Part Four – Thanksgiving Wines – What to Buy and Why


I think I’ve made the point already but in case you haven’t read all the previous posts – Thanksgiving dinner this is my favorite meal – period! Not sure why that is quite frankly – it just is. I’m not going to bother with suggestion for the food menu, as this is packed with everyone’s family traditions, but the wine . . . that’s where I’m sticking my nose in. This is the fourth and last installment in a series of articles where I discuss the wines I recommend one-by-one.

Trying to pair wines for a Thanksgiving dinner is tough and because on any plate you will find a wild swing in flavors; salty, sweet, earthy, smoky, creamy, acidic—and don’t forget Grandma Evelyn who only drinks white Zinfandel — a nightmare for any wine person to match.

Just like the meal that is served buffet style, my strategy is to serve the wines this way too. Just open a few different bottles and leave them in the center of the table. This way everyone can choose what they like.

With turkey, even though I’m partial to Pinot Noir as I said in the last post, another great red to have with the group of bottles in the middle of the table is Zinfandel. Turkey is a versatile meat that goes well with many different types of wine, but Zinfandel’s could be the perfect wine to complement the bird.

Zinfandel is generally thought to have made it’s way to America by way of Croatia, where the grape is known as Crljenak Kaštelanski. Zinfandel is much easier to say! The name Zinfandel was coined in America, so it fits in with the traditions of the holiday. Zinfandel is not only a zesty, berry-fruity red, but can also be a spicy tannic beast. I’ve also experienced examples of Zin’s that have been soft and simple, but usually they are highly-alcoholic versions.

Because these wines generally offer a round and balanced berry flavor, anyone can enjoy them. So, no matter how experienced with wines someone is, (most of us started with the ‘white’ version) Zinfandel will be very enjoyable for all your guests.

I’ve picked out some great Zins to serve with Thanksgiving dinner, all fruity and most with interesting touches of oak or licorice that really make them unique – all of them available at Amazing Grapes Wine Store. Click on the hyperlink to read the tasting notes for each.

Prices can vary quite a bit, so I’ll group them in to price categories of low, medium and high. Regardless of your budget, they’re all delicious:

Low price:
Gnarly Head 2006 Old Vine Zinfandel – $8.98
Brazin 2007 Old Vine Zinfandel – $13.49

Medium price:
Adobe Road 2006 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel – $30.98
Kuleto 2006 Zinfandel – $31.98

High price:
Lamborn 2005 Howell Mountain Zinfandel – $36.98
Hartford 2000 Hartford Court Vineyards Zinfandel – $69.98