5 American Wines for Thanksgiving

Over the weekend I listened to a TED Radio Hour story about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The story spent some time dwelling on our human need for security. Food and shelter come lower on the pyramid – meaning we need those needs fulfilled before we move into an attempt to gain security. But security, the talk said, has two meanings, really.

Security is an actual state, a for-real situation. Security is also a feeling. We can be secure but feel insecure. We can lack security, but still feel pretty safe.

This time of year, these few weeks approaching Thanksgiving, have always been a nesting time for me. I like to declutter, plan for the holidays, make home improvements. I especially think about food, about kitchen smells, and table settings. Of things to eat and drink and share with my family friends. Building an atmosphere of security is a priority to me, and to many families cultivating a comforting path into the holiday season.

While Thanksgiving is an American holiday, the foundation of the event is reflected in cultures around the world – where we all need security. What we, as Americans, represent to our fellow humans should be the same cornerstones that established the Thanksgiving holiday. I’ve selected a set of wines, each made by an American winemaker, to represent the talents, spirit, dignity, integrity, and creativity that is celebrated each year on Thanksgiving.

5 American Wines for Thanksgiving

Bouchaine Estate Chardonnay 2014 > Dedication and Longevity from Napa

Bouchaine Winemaker Chris Kajani is a Napa native. To be honest, I’ve tried to connect with her several times this year, but we haven’t been in the same place at the same time yet. “It takes a village to craft a memorable bottle of wine, and each person who touches the process must bring a ‘no compromises’ mantra to their piece of the puzzle.”, Chris says. This statement rings particularly true during the Thanksgiving season as we gather components from all around and work together in the kitchen to make a meal that adheres to tradition and feels true to everyone at the table. This wine comes from older Dijon plantings sourced from a dozen estate vineyards. This bottle is an expression of Kajani’s taste and experience. Available for $30 from the winery.

Bokisch Vineyards Albariño 2015 > Inclusion and Cultural Scope from Lodi

From the Terra Alta Vineyard in Lodi’s Clements Hills, this is a particularly delicious wine. Albariño is native to Europe’s Iberian Peninsula, but the varietal shows a presence in California these days. Liz and Markus Bokisch are an American couple (and team) that have brought Spanish inspiration and experience (they lived in Spain and worked in the wine industry there in the 90’s) to Lodi. I love how this blend of cultures comes together in their selection of food-friendly and exciting wines. Albariño is enticingly aromatic and a suitably fresh wine to serve with your Thanksgiving meal. Made under Lodi rules, available for $18.

Saint Gregory Pinotrois 2015 > Creativity and Vision from Mendocino

Saint Gregory is Pinot-only brand of the Graziano family of Mendocino County. I am a fan of their wines, the Saint Gregory portfolio in particular. This bottle blends Pinotage, Pinot Meunier, and Pinot Noir – all aged in Burgundy oak for 18 months. Pinot varietals are often food friendly and this wine is no exception to that guideline, full of smooth tannins and ripe fruit and berry flavors. The Graziano family has four brands: two that reflect Italian roots, a Mendocino bold reds line, and the Saint Gregory Pinot portfolio. I’m fascinated by their vision for winemaking, and the creativity baskets they’ve made for wine of different styles. Available for $25 from the winery.

The Meeker Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2014 > Fun and Family from Sonoma

From the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County, this wine is a small production of what is viewed as a “less famous” grape, by the Meekers. That’s what they love about it. This is truly a family operation, headed up by Charlie and Molly Meeker and their children Kelly and Lucas (Head Winemaker at Meeker). The family has had years of fun and success with their wine business, from the early years when Charlie and Molly worked in LA as well as tended the vineyard and winery – to the years when their little wine lab was relieved of the rush of visitors by the tipi tasting room – to now, when the family works together to create innovative and well-loved wines such as this Cabernet Franc. Rich and herbal with aging potential, $45 from the winery.

Novelty Hill Merlot 2015 > Perspective and Humor from Colombia Valley

Mike Januik makes this Merlot. Fans of Washington state wine know him as one of the best. Full of experience, wisdom, and education he backs all that with humor, versatility and good character. The Columbia Valley is a warm, dry and sunny climate where cooler temps creep into fall nights, laying a cooling sweep on the vines. This Merlot is fruit-forward and elegant, an award-winner and high-scorer. This Merlot Master is described by Novelty Hill: “He’s been described as intelligent, creative, compulsive, innovative, compassionate, proud, humble and inspired.  He’s part hippy, part establishment and complete perfectionist and bon vivant.” Doesn’t that sound like someone you’d love to invite to your Thanksgiving celebration? Closest you can get, his wine – available for $23 from the winery.

Wine Pairing Weekend
Our Wine Pairing Weekend writers group joins together for a Twitter chat on Saturday, November 11 at 11 AM ET, to discuss what wines we are serving for Thanksgiving and which American wines we shared in our monthly posts.
Find us by following #WinePW.   See you then!



11 thoughts on “5 American Wines for Thanksgiving

  1. Those Napa/Sonoma vintners will be grateful for your promotion and support as so many recover from the devastating fires there this fall. We will be re-learning the California wines as we re-patriate to the U.S. next summer after 31 years overseas!

    Liked by 1 person

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