Thanksgiving recommendations: Savoring seasonal wines, memories and music

(written for the Los Altos Town Crier)

As we roll into November, I have excitedly begun to relive my most adored Thanksgiving memories. I turn them over in my head and bask in them.
My earliest memories are of my Aunt Mimi and Uncle Larry’s hillside home. On Thanksgiving, it so brimmed with various relatives and collected friends that folding chairs filled every corner. A pingpong-table-cum-dining space became one of my all-time favorite places to eat. I think of those meals each year when I set my table.
When I order my turkey, I recall the “Friendsgiving” dinners my closest friend, Barbara, and I used to throw. Those haphazard meals of our early 20s had two goals: door open and glasses full. The first year we hosted, we named the bigger-than-reasonable turkey we’d purchased “Lucinda.” Then we dropped the poor bird on the floor of our tiny San Francisco kitchen more than once. Barbara’s trilling laugh amid our hijinks is as present to me now as it was that day.
Saying grace this Thanksgiving, I’ll replay in my mind the Thanksgiving my husband and I brought our daughter home. I’ll recall precisely how it felt to place her precious, newborn body’s weight into the arms of my dad, who was sitting on the couch for the sole purpose of holding his granddaughter for the first time.
My gratitude is a blend of laughter, love, family and friends.


The blended nature of the holiday inspired my wine recommendations: Go for the blends. In wine-speak, a blend is a wine that is made of more than a single grape varietal. When winemakers blend various types of grapes, they purposefully add complexity, flavor and texture.
Much like a great meal, wine blends are about balance. Winemaker Chrissy Wittmann demonstrates her attention to balance in the 2012 Wild Horse GSM Central Coast ($15). The well-priced, Rhône-style wine – a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre – is beautiful to the eye with its deep burgundy color. Ripe plum and vanilla are abundant on the palate, and the gentle tannins provide a lingering finish.
Some Thanksgivings are crowd-filled events where two ovens aren’t enough. Others are holidays when close family is far away celebrating with in-laws or saving their travel dollars for a December trip. I like how the more intimate celebrations provide the freedom to serve unusual wines and try new recipes. I also like that the meal preparation for small gatherings is more casual and includes tasks such as creating the ultimate turkey-day playlist (see page 31).
My unconventional wine pick this year is the 2014 Tenshen Santa Barbara County White Wine ($18). A blend of Viognier, Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Chardonnay, this is a wine made for Thanksgiving. With honeysuckle and citrus aromatics, a creamy texture and notes of apricot, the wine is a winner throughout the day and the ideal accompaniment to my eclectic playlist.
For more Thanksgiving wine recommendations, head over to the Los Altos Town Crier!
My 2015 Thanksgiving Playlist!
  • Chvrches: “Leave a Trace”
  • Neil Diamond: “America”
  • Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett: “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love”
  • Lord Huron: “The Man Who Lives Forever”
  • Clean Bandit: “Rather Be”
  • Diana Krall: “Popsicle Toes”
  • Neil Young: “Harvest Moon”
  • U2: “One Tree Hill”
  • Jess Glynne: “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself”
  • John Mellencamp: “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.”
  • Frou Frou: “Let Go”
  • Foo Fighters: “My Hero”
  • Coldplay: “Magic”
  • Willie Nelson: “Just Breathe”
  • Tracey Thorn: “Here It Comes Again”
  • Bill Withers: “Lovely Day”
Cheers! I'm grateful for my readers (as few as you may be)!


  1. Hi Christine, I am keen to get in touch with you regarding possible event this weekend you might be interested in. Could you shoot me an email? christine dot lenz at gmail dot com.


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