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Rad Magnums

Will Motley

Conversation is the true centerpiece of any good holiday gathering. Whether it's family or friends, new or old, we gather to acknowledge each other, to talk and to listen. Notoriously, some talk more than others. But there are simple ways to encourage the good kinds of chatter.

Busting out a large format bottle of some sexy red wine will engage a room as fast as you can say the words Grab a glass. Folks aren't really used to it. A magnum speaks up and says, No matter what else, we're doing something special tonight. Together. Everyone's involved. A bottle like this focuses everyone's attention and steers the conversation towards what is shared, more so than what is not. Call it anecdotal, but I'm here to say it works.

But as with all things aesthetic, it can't just be big. It's gotta be justified. And these five choice French reds all have two things in common.

1. They're among those wines that adapt themselves perfectly to the crazy variety of modern Thanksgiving cuisine. Sturdy in build but light on their feet, these wines marry freshness and depth into a wonderfully food-friendly union.

2. They're delicious, broadly. These are wines with which I've set many a table over the years, bringing together novice and expert alike. In other words, without being too expensive, they have that luster of authenticity, the shine of good taste that appeals to everyone.

Saint Cosme Côtes-du-Rhône $35 (SOLD OUT)

Catherine & Pierre Breton Bourgueil Trinch! $50
Cabernet Franc

Domaine de la Chanteleuserie Bourgueil Cuvée Alouettes $35
Cabernet Franc

Thierry Puzelat Vin de France Le Telquel $35 (SOLD OUT)
Gamay, Grolleau

Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais $33