To help you find that perfect wine for your Thanksgiving feast, we've asked eight of the nation's best sommeliers for their favorite American wine picks under $30. Some of their answers and advice may surprise you: Rosé and bubbles on Thanksgiving may be breaking the mold, but, according to many of the wine experts we spoke with, they both can make for excellent options. The most important piece of Thanksgiving wine advice to remember? Keep it simple. When you've got a lot of food and a lot of people, let the company take the spotlight. Read on for Thanksgiving wine recommendations from experts coast to coast, plus Thanksgiving food and wine pairings.
Shelley LindgrenA16, San Francisco : Shelley Lindgren, Co-Owner and Wine Director
Lindgren's knowledge of Southern Italian wining and dining has earned her accolades such as "Best New Sommelier" from Wine & Spirits, "Best Wine Director" from San Francisco Magazine, and four consecutive nominations for "Best Wine Service" from the James Beard Foundation.
Thanksgiving wine advice: "I wouldn't count out rosé for the Thanksgiving table," Lindgren says. "Try not to have too many wines that are overly tannic, because the usual array of flavors can be overshadowed, but rather hedge toward more medium-bodied, rounder reds. Acid is good to contrast and cut through the richness [of the food]."
Red Wine & Best Pairing: Lang & Reed Cabernet Franc ($24), Lake County and Napa Valley, 2010. Best paired with sweet, sour, and robust flavors like Butternut Squash Soup with Spiced Crème Fraîche.
White Wine & Best Pairing: Soliste Lune et Soleil Sauvignon Blanc ($25), Lake County, 2012. Best paired with an arugula-based Spiced Pumpkin, Lentil, and Goat Cheese Salad.
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Myers is the well-regarded somm behind the 750-bottle wine list at the Mandarin Oriental's renowned CityZen restaurant.
Thanksgiving wine advice: "Don't overthink it," Myers says. "Thanksgiving meals are overwhelming both from a senses perspective-with so many different and competing flavors-and from an emotional perspective. I bring easy, fruit-forward Pinots and lots of Riesling."
Red Wine & Best Pairing: Hermann J. Wiemer Cabernet Franc ($23), Finger Lakes, 2011. Best paired with Herb-Butter Thanksgiving Turkey.
White Wine & Best Pairing: Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc ($20), Napa Valley, 2012. Best paired with seafood or spicier foods, like a stuffing made with Italian sausage.
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Stuckey has been the sommelier at several restaurants that have won the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service, including his latest venture, Frasca Food and Wine, which won in 2013. Stuckey was also nominated by the James Beard Foundation for the Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional award in 2008.
Thanksgiving wine advice: "It's about the family and friends-and you may have a lot of them, so I try to pick wines that are not too expensive for such an indulgent afternoon rolling into evening," Stuckey says. "Not everyone is going to be a wine expert, so pick wines that taste great but are easy on the pocketbook."
Red Wine & Best Pairing: LIOCO "Indica Rose" ($18), Mendocino County, 2012. Best paired with cranberry sauce.
White Wine & Best Pairing: Palmina Arneis ($20), Santa Ynez Valley, 2011. Stuckey suggests that this wine would be great as a stand-alone, offered as guests arrive.
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Andy ChabotBlackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee: Andy Chabot, Sommelier and Director of Food and Beverage
Chabot is a sommelier at Blackberry Farm, an intimate luxury hotel on a picturesque Smoky Mountain hillside that offers unbeatably fresh farm-to-table cuisine. During his time at the farm, Chabot has increased the number of wines in the cellar almost tenfold.
Thanksgiving wine advice: "When in doubt, you should drink bubbles-it's always appropriate and food-friendly," Chabot says. "Dry cider or Champagne, or Loire Valley sparkling, or great Saison-style beer-they're all applicable and perfect for any situation or food combination."
Red Wine & Best Pairing: Siduri Sonoma County Pinot Noir ($22), Sonoma County, 2011. Best paired with a side dish like roasted vegetables.
White Wine & Best Pairing: Kung Fu Girl Riesling ($14), Columbia Valley, 2011. Best paired with salads, like an autumn acorn squash salad.
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