Beaujolais Nouveau, Benjamin Darnault, Chardonnay, Christmas, Franc Dusak, Joel Gott,, Pinot Noir, Rose, Thanksgiving, Wine

Fantastic Thanksgiving Wines, Perfect for Chirstmas Dinner


The wine was flowing at Thanksgiving this year! My son and I were invited to spend the day with the family of his friend, Edward. With about 20 people in attendance, we blended in and had a great time. In addition to the four wines I brought, which I review below, several other people brought several bottles to share. Those included Frei Brothers Cabernet Sauvignon, Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Talbott Pinot Noir, and William Hill Chardonnay.  There were others, too, but I didn’t get a chance to make a note of which they were. In addition, a bottle of Dalmore 12-year Highland Scotch appeared on the bar. It would have been rude of me to not have a dram or two, right? It was absolutely delicious!

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Dinner was a feast! There were two turkeys; one smoked, and one traditional; a honey-glazed ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, two green salads, and rolls. Dessert was equally varied and delicious!

Let the feast begin!

Of the wines I brought, three were from The fourth was the just-released 2016 Beaujolais Nouveau from Georges DeBouef. With varying levels of wine-tasting experience represented, from “I’m here for the Scotch, but I enjoy a glass of wine once in a while, too” to a wine industry professional, all the wines were big hits. The hands-down favorite, with it’s soft, easy-drinking, fruit-forward profile, was the Beaujolais Nouveau. In fact, that bottle was empty long before dinner was served!


These wines were all excellent companions to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. With Christmas just around the corner, if you are having similar cuisine, I can wholeheartedly recommend each of these for that meal as well!

georges-deboeuf-beaujolais-nouveauGeorges DeBouef Beaujolais Nouveau 2016

The hands-down favorite around the Thanksgiving table. A party in a glass! Bright purple color, bursting with juicy fruit flavors; boysenberry, cherry, plum, blueberry, and raspberry. Soft tannins and bright acidity made this a light, fun quaff before and during the meal.

4.0 out of 5 stars (88 – 91 points)

$8.97 at Total Wine & More

scott-kelley-oregon-pinot-noirScott Kelley Oregon Pinot Noir 2015

Classic Oregon Pinot. Ruby color. On the nose there is raspberry, fresh plum, and soft smoke. Flavors of ripe raspberry, cherry, and strawberry mingle with soft oak. Tannins are soft and super smooth, with balanced acid, leading to long finish. Pinot Noir just the way I like it!

4.5 out of 5 stars (92 – 94 points)

$24.99 SRP, $14.99 Angel Price

franc-dusak-chardonnayFranc Dusak Sonoma Valley Chardonnay 2015

A well balanced Sonoma Chardonnay. Straw color in the glass. Aromas of apple and butter. On the palate, flavors of fresh apple and pear, with some caramel at the end. Medium body, very soft smooth with light acidity and perfect balance of oak and fruit.

4.5 out of 5 stars (92 – 94 points)

$23.99 SRP, $13.99 Angel Price

benjamin-darnault-pique-nique-roseBenjamin Darnault Pique-Nique Rosé 2015

Wonderful dry Rosé of Grenache. Peach color, aromas of fresh raspberry and soft rose petal. Flavors of raspberry and strawberry with floral notes. Light body with bright acidity and a pleasing finish.

4.0 out of 5 stars (88 – 91 points)

$16.99 SRP, $9.99 Angel Price


I hope all of you had a fabulous Thanksgiving. What was your favorite wine of the day? Let me know in the comments.


Cabernet Sauvignon, Joel Gott, Wine

Review: Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Joel Gott 815 Cab Sauv 2013

“I’ve read a lot of reviews for this wine, so I gave it a try. A solid California Cabernet, for less than $15! Purple-Ruby color, aromas of blackberry and black currant. On the palate, these flavors are present and joined with black pepper and spice, with some cedar notes, and a fruit-driven sweetness. The finish is spicy with a bit of earthiness. This is a medium bodied wine, with moderate tannins. I found the acidity a bit high, but with bottle aging this may soften. All in all, a nice Cab at a good price.”

This is how I described the Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 on Vivino. As I mentioned, I’ve seen a lot of reviews on this wine recently, ranging from other Vivino users, to friends and fellow wine aficionados, to The Reverse Wine Snob (2010 vintage). If there’s an app that tracks trending wines, I have no doubt this one would be high on the list. There is good reason for this. As a “California” Cabernet, as opposed to being AVA-specific, Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon is made from grapes all over the state. This allows the winemakers to blend and achieve the exact result they want; one that is smooth and easy-drinking, and will appeal to the masses. The more demanding connoisseur, who prefers only single-vineyard or AVA-specific wines, may not favor this as much, but the average consumer will enjoy it. At around $15, it is a good everyday Cabernet, and would be an excellent choice for newbies who want to try a Cabernet for the first time.

The Joel Gott website describes the wine this way:

 “The 2013 Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon has aromatics of mocha, roasted blue fruits, plums, and cherry spice. The wine enters sweet on the palate, well-structured and with firm tannins mid-palate, followed by a long, balanced finish.”

Joel Gott himself narrates a short video describing the wine, and the processes that went into making it. He even includes some food pairing suggestions.

If you are looking for an affordable California Cabernet Sauvignon, that is approachable and easy-drinking, give Joel Gott 815 Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 a try.

I found it at Total Wine & More for $14.99.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.