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Nocking Point's 2020 Thanksgiving Survival Guide

By Katie Owen, Nocking Point Sommelier

Like pretty much everything else in 2020 (we’re looking at you, birthdays), Thanksgiving is going to be a little different this year. But here at Nocking Point, we do believe that it doesn’t have to suck! How, you ask? Well, we can think of one thing that’s working in our favor: an endless supply of wine. Plus, if you’re sitting at home drinking Stephen Amell’s wine, and Stephen Amell is sitting at home drinking his wine, isn’t it kind of like you’re chillin’ with Stephen Amell? Just sayin’.

A general rule of thumb to follow with a big meal like Thanksgiving Dinner–whether entertaining or just enjoying the meal with your partner or friend–is to move from lightest to fullest when it comes to wine. I love to start with some sparkling first, move to a light white or rosé, and then onto fuller-bodied whites or into reds, depending on the fare you’re pairing with.

My personal favorite turkey pairings are Pinot Noir, Gamay and Rhone-style reds like Grenache or a GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre blend). Fuller reds can complement the darker meat – while with the lighter meat, something a little more delicate like a Pinot Noir really shines. The first wine that comes to mind when I think of this year’s Thanksgiving meal is the Origins Pinot Noir. It’s the perfect turkey wine, not to mention that Origins is all about remembering those who came before us and what our own Origins are. It’s a great conduit for reflection and topic for discussion on this particular occasion. Italia Ricci’s Well Red Primitivo is a great option for that lighter meat- as it is very light and easy drinking, but also pretty complex.

The Turnaround Mourvedre and the Amell-bec Malbec are also very solid choices for your turkey feast. Both are medium-bodied and fruity, with nuances of earthiness, and they won’t totally dominate the food but rather complement it.

If I was going to go all out, my Thanksgiving lineup would look a bit like this…

Starting with some of the FU2020 Sparkling Rosé as an aperitif – with light appetizers, and to get everyone’s mind right. Yeah, this year has been challenging. Let’s feast and drink some good wine!

Next up would be a light, aromatic white like the Stay Gold or Couch Wine, or the versatile Pink Wine for Dudes Rosé. All three of these wines have acidity that will pair nicely with food, and they’re dry (lack of residual sugar = less of a hangover. Yay!)

When it comes to the main course, I’d probably stick with the Origins Pinot Noir because I know that it will likely vibe well with everything on the table when it comes time for the main course. Turkey, roasted or grilled vegetables, you name it…this wine is not going to clash with anything, but rather, the different dishes on the table are likely to enhance different characters within the wine.

After dinner, it’s time to move to something bolder, like the Year Six or Year Seven Cabernet Sauvignon, The Comeback Red or the Kindness Red Blend.

Quick Tips

Best Wine for Vegetarian & Vegan Holiday Dinner

Well Red by Italia Ricci, or GoodWine by Ginnifer Goodwin. Both of these young moms wanted to make something that was the perfect “afternoon wine” – the perfect wine that you could sip on with or without food, that are a little lower in alcohol but still get the job done. They’re light, playful and absolutely delicious, and they have a fresh acidity to them that plays nicely with food.

Best Pre-Dinner Bottle

If you’re going to choose just one pre-dinner bottle, make it bubbly. Whether it’s the FU2020 or Chris Jericho’s A Little Bit of the Bubbly, nothing primes the senses quite like sparkling. It’s a palate cleanser and an anxiety reducer, all in one!

Post-Dinner Bottle with Football

The Comeback (For obvious reasons, and also because it’s the perfect quaffable game time blend.)

How to Serve It Up

Personally, I own some really nice glassware, but not enough to entertain many people. If you’re hosting and are short on glassware, try mixing up the glassware on the table but in a consistent way. (ex: every other person gets a stemless, mason jar, traditional wine glass, etc.) If you mix them up the right way, it can almost look like it was done on purpose). Bigger/bolder red wines can be decanted if you so choose, and whites, rosé and bubbly should be served very chilled.

Black Friday Shopping Wine

Pinché by Aaron Diaz. Just maybe put those credit cards away after, say, half a bottle? 🙂

The Mother-in-Law Defense Wine

Something with a little higher alcohol. Let’s go with the Kindness wine! It’ll remind you to be kind, and maybe even her, too.

Keep-Your-Aunt-Happy Wine

Rosé. She’ll be so preoccupied with how GOOD this wine is (she always thought rosé was too sweet, until she met Pink Wine for Dudes!) and how charming the name is, that she’ll forget to pepper you with questions about your personal life.

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