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What to Drink This Thanksgiving: The Do's and Don'ts

Fri, Dec 02, 22  |  food & wine pairing

The holidays are fast approaching, so we interviewed our in-store wine experts for some essential information on the do’s and don’ts of selecting wines for your Thanksgiving feast. Our Certified Sommeliers, Chris Miller, Lisa Schock, Christie Tagliavia and Buyers/Staffers, Ambrose Havey, Harry Brigham, Tim Reylek and Donna McDonald share their secrets for the best wine, gift giving, and family recipes etc. to make your Turkey Day something to remember!  Many of the recommended varietals are listed below this short interview. 


What is your go to varietal for Thanksgiving? And in three words or less, why?

Chris: Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Pinot Grigio. Versatile and delicious.

Lisa: Kabinett Riesling. Refreshing, ethereal, compelling.

Ambrose: Cotes du Rhone reds. Layered, spicy & rich.

Christie: A Pinot Blanc, Gruner Veltliner. Delicious, refreshing and unexpected.

Donna: An unoaked Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc or Rose.   Bright, side dish-friendly, palate-cleansing. 


And if you were to drink something more off-the-beaten-path?

Chris: A Pinot Gris from New Zealand, Oregon or Alsace. Delicious.

Lisa: An elegant, bright, red blend from Sicily’s Etna Rosso region, like Cos Pithos or Terre Nere. Silky and supple.

Harry: The distinctive, indigenous Timorasso from Piedmont. Completely unexpected. A complex, versatile white that’s so, so tasty.

Christie: A more complex white with body and flavor, like a Rousanne from Jean Luc Colombo.

Donna: Champagne or a cremant from France, blanc or rose! It goes with so many foods, why save it for just a celebration?


What would you avoid drinking with the feast?

Chris: Beaujolais Nouveau (get a cru Beaujolais instead)

Lisa: White wines that are too light (eg. Vhino Verde)

Tim:  High alcohol reds, because they would overpower the turkey.

Christie: Heavily oaked chardonnay, too rich and overpowering.


What about a cocktail or aperitif to start off the festivities?

Chris: Sherry fino or Few Bourbon up.

Lisa: A Rye Manhattan.

Harry: A classic cocktail, like The Sidecar.

Christie: Something unique, like a white port & tonic with a rosemary garnish.


And what would you drink after dinner?

Chris: Single malt scotch.

Lisa: An ice wine. Lush honeyed sweetness, tempered with searing acidity…the perfect dessert!

Christie: A Mr Black coffee martini with freshly brewed espresso. Yum!

Ambrose: A Sauternes from Bordeaux, the perfect way to end any meal.


Say you’re a guest at someone’s Thanksgiving feast, what wine would you bring to thank them for all their efforts? Why?

Chris: Rosé champagne, you can’t go wrong.

Lisa: Black Button Bourbon Cream. Made with farm fresh NY state milk & boasting other-worldly caramel & vanilla flavors…heavenly.

Harry: Kings County Winter Spiced Whiskey. It makes the perfect Hot Toddy to cap off the dinner and soothe your stomach.

Christie: Champagne! Or a nice after dinner Port to sip.


Do you have any not-so-secret family recipes, traditions, or tips to share?

Chris: No, they are secret for a reason!

Lisa: Every year we go to my mom’s and she makes her life-changing sausage stuffing. 

Ambrose: If you’re a guest- make sure to tell your host of any allergies – trust me.

Christie: Always remember to acknowledge the things you are most grateful for!

Many of the varietals mentioned are available at a wide variety of price points (see below). With such a breadth of tasty wines to choose from, perhaps you will be inspired to do your own tasting. If so, do let us know which wines YOU like best. You can comment right back here on our blog, on Facebook or in the store.  We are excited to hear your opinions!

– Lisa Schock