Wines for a Purple State Thanksgiving

Photo by Jeremy Parzen.
Texas didn't exactly experience the "blue wave" that many Democrats here had hoped for this holiday season, although two congressional districts here, one in Houston and the other in Dallas, swung left for the first time in recent memory.

Despite the Dems' disappointment, they still have something sweet to celebrate this Thanksgiving: For the first time anyone can remember, a youthful and optimistic democratic candidate led a nearly successful campaign to unseat a Republican stalwart in the senate. Even though the David from El Paso lost to the Goliath of Houston, some here have even claimed that Texas is now officially purple.

So what wine should Houstonians — most of whom voted blue — serve for Thanksgiving this year in their newly lavender state?

The answer: Wines that reflect and embrace diversity. Inspired by people like the 27-year-old Democrat who just became our new county judge, we should be looking forward to holiday wine pairings that champion inclusiveness. And that means that we should be serving something for everyone a week from Thursday.

And isn't that the key for a great Thanksgiving wine pairing? Our country's November holiday meal is known for its broad spectrum of aromas and flavors, which range from sweet and tart to salty and earthy. There is no "perfect" pairing for a menu like this. So this year, let's look to our convivialists instead of our conviviality for direction in what wines to serve.

Thankfully, Houston has never had a broader offering of wine shops.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JEREMY PARZEN.
Photo by Jeremy Parzen.
The newest and one of the most exciting is Light Years, the recently christened wine bar and wine shop on Alabama in the Museum District. The selection is solidly radical chic, with a focus on natural and biodynamic wines. This is a go-to if you are looking for "new" California, including some of the new stars to emerge from the now wildfire-affected Sierra Foothills.

For those of us, on the other hand, who wish to marry old world sensibilities with new world thriftiness, Vinology on Bissonnet in West U. is doing a Thanksgiving wine sale this Sunday from noon until 4 p.m. For the occasion, they are offering reduced pricing across the board with a 10 percent discount on the purchase of 12 bottles or more. This is a for-sure go-to for the, ahem, globalists among us, with great showings from Italy, France, Spain, and Greece.

Most Houstonians don't think of Camerata at Paulie's as a wine shop but they do occasionally organize retail pop-ups there. Also this Sunday, from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m., they will be hosting local wine distributors who will pour tastes of wines available for purchase. The event is free to all and it's a great way to sample an array of wines for the holiday season.

Houston Wine Merchant remains locals' top choice for customer service and personalized wine shopping. But their holiday wine sale doesn't happen until the Saturday after Thanksgiving when they offer a 10 percent discount across the board, a 15 percent discount for 12 bottles (one case), and a 20 percent discount for 48 bottles (four cases). Spirits and certain sparkling wines are excluded.

Many of you will also be looking for those conservative, ahem, red-meat holiday standbys like Champagne and big, bold Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. If that's the case, Spec's is where you want to be heading: What their sales team sometimes lacks in ecumenicality, it compensates with aggressive pricing. Theirs is the largest offering of sparkling wine, including many alternatives to the elitist French stuff, and their selection of outer-borough (in other words, unclassified) Bordeaux is unrivaled. Old line California is also well represented there.

Look also to the many locally focused mom-and-pop shops around town: D & Q the Beer Station (a personal favorite), French Country Wines, The Heights Grocer, and Tuttilili are all worth checking out. And the Kroger on North Shepherd remains a top destination for value, especially if you look out for their mix-and-match discount program.

What will my family be drinking this year at our southeast Texas Thanksgiving in Orange, Texas? Being a cultural Marxist, I'll be pouring the "wine of freedom" this year, Lambrusco.

It's cheap, it's sweet, it sparkles, everyone loves it, and it's neither red, white, or blue. In fact, it's gloriously purple in color.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Drink well and be merry this holiday season.