.

photo courtesy
photo courtesy

It’s that time of year again, when the experts are asked, ‘what’s the best wine for Thanksgiving?’.  Finding the right wine can be tough, but over the years, lighter reds, whites with acidity balanced by sweetness, and sparkling wines always seem to make the list.

Here are a few suggestions from local experts:

Andrea Kendro of Oak Farm Vineyards in Lodi says, they have a “Grenache that would pair really well because it’s lighter and wouldn’t take over the meal and also a Gewurztraminer. It’s slightly sweeter but the floral nose and apple characteristics would pair really well with the turkey.” Visit Oak Farm at 23627 Devries Rd, Lodi

Josh Bendick of Holly’s Hill says, “Ditto on Grenache. Turkey dinner is tough because you have such a wide range of flavors. Cranberry relish is very difficult with pairings. Grenache can handle all those things beautifully. If you want something with more weight and structure go with the Holly’s Hill Rhone style blend Patriarche.” Take a trip up to Holly’s Hill at 3680 Leisure Ln, Placerville.

Angela Findleton of Findleton Estate Winery in Camino says, “Findleton 2013 Viognier and 2012 Grenache, excellent with thanksgiving feasting!!’ Findleton Estate is located at 3500 Carson Rd, Camino.

Looking at advice from Sommelier David Dagnino, in a MyFolsom article on the subject from 2013, he suggested for whites, Riesling, Albariño, Viognier, Gewürztraminer or a Vinho Verde.

He said sparklers such as a brut or brut rose tend to pair well with everything, or that you might go for a Prosecco if you want a little more sweetness.

David also suggested Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre or a blending of the three aka ‘GSM’ could work well.

With the popularity of craft beers these days, I thought I’d also ask Mike and Jessica Mraz of Mraz Brewing in El Dorado Hills about their favorites. Jessica likes the ‘Fall IPA’, saying it is beautifully seasonal, and that it pairs amazingly with all things traditional in a Thanksgiving dinner. Mike suggests the ‘Window of Opportunity’, a Belgian style triple that is a food-pairing star thanks to the earthy spice, gentle hops, and palate-cleansing natural carbonation. It will stand up to any bird or gravy you pair with it.  Pick some up at Mraz Brewing 2222 Francisco Dr #510, El Dorado Hills. Holly’s Hill is located at 3680 Leisure Ln, Placerville.

If you’d like to try a variety in one location, head to the Back Wine Bar and Bistro this Wednesday evening. For only $10, you can try 5 different wines, personally selected by owner Jeff Back, which should shine at your Thanksgiving feast.

You’ll try Helwig Sparkling Rose from Amador County, a Pinot/Chardonnay blend from South Africa, King’s Ridge Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, OR, Irwin Family ‘La Mescla’ a Rioja style blend from the Sierra Foothills, and ‘The Pessimist’ a full-bodied blend from Paso Robles.

The tasting is available at the bar or can be served at your table in the bistro.

The Back Wine Bar and Bistro is located at 25075 Blue Ravine Rd, Folsom

Whatever you decide, I hope this Thanksgiving finds you sharing something with someone you care about.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Steve Heard, Realtor – Owner –