Updated: Nov 14
I just spent a few wonderful days in England where I got to see my eldest brother after 2.5 years and shared the Oregon Pinots we make at Rose and Arrow Estate with collectors and enthusiasts in London.
The trip was crowned by a conversation with my cab driver yesterday morning on my way to the airport. He looked in his rearview mirror and, in a typical cockney accent, said, “I hope you don’t mind mate, but I think that hat belongs on your head in a way that I rarely see. That hat is a part of you.”
I wasn’t sure what to say except thank you. He then asked me what I do, and I shared about my journey with wine. He stopped me again and said, “Now, I don’t want to get you out of sorts, mate, but can I ask, if the awareness about ADHD was around when you was a kid, do you think you would have been diagnosed?” I paused and said, “Probably, yes.”
He then said, “It is such a pleasure to meet you. You give me hope for my son who is 26 and struggles with ADHD. After smashing his ankle and missing out of a pro soccer career, he is trying to understand his place in the world, since he never wanted an office job. You are so full of joy and passion for what you do, it is a part of you, like your hat. You’ve created the perfect life for yourself.”
Well, that is quite a statement to hear. It was a beautiful and humbling reminder of why it is important to stay true to ourselves, even when it doesn’t line up with who we – or others – think we should be.
I've always thought wine is one of the best metaphors for living an authentic life. There are shortcuts to making wine that in the moment might be tempting, but a winemaker that tends his vineyards naturally, handpicks his grapes rather than machine harvests, and lets the wine evolve without chemicals, will in the end create a wine that is a true expression of the grape and the land where it is grown. These are the kinds of wines we seek out at Wine Friends because they have a special power to move those who experience them.
This message of authenticity feels right for this season of gratitude, family, and giving. As we head into Thanksgiving, let’s all remember to cherish our loved ones for who they are, and most importantly, remember to celebrate the full expression of ourselves. From that place, we can give back the most to the world.
We hope our Thanksgiving wine recommendations below help to create beautiful and authentic moments for you, your family, and friends:
THANKSGIVING WINE RECOMMENDATIONS BUBBLES
Our house favourite. This vivacious, crisp bubbly wine is just the ticket, whether you are drinking it on its own, or in an Elderflower Fizz or Kir Royal to start the evening.
BACK IN! Thomas Batardiere La Croix Hardie ($40) This is a spectacular wine from the Loire made from 100% Chenin Blanc, which has so much depth and character that it can stand up to rich cheeses but is also wonderful on its own.
BACK IN! R.H. Coutier Grand Gru NV ($48) This is in our opinion by far the best Grand Cru champagne for the price by a long way. Selected from vintages from the family's Grand Cru vineyards, so the best of the best, it is full of brioche, citrus zest, and minerals, and it is a must have with some fresh oysters or smoked salmon starters.
WHITES NEW! Homonna Tokaji Furmint -Harslevelu 2017 ($27) This blend of 50/50 blend of Furmint and Harslevelu is just world class. Vibrant deep mineral complexity and incredible acids allow the plethora of mandarin, lychee, and pear fruit to magically blend with lemon mint and apple blossom. I am struck how well it would go with turkey and cranberry sauce.
NEW! Montenidoli Vernaccia Di San Gimignano 'Fiore' 2019 ($30) This is a beautiful wine made with Vernaccia grapes from a fantastic vineyard near the hilltop Tuscan town of San Gimignano. They only use the free run juice (not harsher press juice) and it creates this elegant fresh white with lemons and melon. Serve as an aperitif or with your turkey as well.
REDS NEW VINTAGE! Clos Marie Pic St Loup L’Olivette 2019 ($24)
This winey is one of those hidden gems that you just love to find. Fastidious care in the vineyards and low yields of Grenache, Mouvedre and Syrah, create a wine full of dark, ripe fruit, with an impressive finish. Great with a selection of cheeses as the family gathers, or with your bird later on.
NEW VINTAGE! Fabio Motta Pieve 2019 ($27)
This unconventional blend of Bolgheri Rosso, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese is a serious wine for those who like a little more structure. Violets and blackberries abound with hints of sea breeze reflecting the vineyards position right on the ocean.
NEW! Lopez di Heredia Vina Tondonia 2008 ($60) This is a special wine. One of the oldest riojas in continuous operation, this is a blend of 75% Tempranillo, plus Grenache and a couple local grapes. Velvet texture with dried red currants and hint of tobacco, it has the kind of depth you can just dive into. It could easily age for another 20 years, but drink it this Thanksgiving and go weak at the knees.
SWEET BACK IN! Francois Chidaine Mont Louis Clos Habert 2018 ($43) This is a Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley, which is harvested late to allow the sugars to build up in the grapes. The wine then goes through a wild yeast fermentation to create this cornucopia of honey, mandarins, apple, pear, and lemon zest. Serve it chilled with cheese or dessert and you will round out your Thanksgiving in style.