Let’s Get Basted

Do you ~love~ Thanksgiving? Is it your all-time favorite holiday? Do you strategize what you’re going to cook months in advance? Do you affectionately call it “Tgivs”? Do you plan your entire fall around the greatest Thursday? Do you refuse to listen to Christmas music so that Tgivs gets the RESPECT IT DESERVES? No? Just me? Cool.

Tgivs is one of the greatest American traditions, and I have never felt so happy as to spend some quality, gift/guilt-free time with my fam, enjoying my favorite pastime (eating, not football) until we change into sweatpants and pass out on the couch (pls note actual real life photo above of said napsgiving @my house).

Ahhh, America.

Drinking is understandably an integral part of the festivities. Many of you might wonder, “what should I pair with my turkey feast?” Well fam, luckily for you, there is a wine specifically made for our fall holiday. The French are SO kind (and smart), they produce and market a wine (pretty much) especially for American Thanksgiving: the gamay grape aka Beaujolais wine.

It’s similar to a Pinot Noir in aroma and taste, though it’s much lighter bodied and less tannic (i.e. perfect with turkey, squash, casserole, stuffing, etc.). And cheaper. You can drink it super young, it’s basically bottled to be drunk immediately and up until the following May after its release. Pro Tip: Drink it slightly chilled. It’s rather refreshing.

IN FACT, the Thursday before Thanksgiving (aka November 16th this year), the French celebrate “Beaujolais Nouveau Day” with fireworks, music, festivals, and yes, gamay wine. There’s a “Miss Beaujolais Nouveau” pageant, and some people even bathe in it, which is a little extra. Under French law, the wine is released at 12:01 a.m. on the third Thursday in November, just weeks after the wine’s grapes have been harvested. Parties are held throughout the country and around the world to celebrate the first wine of the season that just so happens to be perfectly timed for Tgivs consumption. Your Thirsty Thursday just got a fab theme this week. Thanks, France!

In theory, we should all get Beaujolais Nouveau aka the 2017 vintage for our Thanksgiving dinners, but sometimes, the quality of the years can vary.  Luckily, 2017 was a good year (2016, not so much).

You can get Beaujolais wines at several levels and price ranges. Luckily, it’s an easy breakdown since everything is 100% gamay grape:

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“Just Beaujolais”

Cheapest, made from grapes sourced from anywhere in the region. Beaujolais Nouveau is usually in this category.

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Comes from a group or 39 communes in the upper hills and levels. Slightly above the “Just Beaujolais” level. Will have a little more umph to it.

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Comes from a group of 10 top-tier communes (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 Morgon are considered fuller-bodied and age-worthy in style.

If you’re not keen on the Bojo, don’t worry, you won’t hurt my feelings.

Here are some other varietals to check out:

Whites—Sancerre Blanc, Champange (duh), Riesling

Reds—Amarone, Rhone blends, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel


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