Willie's World - Thanksgiving Wines That Will Surprise You

Closeup of Thanksgiving table with decorative gourds and seasonal ingredients

As a young wine professional bitten by the wine bug, I wanted to impress my family with a unique wine for Thanksgiving dinner. My mom Jane always insisted on Mumm’s Extra Dry Champagne and my dad Walter served Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. I brought a bottle of Heitz Cellar's Martha’s Vineyard 1967, which I had purchased a year earlier at the winery. I was advised to wait a year before serving it.

So how did this departure go over? My parents were not impressed. What was the lesson learned? Unless I enjoy Thanksgiving with wine sophisticates or professionals, I should stick with serving what the guests will enjoy. My recommendations for Thanksgiving 2022 are top-notch wines that consumers will be comfortable serving to their guests and will definitely enjoy!

My six wine recommendations for Thanksgiving are:

2021 Famille Bouey Colors 721 Rosé

Tending vines since 1821, the Famille Bouey is one of the last independent family-owned trading companies left in Bordeaux. Roger Bouey’s life spanned the entire century (from 1901-2000) and his legacy was the merchant company he founded with his sons, Serge and André. In 1958, Maison Bouey was born. This rosé is made from 100% Merlot—what a nice a surprise! The wine is a light pink color with lovely tart red fruit, spicy dried fruit flavors, excellent textures, and a crisp finish. The wine is refreshing and compliments the first course.

2020 Gustave Lorentz Pinot Blanc Reserve

I’m a fan of Pinot Blanc because it pairs well with the entire meal, and it’s a crowd pleaser. The Lorentz family is highly regarded worldwide. The winery is currently run by 6th generation family member, Georges Lorentz. This dry, white wine offers tart apple, mineral notes and a fine chalkiness. The wine will pair with a variety of cuisines.

2020 André Brunel Vin de Pays Grenache

What can be better than a delicious, smooth, and fruity wine? André Brunel is one of the Rhône Valley’s most respected wineries. This Grenache has bright red fruits, hints of pomegranate are layered on the palate with a slightly elevated, smooth finish. The wine is great for guests who want something similar, but slightly different than Pinot Noir.

2020 Bel Colle Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nuwanda

Winemaker Luca Bosio, known for his wines from Piedmont, was thrilled to make wines from a different part of the region where there is an unusual microclimate and geology that is especially beneficial when growing Nebbiolo. Movie fans may recognize the name “Nuwanda” as referenced in the movie Dead Poets Society. Like the name “Nuwanda,” this wine is the expression of strength and power. Nuwanda Barbera d’Asti is bright and vibrant with a strong and attractive persistence on the palate. Perfect for wine lovers, its red fruit flavors and crisp acidity will charm those wanting a sense of adventure.

2020 Ironstone Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc brings a smile to my face and is reminiscent of what my parents would enjoy at Thanksgiving. Forget your assumptions about Lodi, you will love this Cabernet Franc from Ironstone! The Kautz family, owners of Ironstone winery, are delighting wine fans with their push to elevate the quality of everyday value wines. This wine is precise with notes of dried leaves, spices, and tart raspberries. It’s freshness and vivid fruitiness will put a smile on your face!

2017 Quinta do Vallado LBV Port

Dessert is the grand finale to your beautiful feast; end it on a high note. Quinta do Vallado, LBV port stands out with its ripe, sweet flavors and firm tannins. Vallado is known for their amazing dry, red wines, and high-end ports. This accessible port is an amazing compliment to an assorted cheese plate or range of pies.

Thanksgiving dinner is a special time in which family, friends and neighbors take center stage. No matter who is dining with you, they will fall in love with these special wines.

—Wilfred Wong