I've always taken Thanksgiving seriously, even when city bureaucracies and construction delays pushed our grand opening to the mere hours before the holiday in 2018. It's the most important holiday, the only one that earns its reverence (IMHO). And these three wines are what I want to drink for it. They've been at the shop since day one, they're from three of my favorite producers in the world, they're as OG Domestique and OG natural wine as they come. I'm pretty sure they've all made me cry. - Jeff
Les Capriades Pet Sec Blanc 2019
I write about Les Capriades every Thanksgiving, so I’ll try to say something different this time. Pascal Potaire and Moses Gadouche make pet nat par excellence. And their bottles are usually the first thing that I seek out when I arrive in France. A palate cleanser for transatlantic travel and shitty airport food. Earlier this year at Penitentes, one of the February natural wine fairs in the Loire, they were positioned right next to the entrance. So, their wines were the first that I tasted before tasting hundreds of others that day. This time, it wasn’t a good thing. When you start with something so joyful, lively, and refreshing, everything else is a bit underwhelming.
The Pet Sec Blanc is made from Chardonnay, Menu Pineau, and Sauvignon Blanc from Faverolles (ancestral home to the famous chickens). This wine is all about otherworldly balance. It has some fruit, a sort of mashup between exotic citrus and underripe peach. But that’s usually not what you first notice. It’s the impossibly soft, small bubbles (the Capriades watermark) and frenetic acidity that make it seem like the wine is jumping around in your mouth. It reminds me of reading Bright Lights, Big City for the first time when I was nineteen. It tastes like a lemonade on the beach in May, before it’s hot enough to swim.
Andi Knauss La Boutanche Riesling 2019
Andi Knauss is German AF. He’s so dependable! It doesn’t make any sense! I’ve been drinking Andi’s wines for the better part of a decade and the dude just doesn’t make mistakes. His wines are a stereotype. They’re clean, precise, and perhaps, at times, a bit stoic. But his consistency is remarkable. He makes wine from a zillion different plots in Swabia, with all sorts of varying soil types, and they’re all good. We don’t get enough of his wine anymore because it’s snapped up by shops and wine bars in Copenhagen and Vienna. But we’ll always buy anything that Andi’s touched.
His 2019 La Boutanche Riesling is hands down one of the best value wines that we’ve ever sold at the shop. It’s one liter of pure Riesling joy that’s better than many white wines twice (or three times) its price. It’s not complicated, obscure, somm-y Riesling. It’s fun, exuberant Riesling. Very zippy and tart. Drink it cold. Perhaps with my favorite Thanksgiving treat: oysters.
Marnes Blanches Poulsard 2018
I don’t even like to talk about the wines from Géraud and Pauline Fromont of Domaine des Marnes Blanches. They’re already allocated and hard to find. And they’re pretty much destined to become the next Overnoy or Miroirs, nonexistent bottles that only exist on Instagram or at a few very small wine bars in Tokyo. Géraud and Pauline are farmers first and that’s evident in all of their wines. The year-to-year quality of their fruit is staggering. And unlike many producers in the Jura, they’re equally adept across categories. White, red, sparkling, sweet, ouillé, sous-voile: everything they touch is one of the top bottles coming out of a wine region full of star vignerons.
The Poulsard is one of their rarer bottlings but we put a bit away in the basement earlier this year specifically for this purpose. It’s made from 40+ year-old Poulsard vines that grow on red marl (with fossilized limestone) in Vincelles and Ste-Agnès. It has very little reduction for Poulsard and usually just needs about five minutes before it becomes pure liquid blood orange, pomegranate, and cherry coulis. For some reason, drinking this wine always makes me think of being on a boat, which isn’t necessarily ideal in late November. But I can’t really think of a better wine for the turkey-cranberry-stuffing holy trinity than this, so here you go. Cheers.