Last-minute Shopping for Thanksgiving Wines and Holiday Parties

wines for thankgiving

Most of us procrastinate and shop for the things we need for Thanksgiving and Holiday parties at the last minute. For that reason, I am offering suggestions for excellent wines at value prices for various food stores you are likely to be shopping at for your Thanksgiving feast and Holiday meals.

Wine for Thanksgiving

For white wines, I say forget the most popular and traditional white variety, Chardonnay. It is time to move on and go with a new taste and one that will be just perfect with the many dishes served for festive and holiday occasions, especially the Thanksgiving meal. I am suggesting an Albariño wine from Spain. Spanish Albariño wines range in price from $10 to $20. The crisp taste along with the subtle floral character of Albariño will add a liveliness to the food.

If you must have a Chardonnay, go with a stainless steel-aged Chardonnay or one that is lightly oaked.  For reds, a Pinot Noir wine has a definite advantage in that it pairs well with many foods. Finally, you cannot go wrong with dry sparkling wine to toast or just have on the table. The bubbles are soothing on the palate.  Not all food stores stock the same wines, so with that in mind here is what I am recommending at these popular food markets.

Costco Shoppers

Costco has two Albariño wines I have sampled, the Paco & Lola, $12.49, and the Troupe, $14.99. Both are delicious. I prefer the Paco & Lola with flavors of honey and tropical notes.  For Pinot Noir wine, I am recommending Sarah’s Vineyard Pinot Noir for $14.99. The Sarah’s Vineyards Pinot Noir has traditional Pinot Noir characteristics. It is light-to- medium in body, spicy with strawberry flavors bouncing on the palate. At $14.99 it is a great value for a Pinot Noir wine.

For a delicious Champagne at under $20, the Kirkland Signature Champagne at $19.99 is terrific.  I also very much like the Segura Viudas, Gran Cuveé Reserva for $9.99. The Segura is a very acceptable Spanish Cava sparkler. It has a touch of minerality and is a great deal at $10. Buy several to have on hand through the Holiday season.

Paco & Lola

Delicious Albariño wine from Spain at Costco

Safeway Shoppers

I could not find any Albariño wines at Safeway, so a good substitute is the J Vineyards California Pinot Gris. The six-pack price is $12.99. The wine is crisp, lively and fun. An excellent Pinot Noir is the Talbott Kali Hart for $15.99. It is from the Santa Lucia Mountains in Monterey. Read the previous review of the 2014 Kali Hart.  For a Sparkling wine at the Safeway, a no-brainer is the Gruet Brut or Brut Rosé from New Mexico for $14.99 at the sale price. Read the previous review of the Gruet Brut.

Kali Hart Pinot Noir

Excellent Pinot Noir from Monterey County and the Santa Lucia Mountains

Whole Foods Shoppers

Now that Amazon owns Whole Foods, I see lower wine prices than before the change in ownership. Nonetheless, on average, wine prices are higher at Whole Foods for the same wines you find at Safeway, Costco or Trader Joe’s.   For the Albariño at Whole Foods, the Martin Codax is excellent at $14.99. My Pinot Noir choice at Whole Foods is the Poppy from Monterey County at $14.99. In Sparkling wine, Whole Foods has the Gruet mentioned above at the Safeway but for $15.99. I also love this fantastic Cremant from Alsace. It is the Domaine Allimant Laugner Rosé. The sale price is $19.99. This is my favorite sparkling wine. It so good, you will want to finish the entire bottle in one sitting.

Domaine Allimant Lauger

Delicious Cremant from Alsace at Whole Foods

Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe’s has a great deal on an Albariño. It is the Luzarda for $6.99. Read the previous review of the Luzarda. In Pinot Noir wines, TJ has the Poppy from Monterey County for $11.99 vs the $14.99 price at Whole Foods. If you like a more robust Pinot Noir, go for the Meiomi for $17.99. In sparkling wines, Trader Joe’s has several Prosecco wines from Italy and some Cremant wines from Burgundy. I have not tried any recently, so I cannot recommend the wines. A safe bet is the Gloria Ferrer for $12.99. It is dry and refreshing.

Luzarda Albarino

At Trader Joe’s a fantastic value on – Albariño

If you like to buy your wine at a wine shop, all the better. You can ask the wine merchant to help you select your Holiday wines. Give the wine steward a price range and your menu and, more than likely, you will find several good choices.

If you have recommendations, please add them to the Comment Section.

Happy Holidays!


  1. Thanks……….This is off topic but ran into something new today. Ate lunch at California Pizza Kitchen and ordered bottle of J Lohr Cabernet. On the back of the bottle it said restaurant cuvee. Enjoyed it. Went to Costco later in the day and that designation was not on the back label of the bottle. Love to know the difference

    • Good question! Maybe the company that owns California Pizza Kitchen has a contract with Lohr to purchase a load of wine made to their specifications at a great price point. I hope someone out there can give us a conclusive answer.

  2. Frank Grigsby says

    I see several books on wine in the article above. I hope in future posts you
    recommend books to purchase. I was an expatriate working overseas and I checked out “The Joy of Wine” from the library. That was about forty years ago, but at the time it was an excellent source of information covering all wines and regions. Hugh Johnson also has several books worth reading but some may be out of print.

  3. For the holiday, I purchased two Albarino wines: Luzada and Paco and Lola. Kept both very cold. Both were nice. Light. Crisp. Just all around great wines. Between the two, I really dug the Luzada. The taste was excellent (not to mention the price point $6.99). I was totally surprised. I’m a vegetarian so it’s always nice to come across wines that gel with my palate as well. Thanks so much for the recommendations. Keep em’ coming! Happy Holidays!

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