Thanksgiving is upon us, and we must all ask, “have we all grown a little complacent about thanks?”  Our hectic lives have taken over our sanity and the ability to download the thankful app, which is now buried amongst a heap of “to-do” lists. Do we ever stop to be thankful for family, friends, job, health etc?  The answer is, yes we do, in North America at least.

Once a year we press the brake pedal and pause.  We have fuzzy recollections of our elementary school teacher talking about the Native Americans helping the Pilgrims survive a brutal winter, followed by a successful harvest. In recent times, it’s all about Turkey Day, time off work, football games, and family traditions.

The 20 lb turkey is stuffed in the oven, the game is on TV, and relatives traveling from near and far have taken over your house, filling it with noise, debates, and chaos.  Your dog is drooling on the floor, and a kid has drawn on your bathroom wall.  Aunt Jean has baked a pumpkin pie, without any pumpkin in it.  One must take a moment, sit back, smile, and be thankful for these crazy, yet loving people in your life.  Pour yourself a glass of wine, reflect, and find comfort in the knowledge that you can choose your friends but not your relatives.

The suggested wines are all delectable in their own way, contributing to the resounding success of your special Thanksgiving day.

Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé
Mulderbosch drink me Thanksgiving wine

Year: 2016
Country: South Africa
ABV: 12.5%
Grape Variety: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
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Price: $10-13

Since 1989, Mulderbosch Vineyards have been known as one of the top ranking wine producers in South Africa. American based investment firm, Terroir Capital had its sights set on investing in the Cape Winelands and Mulderbosch was a sure bet. Situated near the Stellen Bosch in the Western Cape, the diversity of soils within the area, along with its Mediterranean-like climate, have produced diverse and great quality wines. With 44 hectares of land, Mulderbosch wanted to expand their business, and they have accomplished this by working with select winegrowers in the area.  Their technique and quality control ensure the grapes are to a high standard, with their Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé being a perfect example.

A minimalist label on the bottle is a perfect choice to show off the beautiful decadent and deep colored pink wine that awaits you.  The perfume is a summer delight of fruits with strawberry being the prominent nose. This a full-bodied and dry Rosé, which may be envied by French winemakers.

Mulderbosch Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé is complex, with the 100% seriousness of a Cabernet Sauvignon.  It has the ability to pair with rich food, due to its multilayered characteristics and lower sugar content.  Plump, ripe strawberries, flirt with slivers of watermelon, which are quickly tamed by the full mineralogy that stops the flirty sweetness from becoming overpowering. Cherry is in the corner, a little shy and just waving from the sidelines. In your mouth, it’s the perfect blend of pink wine, with a Summer garden freshness, yet it retains the deep dry plumpness of a red. Mulderbosch’s Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé 2016, is a big wine for such a slight price.  Enjoy with either your smoked salmon canapés, or a great addition to your main Turkey feast.

Niro Montepulciano d’Abruzzo
niro drinkme Thanksgiving wines

Year: 2015
Country: Italy
ABV: 13.5%
Grape Variety: 100% Montepulciano
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Price: $13-17

The Montepulaciano grape is grown in the Abryzzo region of Italy, which is cradled between the Apennines Mountains and the Adriatic Sea. Traditional techniques are used to produce this wine, which dates back to the Roman Empire era. An example of this is hand picked grapes from vines which are at least thirty years old. Niro’s label echoes images of the sea, with cursive writing, a tea stained appearance, and a rope necklace with a metal ring featuring a Romanesque key.  It presents a feeling of history, comparable to a bottle found in an old shipwreck, off the Adriatic coast. The Niro grape skins undergo lengthy maceration, which helps attain all the fruitful lushness of the grapes. Traditional and lengthy processes have established the wine’s color in the bottle as Niro, which means black in many Italian dialects. Once poured, a beautiful plum red, with deep purple tints, reflect off the glass. The nose twitches and wakes up, as pepper and cherry beside dark chocolate nibs wrap around your senses. The opening is dramatic with a full theatre of players; juicy blackberry and spices take center stage whilst earth and leather linger in the wings.

A full orchestra of dark red fruits and minerals give this wine balanced tannins, yet enough to make it an interesting performance. Exiting the stage with a satisfied palate, Niro really is a deal for your dollar and a perfect addition to either your turkey, after dinner cheese, or sweet dessert.

