Like many Americans in the midst of this (seemingly never-ending) pandemic, you might find yourself sitting alone this Thanksgiving.

Perhaps you are planning to be with your closest loved ones. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to reflect upon this difficult year and be filled with gratitude for our uncounted blessings, while equally filling ourselves with delicious food and beautiful wines.

As I wrote last year, “For every malady in life, we are taught that God created a solution.” And this year, the solution is surrounding yourself with extended family (if possible) and copious amounts of wine.

So with the understanding that you will likely open just one bottle for this year’s feast, here some options that are nice to pair with the array of delicacies which are likely to grace your table.

As Thanksgiving is the All-American holiday, let’s seek out readily-available American wines, and as an extra layer — and since you likely have a small crowd this year — let’s shoot for a price tag under $20 per white and $30 per red.


White:

Displaying a refreshing, crisp acidity backed with perfectly balanced fruit, with notes of lemongrass and tropical fruits, this Napa Valley 2019 Hagafen Sauvignon Blanc ($19, mevushal) will pair so nicely with your bird and sides. Perhaps the most versatile white wine is Riesling, and this off-dry Washington State 2018 Pacifica Riesling ($15, mevushal) displays excellent acidity, the beginning of some funk, with lemon and mineral notes.

For a cheaper, supermarket-case (not in Maryland, sadly) option, check out the 2018 Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc ($9, mevushal), sourced from the well-regarded Clarksburg appellation just outside Sacramento, Calif.

Showing off-dry pear fruit with zest, make sure to serve this offering chilled.

Red:

2019 Hajdu Besomim
2019 Hajdu Besomim, $29, Clarksburg, CA (Photo: Kenneth Friedman)

Winemaker Jonathan Hajdu of Berkeley, California’s Covenant Wines produces this yearly mishmash blend aptly named Besomim (aromatic spices) under his namesake label. The 2019 Hajdu Besomim ($29, non-mevushal) is a blend of Carignan, Zinfandel, Grenache and Petite Sirah, and is aged 11 months in neutral oak.

With a nose of red and dark fruits, balanced acid and vanilla, this is a fruity, spicy wine with enough backbone for any of your fleshier courses.

The 2018 Weinstock Cellar Select Cabernet Sauvignon ($19, mevushal), from Paso Robles, Calif., shows cherries, blackberries, green pepper, cedar with a medium body, fresh balancing acid, and medium plus tannins, and a not-overwhelming 13 percent ABV (alcohol by volume).

Pinot Noir is a classic pairing for turkey, so I’d be remiss not to include one. This Clarksburg, Calif. 2018 Herzog Lineage Pinot Noir ($17, mevushal) offers an easy-sipping glass of light-to-medium bodied, varietally-true Pinot showing lively, dark, cherry and jammy red fruit with some vanilla.

Raise your glass this Thanksgiving and make a l’chaim to your health, to your continued blessings and to better times ahead!  

Dr. Kenneth Friedman

Dr. Kenneth Friedman is a Baltimore-born kosher wine aficionado/connoisseur. He is known for his unsolicited wine advice and runs many local kosher wine tastings.