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Neyers Vineyards Bruce's Journal

Here’s What We Plan to Drink at Thanksgiving

By Bruce Neyers

Tuesday 20th December, 2022

As far back as I can remember, Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday. A lot of this fondness has to do with my love for the basic meal of roast turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry sauce, but a lot more comes from having my family and a few good friends around me. There are always some bottles of good wine included in my Thanksgiving meal as well, and who doesn’t enjoy taking an entire day off during the middle of the week? The combination of great food, relaxation with good company, and an excuse to open some nice wines just doesn’t come around as often as I’d like.

I’ve been asked if I prefer to drink Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon with my turkey, and to answer that I defer to a San Francisco wine tasting conducted by the late Harry Waugh back in the 70’s. Waugh was asked by an attendee if he preferred to drink Burgundy or Bordeaux, and after mulling over the question for a minute or so, replied, “I expect to spend a great deal of time over the rest of my life researching the answer to that question.” His reply was perfect in its irreverence.

We drink both Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon at the Neyers house on Thanksgiving while enjoying one of my favorite meals – Barbara’s roast turkey. There are no giblets in the gravy, and no oysters in the stuffing. The meal is free of greens and yams, but accompanied by some Parker House rolls made fresh by our friends at Model Bakery. Barbara’s recipe is simple and direct, and her roast turkey is delicious. It’s almost better as a sandwich, the next day. She made a copy of her recipe for me, and I reprinted it below.

I like to create a theme for the wines we drink with Thanksgiving turkey. This year, we’ll taste French and California wines of the same grape variety from the same vintage. We’ll start with a 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Neyers Ranch’ and serve it alongside a 2009 red Bordeaux – wine from one of the best Cabernet Sauvignon vintages in the past decade. When we finish them – in time for a second round of turkey — I’ll open a red Burgundy from the 2019 vintage, as I’ve started to receive the 2019 red Burgundies that I purchase every year. The 2019 was a small, but impressive, vintage. With that Burgundy, I’ll open a 2019 Neyers Pinot Noir. This was also a terrific year for Pinot Noir for us, and the Placida and Roberts Road bottlings are two of the best wines Tadeo has made. They are both deeply colored, full of exotic fruit, and attractively soft. I, too, need to do more research before deciding which grape I favor.

I prefer serving Pinot Noir after Cabernet Sauvignon, as most Pinot Noir is loaded with fruit esters, and the strong fruit aroma and flavor of Pinot Noir make it impractical for wine made from another grape variety to follow. That’s a valuable lesson I learned from Kermit years ago.

Whatever you find yourself drinking on Thanksgiving with your turkey, I hope you are able to enjoy it in a calm and peaceful setting. The most welcome aspect of Thanksgiving is the relaxation that seems to come with it. Enjoy that with your wine, your family, and our best wishes from Neyers Vineyards. And if it’s too late to introduce Barbara’s turkey recipe for Thanksgiving, try it at Christmas, or New Year’s Day. Let us know if you have any questions.

Roast Turkey Recipe


  • 10 to 20-pound turkey
  • 2 to 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter depending on size of the turkey


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Remove giblets and neck from turkey.
  3. Rinse turkey with water inside and out, pat dry.
  4. Fill body and neck with stuffing and close vents.
  5. Truss turkey – tie ankles together binding legs together and loop twine around wings.
  6. Breast side up, place turkey on rack in roasting pan and baste with melted butter.
  7. Cook 10 to 12 minutes per pound for unstuffed turkey and 12 to 15 minutes per pound for stuffed turkey.
  8. Baste turkey with pan juices every 30 minutes.
  9. The internal temperature for a finished turkey should be 180 degrees.
  10. If turkey becomes too brown, loosely tent turkey with aluminum foil.
  11. Let turkey stand 20 minutes before carving.
Looking South across Neyers Conn Valley vineyards.
Looking south across the Neyers Conn Valley vineyards. Our house is in the center of the photo, and the treeline just past it marks Conn Creek.
Looking west down rows of Chuy's Placida Vineyard

Looking west down the tightly spaced rows of Chuy’s Placida Vineyard in the Russian River Valley.

Sangiacomo Family's Roberts Road Vineyard looking west

The Sangiacomo Family’s Roberts Road Vineyard looking west across the Petaluma Gap.