It’s crunch time for Thanksgiving — menu planning, grocery lists and determining what wines to serve. With so much to stress over, I asked my favorite wine guru, Helen Johannesen of Helen’s Wines, to help us out and name 6 perfect wines for Thanksgiving. Now, you’ve one less thing to think about!
When it comes to wine, Helen’s is my favorite brain to pick. She’s the go-to wine director for Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo’s restaurants (Animal, Jon & Vinny’s, Trois Mec, Son of a Gun) among others, so she obviously knows her stuff. Knowledge is key, but it’s Helen’s desire to make wine fun and accessible that makes her so unique. And speaking of which, she’s procured an “epic” wine list for Thanksgiving that is unique, delicious, affordable, and bound to have your guests talking.
HELEN’S EPIC THANKSGIVING WINES
With Helen’s tasting notes
1. NV Chateau de Miniere, Bulles de Miniere, Bourgeuil, Cabernet Franc $23
“ALL of your Lambrusco dreams come true just in a better form!!! Sparkling red cabernet franc! It is so luscious, grip driven, peppery and refreshing. The perfect way to welcome guests and set that mood just right!!!”
2. 2015 Cidrerie du Vulcain, la Transparente, Switzerland, Apple Cidre $21
“This is made from heirloom apples in Switzerland!!! It’s not to sweet and yes it has alcohol. It’s the perfect thing to open at 10am when you start stuffin’ that bird.”
3. 2016 Broc Cellars, Crown Point, Happy Canyon, Santa Barbara, Cabernet Franc $42
“SUPER incredible and unusual sparkling orange wine made from cab franc – it’s wacky and funky but amazing and lovely. Live a little :)”
4. 2015 Claus Preisinger, Puszta Libre!, St. Laurent/Zweigelt $26
“This red is best served chilled. It is unfiltered, has so much flavor and texture and is perfect with those Thanksgiving flavors.”
5. 2016 Domaine Thillardon, Raisin Libre, Vin de France, Gamay $18
“Everyone needs a little bit of Gamay in their life. This one is fun, juicy, bright. It’s turkey & stuffing’s BFF.”
6. Jean-Louis Dutraive, Dm de la Grand’Cour, VV, Brouilly, Gamay $50
(ALSO AVAILABLE IN MAGNUM)
“The master of the Gamay grape. Trust me, you can’t go wrong, just buy this :)”
Cheers to you and your family this Thanksgiving! Send your Thanksgiving wine picks to @HostEricaOlsen on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Note: all wines listed above are available at Helen’s Wines for purchase.