What kind of wine should I bring?

My sister is hosting Thanksgiving for her first time. I asked her what she would like me to bring, she said please bring a bottle of wine.

Now, I don’t drink very often and I drink wine very rarely, so I’m going to need a little help selecting a decent bottle of it.

The menu will consist of standard Thanksgiving fare with the addition of a waldorf salad and a parsnip dish.

If any of you could help steer me to a moderatly priced bottle that will go nicely with our dinner it would be greatly appreciated.


If you’re in Seattle, there is a Trader Joe’s there. They can direct you.

“take” not “bring” Unless you’re addressing the hostess.

In my experience, people at the wine stores are very helpful. Tell them how much you want to spend and they’ll steer you in the right direction. As a general rule, you do get what you pay for.

I fully agree with the advice already given - you’ll have a wide selection available as turkey will take all but the fruitiest whites and all but the beefiest reds. A dessert wine might be a nice touch to round things off.

Kniz, was that really necessary?

Go to a decent wine store (not liquor store or supermarket), tell them what you want to spend, your preferences if you can express that, and what the wine is for. They’ll help. I think a nice crisp white would go well with the Waldorf salad and make a nice transition to the turkey course. Your tastes may vary. If you’ll just be drinking one bottle (how many people, will they have multiple bottles of wine?) then that may be the way to go.

If most of the folks there don’t drink wine often, you may want to go with something simple and a bit more sweet. If your sister is a wine snob and you’re afraid of offending her then you can ask her for a recommendation.

Clou Dubois (or something close to that) is a good white wine (chardonnay) that’s moderately priced (I think it runs $9 - $10). The label is kind of yellow and gold-ish. And, depending on how many people are coming, you may want to pick up more than one.

Ok, I went and dug in my collection for some suggestions. I’m just going to hit on whites, if you want a red then there are a lot of other possible choices.

Hogue Late Harvest White Riesling: this is more a dessert wine, really, but if you don’t drink wine much it’s an easy, sweet wine to drink. And it may complement well some of the sweeter Thanksgiving offerings. I thought of this one since Hogue Vineyards is almost local to you. If you want to choose this vineyard but going with something more traditionally suited to the meal you could try their Fume Blanc. Both should be in the $7-10 range.

I tried a nice inexpensive Chardonnay this weekend, Cotes du Sonoma Chardonnay from Pellegrini Family Vineyards. It was available for about $7 a bottle. For something a little more dry you might go with their Olivet Estates Chardonnay, about $10+ IIRC.

I have a thing for Spanish wines, which you may find inappropriate for Thanksgiving, but I have another sweet white, Torres’ Vina Esmeralda, which is a gewurztraminner/moscatel blend. My wife loves it. I thought it had a strong scent of peaches, but it has an easy, balanced taste. (not peachy) Probably about $15. I also had a Lagar de Cervera recommended to me, and I picked up a bottle but haven’t tried it yet. It’s supposed to be a little more complex, medium bodied white. The bottle I got was around $14.

Good luck.

I would personally recommend Kendall Jackson Chardonnay.

I came across some basics on wine selection about a year ago. (Quite possibly mid-November of last year.) Let’s see how much I remember.

If the hostess did not ask you to bring a particular kind of wine, and I think a good hostess would not make such a request, then don’t expect your bottle to be served at the dinner. The hostess presumedly has planned the wines to coordinate with the meal. As such, select a room-temperature or slightly-chilled variety. Don’t choose a wine that should be well chilled.

The bottle should be stoppered by a cork, either natural or reasonable synthetic. Skip any bottle that is stoppered by a plastic plug. Screw-cap bottles are not even to be considered.

The bottle should have a reasonable indentation in the bottom; IIRC, this is a cross over from champagnes. Similarly, skip a bottle that has a built-in handle.

Avoid Concord grape wines. Concord grapes are highly bitter, so sugar has to be added to the wine. The resulting wine is good for certain types of cooking, but not for drinking.

Avoid white Zinfandel wines. Unless you look good in a tutu, and are actually wearing it when you buy the bottle. White Zin is generally considered “not a real wine.” Go with red Zin instead.

A vintage wine (there is a year on the label) is better than non-vintage. If you know which years are “good” vintage and which are “bad,” then I should be taking advice from you.

Divide your age by 2; if the result is more than 25, drop it to 25. This is the maximum you may spend per bottle. If you go over this limit, then it is presumed that you know what you’re doing, and again I should be listening to you.

If the dinner includes some special celebration (in addition to the Thanksgiving holiday), champagne is appropriate – but coordinate with the hostess. Choose a “brut” sparkling wine over an “extra dry,” but be advised that brut is dryer. If you have a choice, choose “fermented in this bottle” over “fermented in the bottle” (emphasis added).

Feel free to select a reduced-alcohol wine or sparkling juice, especially for a group of non-drinkers.

