By Jason DeRusha

Thanksgiving is almost here, and it’s the busy season for asking questions at local wine shops. Something about the turkey makes people worried about what to pair. It’s hard – because you might want one wine for drinking with appetizers, another wine with turkey, and another wine with the heavy side dishes that many of us enjoy.

A couple general rules: Turkeys tend to be dry. High-acid whites pair perfectly: German whites tend to work well, Gruner Veltliners, Rieslings. If you like red, everyone goes Pinot noir for good reason: It’s light but bold enough to deal with all the crazy flavors on a Thanksgiving plate. If you like a big red, skip the Cabernet and go Zinfandel. I know – red and turkey? Yep, it works.

I also think you can’t go wrong with a rose wine and a sparkling wine. But if you’re normally a $6 wine drinker, step up to a $12 wine (I have many suggestions below). If you normally live in the $15 range, go up to $22. There’s no reason to spend more than that really, but if you want to spend more than that, I have some really special wine suggestions, too.

My friend Jason Kallsen from Twin Cities Wine Education has one more tip: Don’t eat cranberry sauce with your main course. “There is nothing that will kill the nuance and details of wine faster than cranberry sauce,” he said. “Serve it as an intermezzo between the main course and a dessert,” a shock to the palate before all that pumpkin pie.

UNDER $15 BUDGET THANKSGIVING WHITE WINES

rusha wine Jason DeRushas 2018 Thanksgiving Wine Guide

(credit: CBS)

LUND’S & BYERLY’S WINE SHOP
Cote Paradis Chenin Blanc-Viognier
$13.99
South African white blend of grapes indigenous to the Loire Valley and Northern Rhone respectively. “Off-dry” this gives plenty of crisp flavor, great aromas and plenty of soft flavors. All stainless steel, so no oaky influences.

WINE THIEF, St. Paul
Domaine de Pouy Gascogne
$11.99
This Southern French wine is dry, but citrus and tropical notes for days. Very refreshing.

THOMAS LIQUORS, St. Paul
2016 Cascina Bongiovani, Arneis, Langhe DOC, Italy
$14.99
A perfect alternative to another (boring) Pinot Grigio

SOLO VINO, St. Paul
Saint Lannes Cote de Gascogne 2017
$10.99
Beautiful base notes of apricot and white peaches, bright and flavorful.

1010 WASHINGTON WINES & SPIRITS, Minneapolis
Domaine de Menard Cuvee Marine 2017
Gasconne, France
$9.99 (Regular $11.99)
Fruity ripe with green and citrus fruits and a touch of honey. Refreshing and tangy!

ZIPPS, Minneapolis:
Evolucio Furmint
$11.99
This great for the money Hungarian white is mostly Furmint with a little bit of Muscat that makes this lively and fresh with floral notes and stone fruit. It’s great for turkey and even that Jell-o salad your grandma insists on making even though no one touches it.

ROSE:
Piazza Grande Lambruso Rose
$11.99
This dry sparkling rose from Italy is our go to Thanksgiving wine. It is so yummy and fun and at this price you’ll want a few bottles because it will disappear before you know it.

UNDER $15 BUDGET THANKSGIVING RED WINES

WINE THIEF, St. Paul
Seméli “Feast” Agiorgitiko (EYE-EAR-TEA-KO)
$11.99
This Greek wine has soft red and blue fruits with a hint of black tea.

THOMAS LIQUORS, St. Paul
2012 Santa Duc, Cotes du Rhone AOC, Vielle Vignes, Rhone, France
$13.99
Santa Duc is known for their old vines Gigondas; so when their old vines Cotes Du Rhone goes on sale, you’d be crazy if you didn’t gab a handful of this traditional, earthy Rhone red!

SOLO VINO, St. Paul
Dom. De La Guicharde Cotes du Rhone 2016
$11.99
More fruit forward then expected with a great back end.

1010 WASHINGTON WINES & SPIRITS, Minneapolis
Durdilly Beaujolais 2017
Burgundy, France
$11.99 (regular $14.99)
Great fruit backed by crisp acidity. Traditional Beaujolais for a traditional Thanksgiving!

ZIPPS, Minneapolis
Beauregard Bourgeuil
$12.99
Everyone will have a cheap Pinot Noir at the table, why not try something new? This Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley is fully of cherry fruit with a touch of earth and herbs and killer for the price.

$15- $30 “I LIKE MY FAMILY A LOT” WHITE WINES

gew Jason DeRushas 2018 Thanksgiving Wine Guide

(credit: CBS)

THOMAS LIQUORS, St. Paul
2017 The Flower & The Bee, Ribeiro, Spain
$13.99
This 100 percent Treixadura is a mineral driven white from the rocky terraces of North Western Spain with a kiss of ripe pear and peach.

SOLO VINO, St. Paul
Ecker Gruner Veltliner 1L 2017
$18.99
Glorious green apple, green pear with a fantastic acidic playfulness.

WINE THIEF, St. Paul
Roland Tissier Sancerre
$26.99
This 100% Sauvignon Blanc is full of mineral and citrus notes. This one keeps the mouth watering.

LUND’S & BYERLYS 
2015 Trimbach Gewurztraminer; Alsace, France
$23.99
Gewurz means “spicy” in German, but no real spice here. Instead an aromatic treat for the olfactory senses! Baked peaches and a hint of white pepper and maybe ginger. Totally dry – this is a compelling pairing with not only the bird, but the sage stuffing, candy sweet potatoes.

1010 WASHINGTON WINES & SPIRITS, Minneapolis
Antica Chardonnay 2015
Napa Valley, California
$29.99 on sale (Regularly $41.99)
Crisp lemon backed by minerality. Think Chablis not California with this one!

