Approaching the holiday meals heavy in calories and family drama? Wondering what to drink to keep your mouth happy, your equilibrium balanced, and your relationships intact?

Thanksgiving dinner, whether turkey, ham, or goose, is – by the tradition of those thankful and fortunate – a seriously heavy meal.  The post-prandial football game tradition is a ruse to get comfortable on a couch and take a nap.  Accordingly, the wines for the holiday dinner are best if they’re light, crisp and able to cut through the cornucopia of tastes in your mouth.

If you feel French, a white or red Sancerre will do nicely. An Italian Vernaccia from San Gimignano is fun for a white and a Sicilian red such as a Frappato works well. (The wonderful Nero d Avola is a big bottle of fun if you wish to go heavier.) However, if you’d prefer to go patriotic for the holiday wine, a Pinot Noir from Oregon or a Russian River Venge Jewel Sauvignon Blanc will find you happy and grateful while you rest up on that couch.

For the December holiday meal, I’d suggest waking up your palate before tucking into your food. A glass of Prosecco or Champagne might replace the eggnog (mix that with bourbon, vanilla ice cream and a dash of nutmeg if you’re tied to eggnog). Alternatively, a pour of nice white Burgundy or Sauvignon Blanc will help your mouth get ready for the onslaught. If you’re starting the meal with some of our local shellfish — some friends start with a family raw bar — that bottle of Prosecco or Champagne will work nicely; otherwise try a Chablis.

While staring at your relatives across the festive table, I’d suggest filling your glass with mid-weight wines that can take you through the meal. If you are inclined to white wine, you might open a California Chardonnay or an Australian Semillon or Riesling. A nice Spanish Rioja, an Italian Sangiovese or a Pinot Noir from our west coast will keep red drinkers happy.

After dinner, contemplating dessert, you might want something to cleanse your mouth. I’d advise staying away from sweet wines (gonna be enough sugar in your fruit tart) and letting a glass of Italian grappa jolt your taste buds awake. Then get into the kitchen and deal with that pile of dishes.

Jim Malkin lives in Chilmark and drinks wine with dinner, feast or not.