Kitchn Love Letters

This “Smooth” California Red Is the Only Wine I’m Serving at Thanksgiving This Year

published Nov 20, 2023
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Man pouring red wine into a glass in dining room.
Credit: skynesher / Getty Images

Choosing what wine to serve for the holidays this year just got a lot easier for me, thanks to McBride Sisters Wine Company. To fall head over heels for McBride Sisters wines I first had to travel to Middleburg, Virginia’s, Salamander Resort & Spa, where I enjoyed a phenomenal weekend feast at James Beard Award-winning chef Kwame Onwuachi’s third annual Family Reunion this summer. (The wines are also currently featured at Onwuachi’s restaurant, Tatiana, which was named the best restaurant in New York City by the New York Times.)

As I enjoyed amazing dishes prepared by some of the best Black chefs in the country (I’m talking Carla P. Hall, Tiffany Derry, Melba Wilson, Preston Clark, and more) the beverage of choice was, you guessed it, from the McBride Sisters. The wine pairings brought all of the dishes together to create a truly memorable dining experience, yet allowed each one to take center stage and have its shining moment. 

Once I actually got to meet Robin McBride, who shared that she, along with her sister Andréa, began creating their own signature wines in 2009 after launching a successful wine import business together in 2005, my appreciation for these smooth and subtle wines only grew. At that moment, I knew that wherever I ended up for the holidays, I’d be taking a bottle or two of these wines with me. 

Credit: Samantha Hunter

What’s So Great About McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Pinot Noir?

Have you ever had a wine with such a strong taste that it actually hijacks a meal instead of enhancing it? Well I have, and as my palate ages and in turn becomes more refined (thanks to the array of foods and fine spirits it has been exposed to), I’ve come to know and appreciate wine that I can enjoy alongside a fabulous meal — without it stealing the show. The Central Coast Pinot Noir (2022) accomplishes this feat with flying colors.

Robin McBride serves as co-founder and president of McBride Sisters Wine Company, with Andréa serving as co-founder and CEO, but it is evidently clear that these sisters turned entrepreneurs are wine lovers first and foremost! With the Central Coast Pinot Noir, the New Zealand-born and bred sisters couple their affinity for wine with their love for the planet. Not only does this pinot delight with its aromas of cherries, raspberries, and plums as well as subtle spices, but this wine’s grapes are sourced from a Certified Sustainable vineyard located in California (the sisters’ very first sustainable wine).

That translates to a wine that is not too sweet, too bitter, too dry, or too rich for the food that it is served with. It’s got a light, fresh, and fruity taste! As a huge lover of spice, I easily picked up on that element of this wine as well. It goes down very smoothly and is not overbearing as other wines can be.

What’s the Best Way to Serve McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Pinot Noir?

Pairing this wine with holiday dishes is virtually a no-brainer. I enjoyed it with my signature shrimp and pasta dish, which definitely has some “kick” to it, and it was a moment in my mouth for sure! The wine balanced out the heat of this meal quite nicely. 

“We encourage you to explore beyond your comfort zone and pair it with a new dish this Thanksgiving,” says Robin. “I love our Pinot Noir with tender chocolate and jalapeño short ribs. The flavors pair perfectly with those spice, plum, and oak flavors in the wine.”

I plan to bring a bottle with me to my friend’s holiday gathering, as I think it’ll go well with her Nigerian feast.

Buy: McBride Sisters Collection Central Coast Pinot Noir 2022, $18.99 for 750 mL at McBride Sisters Wine Company

Credit: Samantha Hunter

If pinot noir doesn’t put you in a festive holiday mood, perhaps the McBride Sisters Chardonnay, “The Great Escape” from the 2021 Collection Reserve, will delight you as much as it did me. I adore the green apple, peach, and pear notes of this wine, which work together effortlessly to highlight the wine’s other subtle toasty oak, cream, and lemon curd flavors. It’s smooth and creamy, with just the right touch of acidity and crispness.

This bottle is just as distinct as its taste, featuring a bright red Volkswagen Bug, just like the one Robin remembers her mother driving along the California coast. For her, this naturally elegant Chardonnay evokes old and cherished family memories and celebrates new traditions centered around food, wine, and family during the holidays. “I brought it to our Thanksgiving table for the first time last year,” she says. “Needless to say, it was a hit! The acidity and fresh fruit flavors work perfectly with the layers of spice in the turkey.” 

It’s now a holiday staple in her house, and it is easily one of my new faves as well.

Buy: McBride Sisters Collection Reserve Chardonnay “The Great Escape” 2021, $49.99 for 750 mL at McBride Sisters Wine Company

What are some of your favorite wines for the holiday season? Tell us about it in the comments below.