Often thought to be the perfect Thanksgiving wine, Pinot Noir is light in body with a very aromatic nose and high acidity. Pinot Noir is one of the best food pairing wines on the planet and should be able to accompany the many flavors on the table. Two good Pinots available in New York for under $20/btl are A to Z from Oregon and Castle Rock Winery, who sources fruit within California and releases a few different bottlings ranging from $9.99 to $15.99/btl. Another good option for your Thanksgiving dinner is the truly American varietal: Zinfandel. Although Zinfandel's roots trace back to old Europe, the United States has really claimed this vine as our own and produces it with unparalleled fervor. Domestic Zinfandel tends to be rich, hearty and full of spice with jammy fruit and good alcohol. Cline Cellars offers a few good bottlings at reasonable prices (ranging from $9.99 to $14.99/btl). Another choice is the Joel Gott 2005 California Zinfandel is a steal at $15.99/btl. This is an impressive wine that could sell for much more.
For some non-American options, remember that Beaujolais Nouveau is here! Not only is this fun, easy drinking wine a ritual this time of year, it is also light-bodied enough to pair with nearly everything. George Duboeuf is the king supreme of Beaujolais Noveau, however anything you buy will most likely be good. Nearly every wine store in the city will carry at least one Beaujolais Nouveau in their store between now and Christmas.
Last, but certainly not least, if you feel daring, go for Riesling. Along with Pinot Noir, Rieslings are exceptional in their food matching qualities. For a dry Riesling buy a German, "trocken" style, if you like something a bit sweeter, go for halb-trocken. The Hans Lang Riesling is a great example of a delicious, dry, German Riesling and it's also a great deal at around $11/bottle.
Stores: Astor Wines & Spirits: Cline Zinfandel: $9.99, Lang Riesling: $9.99, Castle Rock Pinot: $12.99, Gott Zinfandel: $15.99, A to Z Pinot $17.99 (399 Lafayette @ 4th St.), PJ Wine: Cline Zinfandel: $8.49, Hans Lang Riesling: $9.97, A to Z Pinot: $14.97, Gott Zin: $13.99, Castle Rock Pinot: $9.97 (4898 Broadway @ 204th St.), K&D Wine & Spirits: Gott Zinfandel: $13.99 (1366 Madison Ave. btwn 95th & 96th St.)