Good Thanksgiving Wines for Under $20 a Bottle

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What do you plan to uncork to accompany your Thanksgiving feast?

Figuring out which wines will complement the multitude of flavors served up at Thanksgiving can seem like an arduous (and expensive) task. But it doesn’t have to be.

Here are some budget-friendly ideas for wines to pair with your meal:

  • Hors d’oeuvres. WTOP wine contributor Scott Greenberg said a sparkling wine, like a non-vintage Gran Gesta Cava from Spain ($15) or Gruet Brut from New Mexico ($17), is a great way to start the Thanksgiving celebration. “I think the bubbles are not only festive, but they help cleanse the palate, and most sparkling wines pair well with a variety of foods,” Greenberg said.
  • Turkey time. If you want white wine, Real Simple recommends the 2008 Hayman & Hill Russian River Valley Reserve Selection chardonnay ($14). Another option is the Fetzer Quartz White Blend ($10), which The Daily Meal said is “floral and spicy wine all at once.” If you’re looking for an affordable red wine option, The Daily Meal recommends Dark Horse cabernet sauvignon ($11). “The wine was ultra-filtered to remove bitterness and refine the tannins, still leaving behind an espresso-like finish,” The Daily Meal added. Real Simple recommends the 2009 Matua Valley Marlborough pinot noir ($14) with its “Bing cherry notes, a medium body, and a floral, smoky perfume.”
  • Bring out the pie. Greenberg said that if you’re looking for a pairing for pumpkin pie and other desserts, picking a wine with good acidity is key to “keep that sweetness in check.” He recommends the non-vintage Buller Fine Tokay from Australia ($15), with its “aromas of raspberry, orange zest and toffee, and flavors of sweet red fruit, coffee, toffee and caramel.” The Daily Meal recommends the Dark Horse chardonnay ($11) for its apple and pear flavors and “spicy yet smooth finish.”

Dave McIntyre, wine columnist at The Washington Post, recently provided some sage advice about selecting a Thanksgiving wine:

Don’t sweat the wine. Open one of everything. Any good wine will match something on the menu, and most likely will match the majority. Food-wine pairings don’t have to be difficult and stressful.

I usually buy a few bottles of Gewurztraminer, which McIntyre said is an OK but predictable choice. I’m far from a wine connoisseur, especially when it comes to red wine, so in the past I’ve asked our guests to bring their favorite red wine if that’s what they’d prefer to drink.

What are your favorite Thanksgiving wines? Share your thoughts below or on our Facebook page.

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