This Thanksgiving, instead of agonizing over which wines to serve or bring, just do a wee bit of thinking.
Think pink, and/or think inside the box.
Yes, rosé, long associated with summer, might be the best choice for the Turkey Day table. Another strong contender: boxed wines, which provide better-than-ever quality and, of course, quantity.
And value. After all, unless your list of celebrants is rife with cork dorks, it's frivolous to bring out your best.
Never mind that "big" wines such as cabernet and domestic chardonnay don't play well with the holiday's traditional dishes (high tannins and high alcohol, bad; lighter body, good).
On top of that, most guests will be happy with any well-made wine; they're just happy to be at such a gala gathering. There should be no rules about wine.
The pink stuff can enhance the celebration greatly. For starters, rosé rivals sparkling wine as the most versatile fit for food. It pairs particularly well with what many of us consider the meal's main event: stuffing and gravy, no matter the ingredients. The good ones also perform a deft pas de deux with yams, peas, cranberries and the bird itself.
And there are plenty of choice options available in stores, as merchants react to Twin Cities consumers' recently found ardor for rosé. Wine buyer Rob Bonelli said 1010 Washington Wine & Spirits has more than 60 brands in stock, in an effort to make the wines a year-round offering.
This year, they're even better than usual, as 2015 was a fabulous vintage in pretty much every major wine region in the world (many, if not most, of the boxed wines also doubtlessly have juice from that year).
Wines emanating from rosé's mecca, the Tavel region of Provence, are a great choice; look for Carteresses or Lafond, among others. Those generally are grenache-based blends.
Another grape well-suited to play in Pink Land is pinot noir, and there are swell renditions from Germany (where it is called spätburgunder), headed by Schäfer-Fröhlich and Meyer-Näkel.
Other dandy imports still on local shelves include the Domaine du Dragon from France, Wagner-Stempel from Germany and the bargain-priced Lechuza Garnacha from Spain.
Domestically, Bonny Doon Vin Gris is a perennial gem from California iconoclast Randall Grahm, while Washington has really got it going on with standouts such as Maryhill Rosé of Sangiovese and Charles & Charles.
Interestingly, some of the better rosés out there come in 3-liter boxes. Great options abound more than ever, and it's important to keep in mind that even with the $20 to $30 price tags, they contain the equivalent of four bottles of wine, so it's $5 to $8 per.
Some of my current faves:
La Vieille Ferme (red, white and pink): I've been buying wine from these guys almost three decades, and have never found a more reliable low-priced brand than this Rhône stalwart (red, white and pink). The red is juicy and spicy on the palate, dry and herby on the finish. The white, which like the red is a blend, is floral on the nose, crisp on the palate and mouth-watering in the end. The rosé is laden with berries from start to finish, delicious and seriously food-friendly.
Big House White: Caymus' "Conundrum" blend used to be a Thanksgiving staple at the Ward abode. This is a perfect (and much less spendy) alternative, with a similar fruit-cocktail array of flavors and just enough acidic backbone to keep it from being cloying.
Cotes du Ventoux "Cuvée des 3 Messes Basses" (white and pink): Both the blanc and the rosé have absolutely gorgeous aromatics, a clean mouthfeel and nice depth on the finish.
Juan Gil "Shania" (red and white): The Monastrell is meaty and loaded with blueberry flavor, while the white is sumptuous, but focused. Both are delicious (the first job of a wine) and persistent.
Rene Barbier (red and white): Talk about crowd-pleasers. These Spanish offerings are fruit-forward, light-bodied and clean as a whistle. They might lack the complexity of the Shanias but are less expensive.
The good news is that these are first-rate choices for Thanksgiving. The better news: If there's any left after the festive feast, the wine will keep for weeks.
Bill Ward writes at decant-this.com. Follow him on Twitter: @billward4.