Everyday: For a meal that generally revolves around turkey, one of the best affordable pairing options is what my way better half calls “the chicken wine.” That’s because the ever-reliable La Vieille Ferme Côtes du Ventoux red ($10) has a label bearing a fine feathered fowl. Bright cherry flavors roll over the palate, with dusty undertones and a hint of the lavender that grows so prolifically in this wine’s homeland. Befitting a brand that translates as “old farm,” this bright red is a food lover, and the turkey, gravy, dressing and cranberry sauce will thank you for serving it.
Occasion: Probably the best option for Thanksgiving (or any other meal with a wide range of dishes) is bubbles. Rather than add a spendy Champagne to the already daunting shopping list, look for the Simonnet Febvre Crémant de Bourgogne ($20). There’s a boatload of Chablis-like minerality in this puppy, plus vivid and refreshing fruit (citrus and green apple) and a seriously clean finish. This beauty could easily pass for a grower Champagne, and works at the table from starters through dessert. Only one problem: It is almost too quaffable.