Vintage Flows: Your Thanksgiving Wine Playbook

“Yeah, after hours of Il Mulino/Or Sotto Sotto, just talkin’ women and vino/The contract like ’91 Dan Marino/I swear this guy Michael Rapino’s boosting my ego” — Drake

I don’t know about any of you, but when I think about Thanksgiving what comes to mind is great food, wine and football. I’m going to give you a play by play game plan on how to be this year’s Thanksgiving MVP. If you’re like me, year after year you watch everyone else credited for making Thanksgiving so special, while you sit on the bench “guarding the gatorade”. Well this playbook is not only going to get you in the game, you’re going to be running a Tom Brady like offense. So, just stick to the plan and wine your way to victory!

1st Quarter: I’ll assume there are some appetizers, passed hors devours, chips, and dip, etc. We definitely want to look to control the pace of the game early. We’re going to play it safe with a nice Sauvignon Blanc for our white wine drinkers. Something to get the taste buds going for all of the incredible flavors your about to taste. My suggestion is “Stone Bay” Sauvignon Blanc. Not only is it delicious, its inexpensive and sure to keep you under salary cap. Now we all know you can’t be all offense, you want to pair that up with a solid defense. For your red wine drinkers, start them off with a Pinot Noir. It’s an easy and always a crowd pleasing drink. I recommend “Love Noir”. Cute name, good wine, and very affordable.

2nd Quarter: It’s now time for the first course, and we need to get some points on the board before we go into the half. This is that moment when we look to the playbook for something that will definitely catch them off guard. There’s an Austrian grape called Gruner Veltliner, commonly known as “the groovy grape”. It’s a cross between Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio, but more flavor and body. There’s one in particular called Grooner that I like a lot, and it’s also a good value. Now it’s time to throw of their momentum by going for the extra point. A red blend is a great way to get everyone bought in to what Thanksgiving is all about. Inclusion is always the goal, we need everyone to come back ready for another half of domination. I’d say “Cooper & Thief” Bourbon Barrel Aged Red Blend is the call. Sweet, smoky, dry, creamy, smooth, okay, this baby definitely has it all. Just make sure you’ve let it breath for at least an hour before you serve.

3rd Quarter: Its crucial to make a big statement here. This is the time when the main course is served with all the fixins. Favorites like macaroni and cheese, yams, cranberry sauce, greens, and of course turkey, ham are always staples. This may be a moment where we make a play to keep the defense honest. A big, oaky, dry, creamy Chardonnay is about as gutsy a play there is since “The Annexation of Puerto Rico”. “Mer Soleil” Chardonnay is a white wine that offers all those flavors. This your high priced player, that is a “sure handed” wide receiver. On the other side of the ball, we have to make sure we don’t give up an inch. Dig your heels in the dirt and go with a savory Spanish Rioja. It will create a sweet symphony in your mouth that is sure to throw off any offense out there. My go to is “Muga” Rioja. If you pay close attention, you can actually taste some delicious maple smoked bacon. This one will make Aunt Janet look like she fumbled on the potato salad, for sure!

4th quarter: Now it’s time for dessert. This is where the Thanksgiving legends are truly made. AS we all know, it’s not necessarily about how you start the game, it’s about how you finish. For white wine, a good German Riesling is a great way to close things out. It’s sweetness is ready for any pie, cake, cookie, and or ice cream you throw at it. “Hermann J. Weimer Riesling” is my recommendation for this one. However, we also have alternatives of going with a red though. I actually don’t believe in going too sweet with the red for dessert. I feel like you want to have a nice balance so I’m dialing up a Petite Sirah. This is your bread and butter play. You’ve ran it a million times and it’s always proven effective. It has cinnamon baking spice tones, some chocolate, black cherry, and it’s nice and rich. It’s a strong finish to your super bowl of holidays. Petite Sirah is an end zone dance worth any excessive celebration penalty. Celebrate with the team in extraordinary fashion. This is your moment.

Overtime: The majority of the family is gone, the kids are asleep, this your down time. Everything has been put away and your holiday is coming to an end. Your favorite siblings, cousins, or friends are there kicking back with you, and now its time to unwind. For me, that’s lighting up a nice cigar to cap the night. It’s now time to go into that “secret stash”. This is where you do you! My go to when I have this type of opportunity is “Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon”. Definitely a cult classic, I feel this one doesn’t always get the love it deserves. So enjoy this, kick your feet up, and checkout your highlight reel type of wine. Sip slow, sip often. Breath in the wine, exhale the cigar smoke. You’re in wine with those yellow jackets.

So raise your glass like it’s the Lombardi trophy. Take that trip to Disneyland, or maybe fall into a serious food coma. Either way, enjoy the sweet taste of victory. You’ve won Thanksgiving #fordacultcha!

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