Drinking

Wines to Get You Through the Most Expensive Turkey Day Ever

From left: Excelsior Chardonnay, Westmount Pinot Gris, Protocolo Tinto, Scaia Rosé, Bervini Extra Dry Prosecco
From left: Excelsior Chardonnay, Westmount Pinot Gris, Protocolo Tinto, Scaia Rosé, Bervini Extra Dry Prosecco Various Wineries
Holiday planning got you down? Terrified at the cost of groceries? Overwhelmed by every story that comes shrieking over your feed, crying “The Most Expensive Thanksgiving Ever!”?

Not to worry. Wine will redeem all. Despite all of its pandemic supply chain ills, as well as continuing cost pressures, a funny thing happened to wine prices this holiday season. Some went up, but a lot more didn’t, and many retailers filled in the gaps with less expensive wines. Hence, there remains tremendous value on store shelves.

In other words, less shrieking and more enjoying; check out these suggestions for the various holiday tables:

Excelsior Chardonnay

About $10, available at Central Market
Ten-dollar chardonnay tastes like chardonnay about as often as we get 72-degree days in August in Dallas. But, somehow, this South African white does the trick. It’s simple, but not stupid, and made in fruit-forward California style. So, not too much oak, some citrus, and none of that flabby tropical fruit so many of these kinds of wines have. Drink this chilled with turkey and ham.

Westmount Pinot Gris

About $13, available at Pogo’s
This is Oregon pinot gris, the state’s take on the too-often bland Italian pinot grigio. But this version isn’t bland and offers surprising value, given the cost of most Oregon pinot gris. It’s an almost subtle wine, with more pear than lime than is typical, and it has more minerality than most. Serve this at Thanksgiving or whenever you feel like a glass of chilled white during the holidays.

Protocolo Tinto

About $10, available at Central Market, Total Wine
Every time I write about this Spanish red, I get emails asking how a wine this cheap can be worth drinking. Oh, how far have we fallen? The reason is that the producer isn’t trying to impress anyone; it’s trying to sell lots of wine. Soft red fruit (cherries), and a bit rustic on the back end, but just the thing for any holiday pot roast. The white and rosé are also well worth buying.

Scaia Rosé

About $15, available at Jimmy’s
This Italian wine is one of the all-time great pink wines and would be even without its famous glass closure. The current vintage is a little more French in style, so crisper, more direct, and with more minerality, as well as just the right amount of strawberry fruit. Serve this with almost anything, save prime rib.

Bervini Extra Dry Prosecco

About $15, available at Jimmy’s
Given that even ordinary supermarket prosecco costs $15 these days, this is an amazing value. The bubbles are a little smaller and tighter than most proseccos, the Italian sparkling wine. There’s a bit of lemon and maybe even some stone fruit, and it’s not as sweet as other proseccos. (Extra dry, by the way, is sweeter than sparkling wine labeled as brut.)

Chateau de Campuget Rosé

About $12, available at Central Market
This French pink usually costs a couple of dollars more than most well-made cheap rosés, but you know what? It’s almost always worth the extra few bucks. It’s consistent, for one thing, offering quality every vintage — not common at this price. The 2021 is a little richer and fuller, and almost fresher, with lots of pleasing red fruit and still bone dry. So, yes, Thanksgiving.
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Jeff Siegel, the Wine Curmudgeon, is a Dallas wine writer and critic who specializes in inexpensive wine that most of us drink. He is the author of The Wine Curmudgeon's Guide to Cheap Wine (Vintage Noir Media) and oversees the award-winning Wine Curmudgeon website. He has taught classes on wine, spirits and beer at El Centro College and Cordon Bleu.
Contact: Jeff Siegel

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