Can you believe it’s already October?! And before we blink, it’ll be Thanksgiving followed by Santa squeezing down my (non-existent) chimney.1 But back to Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday as I get to show off my mad cooking skillz and then complain about how tired I am. It’s also a day filled with wine from breakfast to the last football game of the day and everything in between. #DontJudgeMe

And just about every year, people ask me about what wine I’m having with dinner. Truth is we drink a wide variety of wines on Thanksgiving starting with mimosas2. Then there’s a “cooking wine” that I sip on while cooking and also like to have handy with appetizers. And then there’s the wine the actually goes with dinner. And if folks are so inclined, I also have dessert wines. Ms. ‘Hostess With The Mostest Wine’ I am.

So when I was invited to go deep into the wine glass and participate in a virtual chat with Snooth and New Zealand’s Villa Maria Estate along with other influencers, the lightbulb totally went off when I saw the lineup. Sparkling wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé, and Pinot Noir? This entire lineup would be fantastic for Thanksgiving! The chat was led by Villa Maria winemaker Kathrin Jankowiec along with Mark and Claudia Angelillo of Snooth.

Family owned and a leader in sustainability, Villa Maria is an immersion in passion and dedication. The #1 wine in New Zealand and one of the most admired brands in the world, their sole focus has always been on crafting excellence in the bottle rather than trying to meet some corporate objective.

And if these Villa Maria wines sound good to you, it’s so easy to get the entire lineup in a discounted pack from Snooth’s Flash Sale for $125 (regularly $200) with FREE shipping. In addition to aforementioned Thanksgiving dinner,3 these wines are perfect to welcome the fall season while enjoying the great outdoors4

So here’s the Villa Maria wine lineup.

2017 Villa Maria Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand ($15)

2017 Villa Maria Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc

So I have to say that this wine presented a couple of firsts for me. It was the first time I’d had a bubbly wine under screwcap5 and it was the first time I’d had a sparkling Sauvignon Blanc. Someone describe Villa Maria as the OG Screwcap which was so awesome and so true! This one was a soft frizzante style bubbly which seems to allow the fruit to really shine through. Fresh, crisp and bursting with citrus and peach. Have it with or without the OJ or have it with dinner. Y’all do know that bubbly goes with just about everything?!

2017 Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($14)

2017 Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc

So I paired this with my front porch and rocking chair.6 It’s hard to go wrong with classic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The beautifully vibrant, acidic wines with intense aromas and telling green fruit and herbaceous notes keep us coming back for more. Zingy acidity with lemongrass, grapefruit, and a bright herbaceousness. This is a natural as a “cooking wine” or with lighter foods and soft cheeses.

2017 Villa Maria Taylors Pass Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($26)

2017 Villa Maria Taylors Pass Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc

The Taylors Pass Sauv Blanc has a similar flavor profile to the Private Bin wine, but it also seemed to have a richer mouthfeel and texture and offered up more minerailty and floral notes. Pass the fish tacos please. Someone also suggested fried chicken with this, and I have to say, I’d be down.

2017 Villa Maria Rosé, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand ($15)

2017 Villa Maria Hawkes Bay Rosé

The Private Bin Rosé is crafted primarily from Merlot. The wine shows a pale salmon in the glass with floral blossoms, orange cream, and strawberry. Plush mouthfeel and a bit more body that you would get with a Provencal Rosé. Delish! And loved the deeper pink hue on this one. This one would go with a number of things whether it’s Thanksgiving ham, pizza, or the beach.

2017 Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand ($18)

2015 Villa Maria Private Bin Pinot Noir

The Private Bin Pinot Noir is perfect for a weeknight meal with its easy drinking nature. Fruit forward with juicy cherry, red currant and herbs accompanied by soft tannins and nice acid. This one is a definite crowd pleaser. It’s difficult to make good Pinot at this price point so this one is well done. Pair this with just about anything on your Thanksgiving menu, especially that roasted turkey.

2015 Villa Maria Taylors Pass Vineyard, Pinot Noir, Marlborough, New Zealand ($42)

2015 Villa Maria Taylors Pass Vineyard Pinot Noir

The Taylor Pass Pinot had more complexity and elegance than the Private Bin Pinot. The nose offers up black cherry preserves, vanilla, mushroom, and herbs. In the mouth, tart cherry, black plum, spice, & a bit of cedar are balanced by med+ acidity and smooth, silky tannins. This would be a dream with some smoked salmon. But I’d also have it with lamb, chicken, pork…you get the point.

Being big fans of Cajun and Creole cooking, we decided to pair both of the Taylors Pass wines with Shrimp and Grits with Andouille.

Shrimp & Grits w/ the Villa Maria Taylors Pass Wines

Interestingly enough, I enjoyed both wines with the dish. The Sauv Blanc was great with the richness of the grits and the sausage while the Pinot was a natural for the andouille sausage. #Winning either way.

Cheers to the upcoming holiday season! And if you try any of the Villa Maria wine, let me know. 


  1. The stories I’ve had to concoct to explain to Thing 1 and Thing 2 about how Santa gets in the house are beyond crazy!
  2. I skip the OJ as it’s an overrated addition. I’m just sayin…
  3. Pinot Noir and bubbly are absolutely my go-to Thanksgiving wines.’
  4. My front porch is one of my favorite places this time of year as well as my back patio while watching college football. Go Irish!
  5. Shoutout to New Zealand for making it easy on a girl.
  6. *Embraces old lady status.*

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