NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Thanksgiving is a fun, festive, relaxed holiday, and the wines should follow suit.
Turkey goes with just about anything, so there's no need to obsess over the perfect pairing. Even so, hosts will want a range of wines to please guests whose tastes may differ significantly.
The celebration often lasts for hours, so having lighter, lower alcohol wines can be a good idea. This probably isn't the time to pull that 1982 Bordeaux out of the cellar. Instead, go for an easy-drinking, affordable lineup that showcases the amazing diversity of American wine by mixing the familiar and the more distinctive with a few foreign cameos.
Each of these great wines can be had for under $30 a bottle -- and many are under $20. There are wines for every drinker, from the novice to the expert.
Click through to see what wines to serve at your Thanksgiving meal.
Sparkling wine is a great way to start any meal, and this one, from the Jura Mountains in eastern France, is simply delicious. It's a cremant, which means it's made in the same way as Champagne, but it's as good as many Champagnes that cost twice as much.
Stephane Tissot NV Crémant du Jura Indigène: $27.99
Champagne vigneron Gilbert Gruet took a flier on land in New Mexico in the 1980s. Today, his family makes a range of sparkling wines that offer great value for the money. The adventurous can drink it throughout the meal; sparklers' effervescence, acidity and relatively modest alcohol level make them far more versatile than they are given credit for.
Gruet Brut: $14.99
Americans have been making cider since colonial times, and the beverage has seen a resurgence in recent years as producers have focused on making better versions of a drink that's gluten-free and much lower in alcohol than wine. The Farnum Hill is perfect not only as an aperitif but for people who want to be festive but have to drive home later.
Farnum Hill Extra Dry Sparkling Apple Cider: $12.99
Many people associate Rieslings with sweetness, which for some drinkers is a virtue. Rieslings with a little residual sugar work well with turkey and sweet sidekicks like cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes. For those who want a dry wine, this version from upstate New York has the classic Riesling nose of honey and peaches but is dry and refreshing on the palate.
Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling: $14.99
Finger Lakes, New York
Like Riesling, Pinot Gris is a wonderfully versatile grape that goes with anything on the Thanksgiving table - even oysters - and this bright, crisp specimen is an excellent example at a great price.
Montinore Pinot Gris 2013: $13.99
Willamette Valley Oregon
You'll need a Chardonnay for less adventurous drinkers, and this one is in the classic California style, with just the right amount of oak and enough body to pair perfectly with turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy.
Sebastiani Chardonnay 2012: $12.99
Sonoma Valley, California
Beaujolais Noveau was released last Thursday, the third in November, as is traditional. This wine come from the same grape, Gamay, but is a far more serious - and delicious - wine. Steve Edmunds has been making great wines in California for decades, and his Bone-Jolly is medium-bodied with a perfect mix of fruit, earth and acidity. Peeking ahead a bit, his Syrahs make great holiday gifts for the oenophile on your list. And if it's balmy where you live, why not rock the Bone-Jolly Rose?
Edmunds St. John Bone-Jolly 2013: $21.99
Ambitious producers of Pinot Noir believe that Oregon's Willamette Valley is America's answer to Burgundy as a home for great expressions of the grape, and this example shows why. It's got cherry and currant notes with a nice structure and is perfect for those who like dark meat.
Drovers Pinot Noir 2013: $19.99
Willamette Valley Oregon
Some guests will demand a Cabernet Sauvignon, and this is a great one to have on offer. It has the requisite richness, but the dark fruit is balanced with good acidity and well-integrated tannins.
Broadside Cabernet Sauvignon Margarita Vineyard 2011: $15.99
Pasa Robles, California
Zinfandel may originally come from Italy, but California winemakers perfected it, and Americans have embraced it as their own, which is reason enough to give it a place at Thanksgiving. Ridge is one of the great producers of Zin, and this one is an excellent introduction to the house style, which honors the grape's robust fruit while imparting to it structure and complexity.
Ridge Three Valleys 2012: $23.99
For dessert, it's time to turn to wines with serious residual sugar, since the sugar in pumpkin, pecan or apple pie demands a beverage that's at least as sweet. The dried fruit, caramel and hazelnut notes in Tawny Port work especially well with pumpkin and pecans; those who want more fruit can opt for a Ruby Port. Drinkers in 18th century America were heavy consumers of both.
Quinta do Infantado Port, Tawny: $16.99
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