Maine has one of the lowest rates of sparkling wine consumption in the country. We’re something like 48th or 49th. Like many wine professionals, I have a tendency (in some sort of passive-aggressive attempt at nobility or expertise or maybe just usefulness) to take on uphill battles (Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Beaujolais, etc.), but I’m not going to take on this one. If you don’t want to explore sparkling wine, fine.

I mean, you don’t need to explore it systematically. But if you reject out of hand the recommendation of a particular wine because it happens to have bubbles in it, you’re a close-minded fascist and/or nihilistic goon.

If you accept the possibility of enjoying an effervescent wine but place such scenarios in a celebrations-only ghetto, you’re simply ignorant. In fact, most wines with fizz show their most spectacular qualities when they’re drunk alongside dinner, and the best thing is the ease with which they do it.

You don’t have to do much pairing-geek research to pull off terrific pairings. Cook something (or even take-out something), open a sparkling wine that’s not completely dry or overly sweet, and it just works.

This column is not a primer on sparklers, so if you want to learn to distinguish spumante from frizzante, brut from demi-sec, traditionelle from charmat or the relevant applications thereof, look elsewhere. Likewise for the distinctions among Prosecco, Cava, Champagne, Sekt, Cremant and many others. It’s a big world out there.

But almost all iterations of sparkling wine share many attractive traits: Buoyancy, low alcohol content and flexibility.

Just decide how much you can spend, whether you want something utterly Mojave-dry (usually you don’t), or with a little or a lot of sweetness, and start to play. One and only one wine recommendation comes below, if you’re interested.

Dry or mostly dry sparkling wines are great with potato chips or celery spears slathered in mystery-dip or hummus-and-whatever. But they are also brilliant with more considered dishes, where the taut bubbles cut fat (cream sauces, eggs, game), the yeasty quality ennobles starch (pastry, grains), the herbal notes stand with vegetables (raw components, greens) and the slight residual sugar offsets spice and buttresses foods with interesting sweetness of their own (squash, onions, root vegetables).

Seriously, Champagne and caviar is one of the few pairings I’ve never found to work very well.

This is all sort of a lead-in to Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving, you’re faced with so many different sorts of foods, and even if you’re hosting, you’re rarely in charge of them all because various guests are bringing their “special” somethings.

A balanced, lively sparkling wine is the ideal tablemate. The very sight of the bottles will excite people, and you won’t have to spend big bucks to impress them. The wine will work with the food, from tofurkey to turducken and from marshmallowed sweet potatoes to Brussels sprouts.

At 12.5 percent alcohol or less, you can keep drinking it into the night with less risk of the sofa/football game pass-out. The tryptophan effect of the turkey will be countered by the uplifting quality of the bubbles. And bubbles make you feel filled up, so you’ll be at less risk of overeating.

Perhaps the best excuse for not drinking sparkling wines with regular weeknight meals is that you don’t always want to finish the bottle, and then you’re stuck with unfinished and rapidly flattening wine. There are half-bottles available; I love the Gruet Blanc de Noir ($10, Central) from New Mexico. But good sparkling wines are fine a day later, just as they really come into their own after being outside the fridge for a couple of hours. You could always buy a spritz-retaining preserving cap, but a vacuum cork works well.

Anyway, at Thanksgiving you’re not going to have to worry about that, are you? You just want to serve something yummy that will go with the food but be fine without it, that people will have fun drinking, and that you won’t worry needs to be opened alongside a particular part of the meal.

Here’s one wine that fits the bill especially well, although there are many that fit the bill. You have two weeks to find your own fit.

Albert Mann Cremant D’Alsace Brut 2008 ($21, Wicked): From an esteemed producer in Alsace, this combines several of my favorite grapes — Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, Pinot Gris and Riesling — but doesn’t taste strongly of any of them. It presents as dry, but sneakily has a touch of sweetness midway through that latches onto food.

It’s got so many components that November suggests: Dry cider, toasted pecans, hay bales. Most important for me is its confident balance, its embrace of apparent opposites: A muscular structure with a creamy texture, a dry-leaf crackle with a friendly charm.

In a slightly too-warm house on Nov. 24, with a bunch of people who might not all love each other as much as they’d like, circling a table full of platters with no defining principle, celebrating a country whose ideals welcome everything and everyone – pour this wine.

Joe Appel works at Rosemont Market. His blog,, continues the conversation, and he can be reached at: [email protected]