Attention all wine lovers: Chilled will be bringing a new column to the table.

Demystifying the Myths of Wine will explore the ins and outs of wine through the wine experts themselves.

Chris Morris from Houston is an award-winning bartender who oversees the bar at Kau Ba Saigon Kitchen located in Houston’s Montrose neighborhood. He is a sommelier-turned-bartender who regularly participates in national and regional competitions. He is known for his bold styles, elegant flavors, and modern techniques.

Kingston Chan is a Los Angeles based bartender at Tesse Restaurant in West Hollywood, Shenanigans Pub & Grille in Long Beach, and Arts District Brewing in downtown LA. He has learned from some of the best in the Los Angeles bar industry about the importance of clear hand-made artisan ice and fresh squeezed fruit juices. These techniques make the difference between a great cocktail versus a mediocre diluted drink. The BarSmarts graduate is an avid learner of fine wine, craft beer, and spirts. He is also a USBG member.

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, you may need some help in the wine department. Here are Chris and Kingston’s advice on wine styles for the holiday.

Chris’ Recommendations:

Chris Morris, headshot

Chris Morris

Can you recommend some unusual wine styles for Thanksgiving, and what notes should someone look for when choosing?

My absolute favorite under the radar wine for Thanksgiving is Vermentino. It’s really fun grape originally from the island of Sardinia that drinks like Sauvignon Blanc’s quirky cousin. It’s got all the same vibrant fruit notes of like, grapefruit and peach, the same bright acidity, but with a really nice almost salty type of minerality underneath a slightly oily mouthfeel. It’s particularly difficult to find a wine that really hits the mark with Turkey, but Vermentino always crushes.

While it’s not as unusual as it used to be (thank goodness), this is also the perfect time to bust out a bottle of Rosé! A dry, pink thriller will split the middle between red and white drinkers, while pairing well with everything on the table (especially the cranberry sauce). I’m a huge fan of the nice medium-bodied, Grenache driven examples coming from Provence, as well as the spicy Cabernet Franc wines of Anjou. However, there’s incredible examples produced all over the world. One of the best parts about Rosé is you can get some killer examples without breaking the bank, so you can bring several bottles and really help the conversation flow.

Any specific recommendations for bottles?

Argiolas “Costamolino” Vermentino di Sardegna ($15/btl)

Argiolas "Costamolino" Vermentino di Sardegna, bottle on white

Argiolas “Costamolino” Vermentino di Sardegna

A classic example from a reliable producer, at a price that’s hard to turn down. Bright, fruity, oily, and perfect for the Thanksgiving table.

Maison Saint Aix “AIX Rose” ($20)

Using the trinity of grenache, syrah, and cinsault this is a great example of Provence style rose. Medium bodied, red fruit driven, with a nice acidity that makes it super food friendly.

Clos Cibonne Cuvee Tradition ($35/btl)

If you want to really get wild, Clos Cibonne is known for their treatment of the rare Tibouren grape.  After fermentation, they age under a thin layer of yeast called “fleurette”, which almost takes it into sherry-like qualities. It’s super special, unique, and incredibly delicious.

Any tips for bringing wine to a gathering?

For extra fun, consider bring a magnum (1.5). Big bottles are always extra fun. Furthermore, when all else fails… champagne. Which quite frankly is just as applicable to life as it is the Thanksgiving table. C’est la vie.

Kingston’s Recommendations: 

Can you recommend some unusual wine styles for Thanksgiving, and what notes should someone look for when choosing?

Just like there are summer wines like Rosé and Sauvignon Blanc, there are wines that are perfectly suited for the autumn weather. For the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I have various recommendations in the red, white, and even dessert wine category!

To be adventurous, I encourage readers to seek a Barolo (Nebbiolo). A Barolo is a varietal usually found in Southern Italy/Sicily. Sometimes known as the “King of Italian Wines”, the Barolo varietal grows near volcanic ash by the sea, and thus, the Nebbiolo grapes it derives from producing a rich, dry, full-bodied, tannic experience. If one like Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignons, then this is the one to share during the upcoming holidays alongside your turkey, macaroni & cheese, or mashed potatoes & gravy.

I also encourage readers to pick up a bottle of Sangiovese, Beaujolais, and/or Grenache red wines to elevate your holiday wine experience! Sangiovese wines come from a grape varietal usually found in The Mediterranean nations and tend to satisfy the savory sensations. They span the entire taste palate spectrum, ranging from fruit-forward or vegetal, to earthy and slightly oaky. If you want a wine that exhibits notes of cherry, pepper, strawberries, herbs, or figs, the Sangiovese tends to be your crowd-pleaser.

If one enjoys having Pinot Noir, then I encourage you to try The Beaujolais and the Gamay grapes it consists of. Found on the southern slopes of Burgundy, France where the weather, for the most part, is temperate and mild, with sporadic rain showers and snowfalls. Due to such, the Beaujolais vintages are different year after year, but many guarantee a bright, refreshing acidity, with slight minerality and stone fruit notes. You’ll come across a wide range of floral, juicy fruit notes to even baking spice and tropical fruits.

Last but not least on my red wine overview, I say give the Grenache a shot to appease your tastebuds. These wine types tend to be flavorful and will pair well with your roasted meats and vegetables. The Grenache leans dry but overall is well-balanced between sweetness, tannins, body, and ABV percentage. You won’t be disappointed with whatever Grenache you find, whether it’s from Spain or France!

Those who rather bask in the splendor of white wines must have a Viognier this season! The Viognier enjoys notes of mandarin citrus, bergamot, rose petals, and fleshy stone fruits. The Viognier is Syrah’s smoother cousin who will linger on your taste palate after a sip. Whereas Chardonnay and Syrah tend to be bright and explosive on the first sips, the Viognier eases into one’s mid-palate and leaves upon a slight citrus oil texture. This wine will definitely complement any of your herbs, potato, and seafood dishes.

Last and most certainly, a surprise dessert on the menu can be an orange wine! You heard that right! Orange wines however are not made from oranges… rather they are made from white grapes with the texture and tannins similar to red wines. By letting the grape skins ferment with their own pressed juices, orange wines become similar to fruit beers or kombucha. These fascinating wines will introduce your inner circle of friends and family to new heights!

Azelia Barolo San Rocco 2008, bottle on white

Azelia Barolo San Rocco 2008

Any specific recommendations for bottles?

Here are some bottles I recommend:

Any tips for bringing wine to a gathering?

My only tips for bringing wine to a gathering are:

  1. Bring a wine key because you never know if there will be one at the party
  2. Know your audience to explain what you brought to go with different holiday dishes
  3. Chill your wines appropriately to the best temperature for tasting (ie. a Barolo is usually best served at 20 degrees Celsius/68 degrees Fahrenheit whereas most orange & white wines are better suited between 8 degrees Celsius to 12 degrees Celsius)
  4. Bring a measuring device if need be so you can ensure a party of up to 6 people can get the most with 4 to 5oz pours. Seasons tidings!