Mulderbosch Chenin BlancMulderbosch Chenin Blanc drink me Thanksgiving wine

Year:  2015
Country: South Africa
Grape Variety: 100% Chenin Blanc
ABV: 13.5%
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Price: $13.99 – $18

If your palate requires a fresh, light, yet complex wine to lighten your heavily loaded plate, then this selection is for you. Morning sunlight bounces off a tatami green hue, whilst being poured into your glass. An intense freshness, due to a crisp apple and pineapple perfume, is followed by complex, multilayers of happiness throughout the bottle. Peach, pear and lychee with hints of lemongrass and melon, synchronize in perfect unison. Floral notes sashay around your mouth like willow the wisp, dancing through a mineral sprinkled enchanted wood. This is followed by a stream of perfectly balanced sharpness, which flows through a river of fruits.

With a majority of the vines being dry farmed from bush vines (crop production during a dry season), the grapes are harvested with different ripeness levels resulting in earthy, oaky tones. The juice is fermented using 10% French Oak barrels and 90% stainless steel tanks, with at least six months on the lees before blending takes place.

Best accompanied with savory food to develop the layers on your palate, this Chenin has a long lasting taste which is perfect compliment to the many flavors on your Thanksgiving table.

Cru Bourgeois Chateau Lestruelle
Chateau Lestruelle Cru Bourgeois Medoc drink me Thanksgiving Wine

Year: 2014
Country: France
ABV: 13.5%
Grape Variety: 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon
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Price: $20

The Bouey family are known as some of the greatest wine makers in the world, growing and harvesting their vines since 1821. Today, Maison Bouey are one of the only independent houses left in Bordeaux. With a contemporary winemaking approach and a sustainable agriculture mindset, brothers Patrick and Jacques combine both mechanical and manual work to ensure the house preserves family growing and harvesting methods.

The Bouey’s own a number of Châteaux in the Médoc and Bordeaux region. Château Lestruelle vines have an average age of 25 years, with grapes from each plot being fermented separately. Cru Bourgeois, 2014, is aged for 12 months:  10% in barrels of one wine, and 90% in vats with French oak staves, which aids the creation of softer tannins. With a deep purple, decadent appearance, the floral nose of rich red fruits immediately offers a sense of superiority.  A morning mist freshness is present, which is a distinct character of wines found on the left bank of the Gironde estuary, north of Bordeaux. A raspberry and red currant fruit torte medley served in an oakey smoked wood cabin, brings comfort and warmth. The flavors wrap you in a wool blanket and rock your taste buds gently, in a tantalizing mélange of fruit, wild flowers and wood. It’s best enjoyed as a dinner table wine, with enough full bodied significance to complement turkey, sweet potato, and all the trimmings.

Champagne, Charles Heidsiek, Brut Reserve
Charles Heidsieck drink me Thanksgiving Wine

Year: (non vintage) Each bottle has a date bottle and diagnosed e.g. 2009, diagnosed 2016
Country: France
ABV: 12%
Grape Variety: Meunier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
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Price: $69.99

Heidsiek Champagne house was operating years before Charles Heidsiek was born in 1822. Growing up amongst the vines, Charles matured into a charming and charismatic man, who perhaps had an ego to match all these attributes. Well educated and with Champagne in his heritage, Charles knew he had to make his distinct mark on the brand, thus Charles Heidsieck Champagne was born.

Today, the Charles Heidsiek brand is known by Champagne professionals as being an understated treasure, amongst many of the well known brands. With the current Brut Reserve, it’s easy to see why it has this reputation. The label is a sophisticated, yet understated color of pewter, with light gold writing. You notice a luxurious dawn, golden hue on first pour, with an elusively continuous stream of bubbles, due to the effect from the slow maturing process on the chalk crayéres (chalk pit). 40% of this wine is from the reserve, which are aged on average for 10 years.  The nose is padded with an assortment of aromas, from freshly baked croissants next to a plate of mango, to a suggestion of dried dates, apricot, and cherry.  The unique bottle design, a wide base and long narrow neck, increases the volume of wine in contact with the lees, resulting in an aromatic density.

The palate is stuffed with juicy plump cherries and ripe plums, with a silk covering of vanilla and praline. These flavors are not only full, but multilayered and tantalizingly mouth watering.

Many assume champagne should be used for just an aperitif. Yet like any good wine, the perfected layers of a Champagne are really pronounced when sipped alongside heavier food. Champagne pairs perfectly with white meat and salty fatty food like turkey or sausage stuffing. Thanksgiving is the perfect situation to start with a glass as an aperitif and continue pouring throughout the rest of the meal.