Give thanks for wine and drink what you like best

That fully-loaded, sag-in-the-middle Thanksgiving table might be the biggest source of stress in a wine drinker’s year.

A big roasted bird (or ham or wild beast), sweet dishes, sour dishes, tofu dishes, roasted, fried or canned vegetables, an assortment of relishes and finger food, the list goes on.

And then someone tells you, “I can’t drink red wines, they give me headaches.”

We call that a hangover, but you get the idea.

You could serve Coke or Coors with the dinner, but that’s only if NASCAR is on TV.

Wine? The rules really are simple. Stay away from the big, jammy reds, which don’t go with any food known to man. Ditto with the heavily oaked whites, which fortunately are disappearing from your store shelves, and the sweet wines (red or white), at least during the meal.

Rick Rozelle, wine manager at Fisher’s Liquor Barn, noted he drinks little wine during the meal even though he may have glass of it near his plate.

“It’s tough to match all the flavors on that table, so I may have a sip or two but most of my wine drinking happens before the meal,” he said, a sentiment shared with many wine lovers.

Some of my favorite wines for that narrow slot of Thanksgiving acceptance: dry or off-dry sparkling wines; off-dry or dry Rieslings and Gewurtztraminers; Chablis-style chardonnays; Sauvignon Blanc; dry rosés; Pinot Noirs, Barberas, lighter Grenaches or the Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre blends (think Chateauneuf du Pape but go for the less-expensive Gigondas or Vacqueyras).

I said “favorite,” because the secret always is to drink what you like, whether it’s Thunderbird or Silver Oak.

You might peek at the alcohol content, since there’s already plenty of food to weigh you down.

This meal also may be the most locavore-centric holiday of the year, with home-grown turkeys, veggies and drinks taking over the table.

If you are taking the local approach, Colorado wineries offer a great selection of Thanksgiving wines.

Some ideas include the elegant dry rosés at Canyon Wine, Garfield Estate and Mesa Park wineries; a variety of Rieslings and Sauvignon Blancs from Carlson, Plum Creek and Whitewater Hill; Pinot Noirs from the North Fork Valley and Cabernet Francs from Garfield Estate, Grande River or Boulder Creek.

Nearly all the local wineries offer a dessert-style wine, from Port-style reds to luscious whites. A fine alternative to wine is the hard apple cider from Delicious Orchards in Paonia.

Last week, a friend shared what might be the best anti-stress, pre-meal preparation ever.

An hour or so before the guests arrive, he and his wife disappear into the basement bar, where they have some quiet time to relax and have a drink (or two) before the hubbub starts.

It’s a time to gather thoughts, ingest some social lubricant (the coarser among us might consider it pounding down a few) and get ready for the busy day.

You may not please everyone, but the key is to please yourself. Again, drink what you like, let the others follow.

One last note – It was 25 years ago this year (1988) that Parker Carlson, as he tells it, succumbed to a winemaking hobby “that got out of hand” and opened Carlson Vineyards at 461 35 Road.

In celebration of those 25 years, Parker is hosting a Holiday Open House Friday through Sunday, with door prizes, a special display of 25 years’ worth of photos and discounts on wine.

Also, I’ll be there from 1-4 p.m. Friday and Saturday signing copies of “Drink It In – Wine Guide of Western Colorado.”

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