Some quick personal recommendations: I’m partial to Baron Hertzog wines. I also lean towards Cordon Negro champagne. And support your local vinyard, if there is one.

gato negro, lontue valley chilean.
it has a picture of a black cat (duh) on the label

they do a cabernat sauvignon, a merlot and a white (i think sauvignon blanc, but might be chardonnay).

all very good, cost about £3.99 in the Uk.

i personally like chablis, and oaked whites, but in my experience you can’t go far wrong with a sauvignon blanc, chardonnay or similar for guests.

nothing too sweet, so stay away from the reislings.

if you’re at all fussy about additives, go organic and stay away from the large vineyards (eg Gallo etc) as they tend to put extra tannins etc into the wine afterward.

I’m a sweet wine drinker. I’d be far happier if guests that brought wine to my house would stick with the White Zin’s, the Reislings, the Gweistermieners (however that’s spelled, its my favorite) and skip the dry crap. If I want to drink dust, I’ll drink dust. My husband doesn’t drink wine at all. So we collect bottles and bottles of some pretty good wine that no one here will drink (However, I stay away from the MD, not THAT sweet, thank you).

Does your sister drink wine? Are there any wine drinkers in attendence? Or is this the equivalent of my hosting a pot luck, one of my non-cooking bachelor friends asking what he should bring, and my answering “chips.”

If they are wine drinkers, go to a wine shop, give them your price range, and ask. My brother in law is a wine snob (unlike me), we buy him a nice ($50) bottle of wine every year for Christmas using this method and he is always pleased. If they aren’t wine drinkers, use the same method, but let them know that they aren’t wine drinkers and go for something a little sweeter, and maybe instead of one nice bottle, get two bottles of two different kinds in the cheaper range.

I’m going to directly contradict something ScubaBen said. Don’t support your local vineyard, unless you live in an area where good wine is made. I live in Minnesota. There are local vineyards here. Last bottle of wine I had from a local vineyard I used to dye pants. A lot of really bad wine comes from locals.

I would, of course, just ask my sister what kind of wine to bring. Why? Just in case she already has some.

Ahhh, it’s his SISTER, fer chrissakes, not Miss Manners. And her first big Thanksgiving, too. I’m sure she asked him to bring the wine so that SHE wouldn’t have to worry about it.

I’d bring a Pinot Noir: a nice, light red. By all means, ask the staff of a good wineshop for reccomendations, but if you say “I was thinking of a nice Pinot, around twenty bucks or so,” they won’t figure you just fell off the turnip truck and steer you towards the plastic bottles.

Champagne is nice, too. Nobody argues with Champagne.

I like Gewurztraminer with poultry, especially turkey. Not overly dry(usually), not oaked or overpowering but still has a nice flavor. Good for the casual wine drinker.

Your local wine botique should be able to recomend one.

I don’t know if you get many BC wines in Seattle, but if you do I’d recomend either a Gray Monk, Hawthorne Mountain or Summerhill. I don’t know US wines at all. Sorry :frowning:

Washington has some nice wines which would be semi-local if you’re actually in Seattle. Columbia Crest and Chateau St. Michelle are a couple of labels to look for that afford good value for the money.

Chateau St Jean and Simi have nice Chardonnays as well.

My LCBO "Wines of Ontario"wine-and-food-pairing wheel lists the following as good types of wine for turkey:

Reds: Gamay and Cabernet Franc
Whites: Riesling, Gewurztraminer and Vidal.

I have another wine wheel which contradicts this a little;

It says Sauvignon Blanc is good for “Thankgiving turkey” (yes, it specifies -aparently its to be avoided with other turkeys :slight_smile: hehe

Gewurztraminer is also good with “turkey”.

For Reds, a Beaujolais is good for chicken, so could probably pair ok with turkey too, as would a Bordeaux.
Cotes du Rhone are good with "light meats/herbs"which may be something like what you’re looking for, and Syrah/Shiraz is good with "chicken and spices"which again, depends on how your sister plans on cooking the turkey.

Depending on the number of people, I would probably buy two bottles: a Gewurz to begin with (the Waldof salad) and then a red, perhaps a Shiraz (for no other reason than because I love Shiraz) for the main course. This also covers the needs of people who don’t drink reds, or don’t drink whites.

As for specifics - well, I’d buy something regional, most likely, from the Niagara penninsula. I tend to prefer New World wines to a lot of the old ones, and they tend to be a bit cheaper.

If this is a big enough party, consider getting a port or icewine for dessert/cheese course after the meal. It’s a great way to end a meal, IMHO.

Have fun!

Columbia Winery’s Cellermaster’s Reserve Reisling.

A) it’s local (assuming, of course, you’re actually in Seattle).
B) it’s cheap. but looks nice.
C) I have never met a person who doesn’t like this wine. Ever. Even people who don’t drink wine usually. It goes over incredibly well.
D) you can get it almost anywhere in the area (again, assuming you’re in the greater Seattle area)

Please don’t get a sweet wine unless you’re bringing more than one bottle. This is the first time I’ve heard people who call themselves wine drinkers say they prefer them. Personally I can’t stand them.

I like Ukulele Ike’s suggestions the best. Pinot noir and champagne - who couldn’t be happy with that?