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Wine Scene: Thanksgiving wine picks made easy

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Yakima Valley

What wines will you have on your Thanksgiving table?

It’s nearly Thanksgiving and time to think about what wines you will place on your holiday table.

Food and wine pairings typically focus on a single wine with a single dish, not the variety that fills plates during this holiday feast. The conundrum becomes: Which wines and how many? A good maxim is one bottle for every two people.

My advice: Put out a spread of wine so friends and family can experiment for themselves as they eat.

Here are a few guidelines:

Sparkling wines

Bubbles go with everything. Sparkling wines are food friendly. They also cleanse your palate, leaving you refreshed for the next bite. Begin your celebration with bubbly, and don’t forget to take the bottle to the table when you sit down.

One wine to consider is Yakima Valley’s very own Wit Cellars Sparkling Rosé. This wine was selected as one of the Top 20 Northwest wines of 2020 by The Seattle Times. This is hands-down a good choice for $28.

 White wines

Riesling and gewurztraminer are tried and true choices for the holidays. The acidity acts like sparkling wine’s bubbles, and you can choose from bone-dry to slightly sweet depending on your mood or your guests’ palate.

Other options include viognier or a white blend that can play off any citrus notes on the menu. If you’re looking for more body in a white, a good barrel-fermented chardonnay can match the strongest flavors on the menu; just make sure the fruit and acidity aren’t overwhelmed by oak flavors. The bright acidity and herbal characteristics of sauvignon blanc make it a great choice, too.

Versatile red wines

These are generally lighter reds, such as pinot noir or cabernet franc. Moving into heavier wines, think of syrah (more specifically co-ferment) and even mourvedre as good choices. The heaviest reds, such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot, can be oaky. They may match the turkey but won’t necessarily cozy up to all the fixings.

You can even split the difference between a red and white wine and go with a rosé.

Dessert wine

A dessert wine should be sweeter than dessert. With pumpkin or pecan pie, try a glass of port or sweet sherry. A sweet late-harvest riesling would also be terrific — and a great choice with apple pie.

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The following wineries are offering holiday gift packs for one-stop shopping:

Gilbert Cellars is offering a holiday wine bundle including two bottles of unoaked chardonnay, two bottles of allobroges and two bottles of Reserve No. 1, all packed up in a festive yet functional tote bag for $150.

Dineen Vineyards is featuring a red wine trio of 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2015 Heritage and 2017 Cabernet Franc for $109. Dineen Vineyards is also offering a red-and-white trio of 2015 Heritage, 2017 Cabernet Franc and 2017 Viognier for $95.

Owen Roe is offering a Thanksgiving Sharecropper six-pack mix and match at 20% off. This pack includes a red blend, syrah, merlot, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir. Regularly $96, on sale for $76.80.

AntoLin Cellars has a festive two-pack of cabernet sauvignon rosé and malbec for $44.60

Two Mountain Winery is offering a variety of gift packs including a holiday bundle featuring 2018 Merlot, 2018 Rosé, “Washington Wine + Food: The Cookbook,” holiday packaging and a personalized gift card.

Côte Bonneville has a Thanksgiving two-pack that includes 2016 Chardonnay and 2018 Cab Franc; $85 includes shipping and gift card.

Terra Blanca Winery looks to help out after the celebration with The Hangover Cure gift box for $70. This includes Transient Coffee Grounds, Nonni’s dark chocolate almond biscotti, Spokandy chocolate bar and 2017 Arch Terrace Cabernet Franc. Free shipping.

Visit the blog at for more information and to see additional wine packs available for the holidays.

• Barbara Glover is executive director of Wine Yakima Valley, an industry group representing member wineries. She writes this biweekly column for SCENE.

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