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By the Glass

Pour these lively American wines for the big feast

Ellen Bhang for the Boston Globe

When selecting wine for the Thanksgiving table, think lively and bright. Three American producers certainly do. They’re dialed in to what your guests will be craving on the day of the big feast.

That trio of makers — Gruet in New Mexico, Ravines in New York’s Finger Lakes, and Populis in Northern California — may be far-flung from one another geographically; but their wines share a light-on-their-feet sensibility that’s well-suited to rich holiday fare.

These pours offer appetizing, refined expressions of fruit, reminding you that someone farmed with integrity and harvested at just the right time. Cleansing acidity resets the palate between bites of buttery, gravy-laden dishes, while delightful elements round out every glass: moderate alcohol, appealing minerally scents, and a freshness that recalls a dip in your favorite body of water in warmer months.


Last but not least, it’s hard to quarrel with value. At under $25 each, you can afford to be generous toward your thirsty crowd.

Gruet “Sauvage” Back in the ’80s, the Gruet family — proprietors of their own Champagne house in Bethon, France — were traveling through the Southwestern United States when they encountered European makers crafting wine near Truth or Consequences, N.M. Gilbert Gruet returned to plant a vineyard. Today, two of his children oversee the business, based in Albuquerque. This “zéro dosage” (bone dry) beauty is made in the same method as Champagne, crafted from chardonnay grown in high-elevation plots. This frothy, platinum-hued bubbly is minerally and lightly yeasty on the nose, with pear and citrus beneath. Tart and bracing, it offers lemony saltiness and stone fruit tang. Around $24. Urban Grape, South End, 857-250-2509; The Wine Press, Brookline, 617-277-7020.

Ravines Dry Riesling 2015 It has been almost 20 years since Morten and Lisa Hallgren established their winery in upstate New York’s Finger Lakes. The husband-and-wife team has made it their mission to elevate this rugged, cool-climate region. Morten Hallgren, an enologist-viticulturalist from Provence, France, crafts the wine; Lisa Hallgren manages sales across the country. This dry riesling expresses gentle scents of petrol, river stones, and citrus spritz, leading to a kicky-yet-delicate palate of lime flower and crunchy stone fruit. Around $21. Porter Square Wine & Spirits, Cambridge, 617-547-3110; Pemberton Farms, Cambridge, 617-491-2244.


Populis “Wabi-Sabi” 2017 Intriguingly named for a genre of Japanese aesthetics that expresses reverence for authenticity, rusticity, and impermanence, this lithe, friendly red is crafted by Populis, a natural wine company founded by Diego Roig, Sam Baron, and Shaunt Oungoulian. This bottle offers crushed cranberry on the nose, along with violets and a pinch of freshly turned soil. Its playful, red fruit palate — crafted from carignane, zinfandel, and syrah, sourced from organic growers throughout Mendocino County — lives up to the producers’ ethos of delicious, honest wine for the people. Around $23. The Wine Press, Brookline; Streetcar Wine & Beer, Jamaica Plain, 617-522-6416.

Ellen Bhang can be reached at