Our Thanksgiving with Wine

Over the last few months I’ve read hundreds of wine pairings from great bloggers around the world (wide web). The general concensus of Thanksgiving pairings included a Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel. While I respect the opinions of those blogs and I learned a great deal, the best advice I heard was from TheWineWhore who encouraged, “drink what you like.”

Our Thanksgiving adventure began with driving to Portland, OR from Spokane, WA. After 5 hours and 20 minutes in the car (impressive to those that know), we arrived ready to celebrate with family and with wine. Below is a recap of the five wines we enjoyed.


Frontera Cabernet Merlot Blend – $3

Okay, before you judge me and discredit this blog – it was offered to us by my Father in-law. In the spirit of diplomacy, I partook. It wasn’t Boone’s Farm but it was dull, bland, watery, and lifeless. If you’re in the need for a $3 bottle of wine, it’ll do but otherwise drink grape juice instead.

Thursday (Turkey Day)

J Bookwalter 2008 J Bookwalter Tercet (Roussane / Marsanne / Muscat) – $18

We brought this Columbia Valley, WA white blend from our Woodinville tasting trip. This was a great starting wine for the night. Very flowery roses, lemon and vanilla for the smell. The sip was crisp and believe it or not had hints of pumpkin pie (nutmeg and vanilla). The wine was overwhelmed by the sweet potatoes but held up well with the turkey, stuffing and cranberry. P.S. It is the only J Bookwalter white that is not sold out.

2008 Cline Cellars Cashmere (Mourvedre / Grenache / Syrah) – $21

Like the Led Zeppelin song of the same name this wine is big, bold and complex. This blend supporting the breast cancer network comes off very fruity on the sniff but the sip provides a balance of plum, pepper and cocoa. The Sonoma Valley, CA wine clashed with the cranberry but paired well with the mashed potatoes, gravy and green been caserole. Definitely want to find this wine again to try with pork, lamb or heavy pasta. Cline Cellars

2007 Pillar Box Red (Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot) $10 or less

The big fruit forward selection is a bargain from your local Costco. The fruitiness of the Shiraz was balanced out by the spice and boldness of the Cab. The sniff was not as complex as the previous wine and the finish had the most tannin. Pillar Box Red felt chewy when drank alone but pairing with the turkey, stuffing, and later the cheesecake it came alive nicely. The 90 point score in Wine Advocate seems a few points high but I will definitely pick this bottle up on the next trip to Costco.

2008 Oregon Pinot Noir – $13

This ‘best selling Pinot in Portland’ was the last of the Thanksgiving wines to be opened. The only thing paired with this wine was great conversation over global warming, health care, and my last piece of Eggnog cheesecake. At $13, Eola Hills Pinot was the hands down best value. The swirl was the lightest of all the wines we tried, translucent and brilliant. The cherry, vanilla smell reminded me of Cherry Dr. Pepper. The sip was light bodied with good tannin structure on the back end. Admittedly, I am not a Pinot lover, nor do I have vast experience in tasting them, but this wine scored high with me.

For the most part we bucked conventional wisdom. The wines we gave thanks over were chosen because they were ‘liked’ by the people who brought them. TheWineWhore’s advice is the best – drink what you like. If you don’t know what you like or have fears over food pairings, check out the hundreds of amazing reviewers out there (some are on my blog roll to the left).

Enjoy life with friends and DRINK.HAPPY!


Owner of Nectar Tasting Room in Spokane, WA. (@nectarwine) Publisher of Spokane Wine Magazine (@spowinemag), author, speaker, consultant and internet marketer with Nectar Media (@nectarmedia)

3 comments on “Our Thanksgiving with Wine

  1. Randy Watson

    Thank you for the shout out! :)

    It sounds like you had some great wines for turkey day, which one was your favorite? Thanksgiving is such a difficult day to pick a bottle (or three) of wine, I just say screw it and pick whatever the heck you want… as long as you are having a good time, it won’t matter.

    My turkey day pick was a Chard that I had been saving that I brought back from a trip to Napa… didn’t go astronomically well with the turkey but didn’t matter. I still enjoyed every last drop!


    1. drinknectar

      Hey Randy, my favorite was the Pinot Noir which actually surprised me because I’m usually not a Pinot lover.

  2. Tim

    I dont usually buy wines under $10 because I am a wine snob, but…
    and I also don’t usually coupon shop for wine…
    Pillar Box $8.99 with a $2 coupon…couldnt resist.
    and actually…pretty good for the price. Probably will buy it again if I’m having a party


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