Why Beaujolais Is the Best Wine for Thanksgiving Dinner — And Our 5 Favorites!
Since it’s Thanksgiving this month, I’m digressing from my usual one wine format. Normally I like to stick to American wines for Thanksgiving, but I just had to mention the most versatile Thanksgiving wine of them all: Beaujolais. Refreshing, fruity, not too full-bodied or tannic, with wines to meet everyone’s taste and most importantly budget.
Beaujolais wines work so well at the Thanksgiving table. They are essentially easy drinking, so the wine won’t get in the way of conversation nor fight with the myriad of flavors on the table.
Quality has improved tremendously over the past decade in Beaujolais. That coupled with a recent string of consistently good vintages means that it is hard to go wrong with Beaujolais. When it comes to producers, one name reigns supreme: Georges Duboeuf, who is by far the largest producer and makes wines at every level of the classification system. But it is also worth seeking out the smaller, more artisanal estates. Who doesn’t love options?!
Our 5 Favorite Beaujolais Wines for Thanksgiving
1. Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages
Consistently good and amazing value, this wine is packed with refreshing, lively fruit. It’s also light-to-medium bodied.
Buy: Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Villages, $9.99 for 750ml on Drizly
2. Domaine du Vissoux, Beaujolais “Primeur”, Pierre Chermette
Nouveau style, vibrant, packed with lively black and red berry fruit. This wine is light-bodied and very juicy.
Buy: Domaine du Vissoux, Beaujolais “Primeur”, Pierre Chermette $15.99 for 750ml on K & L Wine Merchants
3. Domaine de Terres Dorées, L’Ancien Vines, Brun, Beaujolais
A house favorite of ours, this wine delivers so much more than you would expect from a regional wine. It’s got lots of savory minerality and structure to it.
Buy: Domaine de Terres Dorées, L’Ancien Vines, Brun, Beaujolais $19.99 for 750ml on Wine.com
4. Domaine des Mouilles Juliénas, Beaujolais Cru
Very flavorful, and with two years of age, the savory minerlaity is more evident, but it still retains bags of refreshing fruit flavors. It’s a medium-bodied wine with a long finish.
Learn More: Domaine des Mouilles Juliénas, Beaujolais Cru
5. Lapierre, Morgan, Beaujolais Cru
Okay, we’re going all out here. Maybe not the wine to serve for the large Thanksgiving gathering — unless, there are only a few of you drinking wine. This wine is from one of our favorite producers in Beaujolais. Fairly full-bodied and mouth filling, it’s complex and has tons of flavor, minerlaity, and very long finish.
Buy: Lapierre, Morgan, Beaujolais Cru $35.99 for 750ml on Wine Deals
More About Beaujolais Wine
Beaujolais: Red or Maybe Even White
While Beaujolais Blanc exists, for the most part when we talk about Beaujolais wine we mean the red wine made from the Gamay grape. Beaujolais is located in France, south of the Mâconnais area of Burgundy and north of the Rhône Valley. For interested readers Beaujolais Blanc is made from the Chardonnay grape.
Nouveau, Régional, Villages and Cru
Beaujolais is not just one wine. Maybe you are familiar with the ‘Nouveau’, the new wine released the 3rd Thursday in November with much aplomb and glitz. Simple, very fruity and refreshing these wines should be consumed within the next three months or so.
Regional wines are the straight up wines labeled simply as ‘Beaujolais’ and are made from grapes sourced anywhere in the Beaujolais region. Up a further level of official quality are the wines labeled Beaujolais Villages.This covers 39 communes in the more northern, hillier part of the region.
At the top end we have classification called ‘Beaujolais Cru’ of which there are ten. The ten ‘Cru’ communes are Chiroubles, St-Amour, Fleurie, Régnié, Brouilly, Côte de Brouilly, Juliénas, Chénas, Morgon and Moulin-à-Vent. Each has its own personality and characteristics. Some such as Fleurie are considered more perfumed, while others such as Morgan are considered fuller-bodied and age-worthy in style.
See also previous Beaujolais wines of the week: Pascal Granger, Moulin a Vent and Domaine des Terres Dorées, “l’Ancien VV”.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and remember the Golden Rules: “Don’t worry about the wine” and “Keep to your budget.”
Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant.
Related: Thanksgiving Wines: Keep It Simple