Here’s What You Want To Drink With Your Turkey Dinner This Thanksgiving

Colourful, gnarly gourds are on the grocery shelves, I’ve had my first grilled acorn squash of the season, Okanagan pears and apples are on my counter and sweaters are making an appearance again. Harvest is in full swing across BC and the northern hemisphere’s vineyards. Somehow, it’s already October, and Thanksgiving is days away. The holiday is a harvest celebration, first recorded in North America in 1621, though the tradition of celebrating harvest with a feast is one that predates Plymouth by hundreds of years. The guest list at the Plymouth plantation numbered approximately 90 Native Americans and Pilgrims coming together in camaraderie, feasting on wild turkey and corn.

The menu hasn’t deviated too much in 400 years, with turkey, corn and all the fixings the most popular Thanksgiving dinner across North America today. Now I can’t speak to what the Plymouth folks were drinking for their Thanksgiving fete, but I certainly can make some recommendations for your present day harvest celebration. The traditional turkey dinner can be a challenge to pair to, with all the different flavours, spices, side dishes, textures, temperatures – and guests – at the table. Here are some suggestions that work well with all the multiple factors, and satisfy my personal #1 pairing requirement – be a tasty drink.


Locavore (5)

Unsworth Vineyards
Pinot Noir 2012
Cowichan Valley, BC
* $24

Pinot noir is a classic Thanksgiving choice, with complementary berry flavours, lighter tannins and brighter acids. The inaugural pinot noir release from this highly promising Vancouver Island winery – and worth waiting for. This is what the cool climate, maritime influenced wine islands should gravitate towards – bright, elegant and finessed light reds. Youthful vines yield sweet perfumed roses, bright cherry blossoms and wild  strawberry  Presents young and fresh and lively = ideal. 89 points.


Budgeteer (4)

J.G. Carrión
Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava N/V
$13  +551218

Amazing value here – crisp, fresh and dry, método tradicional sparkling, with bright citrus, white peach and green apple and lively, pithy acid. Start this while you’re cooking and continue through the appies and right into dinner. At this price, and for this quality, you can afford to!

The winery behind Cristalino, Jaume Serra, was founded in 1943 by respected enologist Jaume Serra Guell and was purchased in 1997 by the J. García Carrión family. Though J.G. Carrión is a major Cava producer (one of the largest bubble producers in Spain), it’s lesser known by name on this market, having been caught up in a years-long lawsuit brought on by Cristal Champagne, over the closeness in nomenclature. Carrión won. 87 points.


Cellar Dweller (3)

Domaine Lathuiliere
Pisse Vieille Brouilly 2012
Beaujolais, France
$25  + 924365

Not all Beaujolais is created equal. Cru Beaujolais is one of the darlings of the wine world, prized for its accessibility, freshness and food-friendliness as well as its graceful savoury structure. The 5th generation Gravallon family of winegrowers owns 15 ha of vineyards in the heart of the Beaujolais region across six different appellation areas. This, in Brouilly, is a site of 50 year old vines, sustainably raised (Lutee Raisonee) and nurtured. Tense and precise from first sniff to fading memory, with strawberry stoniness, wild raspberry, black plum and dried herbs, and fragrant wildflowers. The concentrated and structured palate has bamboo strength tannins, firm yet yielding. Love the savoury structure of this serious, Cru Beaujo. #GoGamayGo. 90 points.


Adventurer (2)

Bieler Père & Fils
Sabine Rosé 2013,
Coteaux D’ Aix En Provence
$17  + 32805

Rosé is an oft overlooked choice for Thanksgiving dinner, though I feel it’s a better partner to the myriad of dishes than most white wines. The light tannins and berry fruit of a dry rosé stand up to roasted poultry, cinnamon/cranberry and earthy rooty sides admirably. This savoury and crunchy rosé from Coteaux d’Aix en Provence practically craves food – as will you when you get the bold and bracing wine in your glass. A medium-deep pink hue, this wine is smoked stone, raspberry, bing cherry and cracking spice, bone dry and medium bodied. Sourced from 5 hillside vineyards of Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, the blend is Syrah-based (55%), along with 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Grenache, 3% Cinsault and 2% Rolle. 88 points.


No Wineos (1)

Left Field Cider Co.
Little Dry
Mamette Lake, BC

As the name suggests, this is Left Field’s little, dry cider. In comparison to their Big Dry, which is, well, you know, drier. Lightly sparkling, with a cool, stony edge and crisp yellow apples, light whiff of florals and an even lighter skiff of tannins. Just barely off-dry, this is a nice, light (7.4%) alternative to wine for your table.

The small batch, artisan cider company was officially launched in 2011 by Kate Garthwaite, prompted by three generations of farming genes and aided by her partners – her friends and family. Kate’s interest in cider led her to study and apprentice in the US and England, learning the craft through expert hands-on tutelage. All of Left Field’s ciders are made from blending English and French cider apples with local Okanagan varieties.




Each week Treve highlights 5 timely and tasty picks. Her weekly choices include Locavore (BC wines), Cellar Dweller (wines to lay down for a while for maximum enjoyment), Budgeteer (wallet-friendly bottles under $15), Adventurer (wines for geeks, enlightening or pushing the envelope) and No Wineos (a non-wine pro-alcoholic beverage). So what are you waiting for? DRINK This!






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*Asterisks denote wines that are only available at the winery or select private liquor stores. All other wines are available through BC Liquor Stores. The price is suggested retail price, and may fluctuate depending on source. Wines are scored out of 100 points.


Written By:

Treve Ring is a wine writer, editor, judge, consultant and certified sommelier, and has been with EAT Magazine for over a decade.\r\n\r\nIn addition to her work with EAT, she is a Wine Critic and National Judge for ...

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