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Giving Thanks for Cheap Wine (and Other Important Stuff)

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It’s good to be young, broke, and beautiful

Dear Two Buck Chick,

I’m going to Thanksgiving dinner at (insert friend/family member)’s house and I need to bring some wine. WTF should I bring? P.S. I’m broke.

You came to the right column, my (completely fictitious) friend! So you ain’t got nuthin but lint in yo’ pockets, but you want to contribute something to the big feast, eh? Something that says “See everyone! I’m not the immature, unmotivated, freeloading sloth that you think I am. I picked out and paid for a delicious, grown-ass person wine all by myself!”

The good thing about Turkey Day wine pairings is that you have to try pretty damn hard to F-it up. With such a cornucopia of different foods on the table, you’re likely to hit the nail on the head at some point.

One important detail to remember, however, is that while alcohol kills the pain of enduring “20-questions” from every member of your bat-shit crazy extended family, it also kills the flavor in food. In other words, go easy on the % ABV (alcohol by volume) and other over-the-top, flavor-smothering components for that matter (oak, spice, tannin etc). Beyond that, it’s really just about getting something tasty that everyone will enjoy, but won’t send you spiraling into (more) debt.

I suggest going with one or (for you extra grown-ass persons) more of these crowd-pleasing, broke-ass budget-appeasing options:

Sparkling: Graham Beck NV Cap Classique Brut (~$15) – The term Cap Classique is South African for “made just like Champagne but for broke-asses”. For reals, this is one of the best Champagne-method sparkling wines under $20 I have ever put in my mouth. It’s rich and creamy enough to hold up to all that gravy and junk on your plate, but still crisp and refreshing. If you’re feeling really cocky, get their NV Brut Rosé.

White: Foxglove Chardonnay (~$12) – I have no qualms about admitting that I despise the majority of California Chardonnays in this price range because they’re like the wine version of Paula Deen – 750 ml of flabby, liquid butter. This is not one of those. This is what Cali Chardonnay should taste like… or rather, if Paula Deen reduced her daily butter intake by one (or five) sticks and got a face transplant from Hayden Panettiere.

Red: Domaine des Nugues Beaujolais-Villages (~$13) – Before you freak out, this is not Beaujolais Nouveau. It’s grown-ass Beaujolais and my personal beverage of choice for the repast o’ gratitude. If you want the Jean-Claude Van Damme version, go into a wine shop and ask for “Cru” Beaujolais. It’ll cost you a few extra dead presidents, but you’ll reach a new level of wine geekdom, which you can then brag about to your friends and family.

*Bonus Wine: Bex Riesling (~$10) – Like a spoonful of sugar, a good Riesling helps the medicine go down (I recommend Xanax for family gatherings), in addition to pairing well with nearly every type of food you can possibly shovel into your pie hole. Including, you guessed it… pie.

And that is how you kick ass at Thanksgiving (drops mic, exits stage).

Bon Appétit, brokesters!

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Emily Crichton - Two Buck Chick

Emily Crichton - Two Buck Chick

Emily grew up in the great American Midwest where she learned to appreciate the finer things in life, such as cheese curds, polka dancing, and building up a superhuman immune defense to lake sludge. Somewhere in her young adulthood, Emily got all kinds of geeky about wine and decided to forgo a life of luxury in order to be a pro wino in one of the most expensive cities on the planet. This career move would prove to be great for broke-asses everywhere seeking cheap, tasty wine suggestions, but not so great for Emily's predilection for anxiety-free bill-paying. On the rare occasion that she is not imbibing or writing about wine, Emily can usually be found traipsing around estate sales, defending her Wisconsin vernacular, challenging strangers to thumb-wrestling matches, and wishing "Three’s Company” was still on primetime TV.


  1. November 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Traders Joe’s Wine Shop on 14th Street. $2 bottles of wine. The End.

  2. Emily Crichton - Two Buck Chick
    November 20, 2012 at 11:11 am

    To each his own, my friend…. It’s true, TJ does have wine for $2 (hence my pen name). And that’s fine if you guzzle cases of it every day. I don’t judge. I’m just lending a hand to my peeps who want something astronomically more special in the quality department, but still cheap relatively speaking (there are plenty of wines out there for $50+ that SUCK). Whatever you’re drinking, keep drinking and enjoy 🙂