We asked wine pro Rob Mondavi, Jr. (whose housewares collection he and his wife Lydia curated) to help walk us through the best wine options for the big day. Rob chose a gorgeous quintet of Thanksgiving wines for our wine club, so let his expertise help keep you from picking a clunker.
“Although turkey plays center stage in the American culinary tradition, the accompanying side dishes vary greatly by region,” says Rob. He’s a big fan of what he calls the “2 x 2 plus 1” rule of thumb: “Two red wines and two white wines, plus one sparkling wine to lift the spirits.”
Rob suggests starting with one classic white and one red wine such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, and exploring more unusual wines from there.
1. Villa Sandi Il Fresco Rosé
“Nothing sounds better at the holidays than the pop of a sparkling wine cork,” says Rob. “Italians know how to celebrate, and this sparkling rosé Prosecco is perfect to enjoy when your guests arrive or throughout the meal.” Thanks to its aromas of strawberry and cranberry, with mouthwatering fresh raspberry flavors, “this is a show stealer.”
2. Spellbound Chardonnay
Where there is poultry, there should almost always be Chardonnay. Spellbound’s is, says Rob, “a classical American Chardonnay showcasing ripe fruit with tropical notes of mangoes and nectarines.” He particularly loves “the rich flavors of vanilla from the oak and delicious buttery notes.”
3. Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
For a lot of guests, it’s not a feast without a top-notch Cabernet Sauvignon. “Selected from top vineyards across the romantic Napa Valley,” says Rob, “this is a perfect representation of what classic Cabernet Sauvignon should be.” He loves its bouquet of a summer berry patch and baking spices. “Its flavors of luscious blackberry, cocoa powder, and black plum make this a classic beauty.”
4. Crios Malbec
This is, says Rob, “a joyously sneaky wine.” With big flavor and soft texture, it’s precisely the right wine to experience the beauty of Argentina’s Malbec grape. “Flavors of dark fruit cobbler with berries and plums and aromas of leather and milk chocolate make this a true show stealer.”
5. Laurenz V Singing Gruner Veltiner
“Don’t let the name scare you,” Rob assures us. “‘Gruner’ (GREW-ner) is likely my favorite esoteric white wine for the holidays. The wine has aromas and flavors of vibrant golden and Fuji apple characters with remarkable freshness. It’s pretty and crisp. Beware, though, that it’s so easy to drink you might run out, so stock up!”