Stock Up For Thanksgiving (And Beyond)

'Tis the season of plenty, which means different things for different folks. If you're like some of us, it means family time (joy, and stress,) gatherings large and intimate, and maybe more than the occasional libation. Thus, it's time to start provisioning your fortifications.

As you head to your local beverage store, a few things to keep in mind: 

We are on the approach for the first of the Holiday Trifecta that is Thanksgiving, Christmas (or Hannukah,) and New Years. In other words, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Acquire (and consume) accordingly. You're going to need more than usual, so take advantage of case buy discounts if available in your market. 

That leads us to affordability. Particularly when entertaining (or attending) larger gatherings, there's no need to bust the budget. There are plenty of crowd-pleasing beverages that strike a nice balance between yum factor and cost. A handful are included below.

A blessing that might already be fading from memory is a pandemic silver lining: permission to toss the playbook out the window and redefine your holidays. Yes, tradition is often comforting, and wherever that's true for you, do your thing! However, there is something to be said for casting aside conventions that have maybe outlived their usefulness. Take this notion as broadly as you like, but for your libations, there really is no tradition worth following. Go with what you like. That's the guidance.

Earlier this week someone reminded me that it was Beaujolais Nouveau day, a wine that for decades has been marketed as the perfect Thanksgiving accompaniment. Alas, if it were any good, it probably would be, but it mostly sucks. A quick search on this site will turn up 13 years worth of thoughts on what to drink, and nowhere does Beaujolais Nouveau show up. Instead, fresh beer, low alcohol/high acidity wines, and rich bourbon are safe bets. All that still holds true. And whenever possible, reach for organic or biodynamic products - your body will thank you in the New Year.

As for specific recommendations, here are some ideas - 3 whites, 3 reds - for widely-available wines:

Matua Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand $12 Archetypal New Zealand sauvignon blanc, which is to say zippy, crunchy, super bright, and hard to ignore.

Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc California $14 Fully-bodied than most sauvignon blancs, but still with a crisp edge to it, this white is versatile and easy, and sure to appeal to both grandma and your nerdy cousin who fancies himself a connoisseur.

Pieropan Soave Classico $20 This perennial favorite from the Veneto region of Italy is a winner, even if it is on the pricier side for a Soave. Sun-filled fruit framed by enough acidity to make it good with food, there's both sophistication and accessibility here. Nothing nerdy, just goodness.

Tribute Pinot Noir California $15 From an offshoot of the Benzinger family comes this textbook medium-bodied California pinot noir, with right-down-the-middle flavors of tea, red fruit, and flowers. Easy to drink with or without food.

Carpineto Dogajolo Toscano $15 This sangiovese/cabernet blend manages to stylistically straddle international and Italian character, delivering round, full flavor with European sensibility. Super drinkable and versatile, it'll go with just about anything, including your drunk uncle. 

Domaine Bousquet Reserve Malbec $17 Concentrated violets overlay a core of deep red fruit and elegant lines. Seamless texture, food-friendly acidity, and precise structure hold the medium oak presence and honest varietal fruit in balance. Never disappoints.