For Thanksgiving, 20 Wines Under $20

By now, your Thanksgiving preparations may nearly be set. You are on top of the menu, who’s cooking what, seating, tasks for the children. But what about the wine?

This is the easy part of holiday planning, with just a few guiding principles to keep in mind.

If you’re having a big party, don’t worry about matching wines to dishes. The feast is too complicated, with too many different sorts of foods to worry about that. Instead, the goal is to select versatile, energizing wines, the sort that won’t weigh you down but will provide refreshment and pleasure with anything you serve.

In practical terms, that means wines with relatively low alcohol content, 14 percent maximum but better around 12 or 13 percent. It’s a long day, and not everybody wants to nod off on the couch.

You also want wines with lively acidity. That often makes the difference between bottles that can snap you to attention and a flat, fatiguing wine. The aim is refreshment and pleasure more than complexity and contemplation, though if you can find it all in one inexpensive bottle you’ve got a treasure.

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