ZIPPS, Minneapolis:
Zilliken Riesling
$18.99
Think you don’t like Riesling? This beauty will change your mind and have you coming back for more. It has just a touch of sweetness with awesome acidity perfect to pair with everything on the table.

$15- $30 “I LIKE MY FAMILY A LOT” RED WINES

LUND’S & BYERLYS
2013 Green & Red Chiles Mill Vineyard Zinfandel
$29.99
The “governator” Schwarzenegger tried to get California to name Zinfandel the state grape. He failed, however, young and rambunctious reds like this Zinfandel can complement the Tom Turkey and all its accoutrements. Lots of fruit on the palate and not a lot of tannins is a great pairing!

THOMAS LIQUORS, St. Paul
2012 Boscarelli, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy
$13.99
You can throw just about any style of wine at a Turkey dinner, including this Vino Nobile, which just happens to be the benchmark producer in this famed Tuscan appellation. Plus, it’s on Sale!

WINE THIEF, St. Paul
Groundwork Counoise
$19.99
This Californian red has bright acidity, lean textures, and hints of cranberry. Perfect for even the driest of turkeys.

SOLO VINO, St. Paul
Ecker Zweigelt 1L 2017
$18.99
Fresh and lively red fruit with a wonderful soft finish.

1010 WASHINGTON WINES & SPIRITS, Minneapolis
Leah Jorgensen le Coeur de Tour Rain Gamay 2016
Willamette Valley, Oregon
$26.99 on sale (Reg. $29.99)
Sharp and tangy, packed with potent cranberries and earth tannins.

ZIPPS, Minneapolis:
Domaine Rolet Arbois Poulsard
$21.99
This ethereal red from the Jura region of France is the wine to serve to the hipster at the table and will please even the snobbiest of winos.

$30 + “I LOVE MY FAMILY” SPLURGE THANKSGIVING WINES

green and red Jason DeRushas 2018 Thanksgiving Wine Guide

(credit: CBS

THOMAS LIQUORS, St. Paul
WHITE:
2011 Domaine Ostertag, Riesling Grand Cru (Muenchberg), Alsace, France
$39.99
This is a golden wine in every way. Full bodied, spicy and textured through a VERY long and complex finish.

RED:
2015 Hourglass Merlot, Blueline Estate, Napa Valley
$59.99
Not all Merlot sucks, trust me. This wine is powerful, framed with firm tannins and an abundance of poised fruit. A real treat and an honest return to high quality Napa Merlot!

WINE THIEF, ST. Paul
RED:
Chateau de Haute-Serre Cuvee Prestige
$44.99
This 100% Malbec is a real stunner. Dark fruits, crushed leaves, and a touch of graphite.

CHAMPAGNE:
Marc Hebrart Brut Champagne
$54.99
Bubbles serve not only as a tasty beverage, but a palate cleanser as well. Perfect for in between plates!

SOLO VINO
WHITE:
Paetra Elwetritsche Riesling 2016
$34.99
Classic dry German style Riesling, made by a Saint Paulite.

RED:
Paetra Pinot Noir 2017
$29.99
Elaborate bright dark cherry notes with a serious tannic structure.

LUND’S & BYERLYS
ROSE CHAMPAGNE:
Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose NV
$99.99 (on sale for $87.99 through January 3)
100% Pinot Noir, from some of the finest cru’s, aged for a minimum of 5 years, this wine pleases every time! Think currants, strawberries and black cherries. Lovely mousse. A winner!

WHITE:
Ridgedale only
2016 Domaine August Clape St. Peray
$54.99
Only 100 cases of this phenomenal wine even made it to the States it’s unlikely that you’ll find it anywhere. L & B Ridgedale has about 12 bottles. 40 year old Marsanne vines makes for a classy white with tons of character! Pear, melon, lemon and an attractive nuttiness on the long finish.

1010 WASHINGTON WINES & SPIRITS, Minneapolis
WHITE:
Prager Klaus Riesling 2015
Wachau, Austria
$79.99 on sale (Regular $89.99)
Fruit forward with the perfect amount of acidity and elegant and rich at the same time.

RED:
Beaucastel Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2015
Rhone, France
Sale $99.99 Reg. $109.99
A stunning wine from the first sip! Fruits, berries and smoke…just a perfect complement to your Thanksgiving feast.

ZIPPS, Minneapolis:
WHITE:
Huet Clos du Bourg Demi- Sec Vouvray
$40.99
Huet is a classic Vouvray producer and this slightly sweet style will go with everything. It is so complex and delicious that you might just forget about the food.

RED:
Abeja Merlot
$49.99 (SALE $34.99)
This is the perfect wine for those of you sick of being told to drink a light bodied red at Thanksgiving. This Merlot is soft and silky without being too fruity and finishes a little spicy. A Merlot to make you forget you’ve ever seen Sideways.

ROSE CHAMPAGNE:
Mousée Fils Rose Effusion
$54.99 (SALE $49.49)
Because… rosé Champagne. You cooked it all, or you didn’t, but you deserve it either way.

——-

Here are the addresses and links for all the stores mentioned in this roundup:

Lunds & Byerlys (Ridgedale)
13081 Ridgedale Drive, Minnetonka

Wine Thief
1787 St. Clair Ave, St Paul

Thomas Liquors
1941 Grand Avenue, St. Paul

Solo Vino
517 Selby Avenue, St. Paul

1010 Washington
1010 Washington Ave., Minneapolis

Zipps Liquors
2618 E Franklin Ave, Minneapolis

Jason DeRusha

Comments
  1. Sarah K. Andrewson says:

    Good list, but it’s missing some local selections. There are so many fantastic MN and WI wines that make the perfect addition to any holiday feast. Drink local! 🙂

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