Pop into your local wine shop on the third Thursday of the month, and chances are you’ll notice something new: cases upon cases of Beaujolais Nouveau. Made from a grape called gamay, Beaujolais Nouveau is the first wine made from each year’s harvest and, as the result of decades old marketing strategy, is now released everywhere in the world on the exact same day.
The tradition of early-release Beaujolais has been around for centuries, but it gained worldwide attention when winemaker-slash-viral-marketing-genius Georges Duboeuf began publicizing it internationally in the ’70s and ’80s. (Those brightly labeled bottles on end caps at your local liquor store? Yep, those are his.) The sped-up production timeline, around seven weeks from vine to bottle, produces wines that are low in alcohol and super fruity. Think banana candy flavoring, tart cranberries and sugary strawberries.
So, if not Beaujolais Nouveau, what should you be drinking with your Thanksgiving spread? Here’s what’ll be on my table.
‘La Roseraie’ Rosé
This aged rosé is the big brother to those light little wines you drank this summer. Made almost entirely of cabernet franc and merlot, this is a rosé meant for cooler weather and heavier food. $27
2015 Grochau Cellars Bjornson Gamay Noir
Made from gamay, the same grape as Beaujolais, this Oregon stunner remains fruity (think cherry pie and raspberry coulis) while still robust enough, structurally speaking, to stand up to that second helping of
turkey and dressing. $30
Merry Edwards Winery
Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Winemaker Merry Edwards is generally considered the queen of California pinot, and this bottling shows why. Notes of cherry cola, cranberry sauce and roasted mushrooms hang off a backbone of tight acidity, meaning it’ll pair perfectly with whatever your in-laws show up with. $50