Properly pairing food and wine can enhance your experience of both. Thanksgiving dinner can be one of the hardest wine pairing days of the year because of the variety of foods served. Fortunately, there are many wines that pair quite well with turkey and all of the trimmings at Thanksgiving dinner.
Successful Thanksgiving Wine Pairings
What often works best with the varied foods at Thanksgiving are versatile medium-bodied, accessible red and white wines. Since everyone typically sits down family style, Thanksgiving meals quite often only have the main course and dessert, although sometimes appetizers are offered before everyone sits. Offer several styles of wine to your guests with the entire dinner or offer different wine pairings for each course if you opt for that serving style.
Each of the wines below will go with the entire main course of a traditional Thanksgiving meal, from the turkey and stuffing to the sweet potatoes.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine
One of the great thing about Champagne and other sparkling wines is their versatility. Because many are made from the red wine grape, Pinot Noir, they have enough gravitas to pair with heavier dishes, but remain light enough that they don't overpower lighter fare. Likewise, Champagne and sparkling wines have a celebratory feel to them, making them the perfect dinner pairing. Champagne makes also makes a great apéritif to pair with appetizers.
|Inexpensive||Prosecco/Italy||Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco, Cavit Prosecco Lunetta||$10 to $20|
|Cava/Spain||Poema Brut Cava, Juve Y Camps Rose Brut Cava|
|Sparkling Wine/US||Treveri Cellars Blanc de Blanc Brut, NV Scharffenberger "Brut Excellence", Gruet Brut|
|Moderate||Non-Vintage Champagne/France||Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label NV, Louis Roederer NV Vintage Brut, Perrier Jouet NV Grand Brut||$35 to $60|
|Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine/US||Loma Prieta Non-Vintage North Coast Sparkling Wine, Blanc de Noirs|
|Vintage Sparkling Wine/US||Schramsburg 2011 Brut Rose, Frank Family Vineyards Blanc de Blanc 2008|
|Splurge||Vintage Sparkling Wine/US||Argyle Winery Blanc de Blanc, Domaine Carneros Le Reve Blanc de Blancs||$80 to $200|
|Vintage Champagne/France||Dom Pérignon, Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame, Perrier Jouet "Belle Epoque"|
Pinot Noir is a medium-bodied red with subtle fruit flavors and a delicious earthiness. The tannins in the wine cut through the rich and fatty flavors of turkey, stuffing, and gravy during your main meal.
|Inexpensive||Pinot Noir/OR||Andrew Rich Prelude, Cloudline||$18 to $25|
|Burgundy/France||Domaine Digioia Royer Bourgogne Rouge, Domaine Olivier Merlin Bourgogne Rouge|
|Pinot Noir/CA||Clos LaChance Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir|
|Moderate||Pinot Noir/CA||Martinelli Home Ranch "Water Trough" Vineyard, Talley Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir||$35 to $70|
|Pinot Noir/OR||Archery Summit Premier Cuvee Pinot Noir, Argyle Spirit House Pinot Noir, Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir|
|Splurge||Pinot Noir/OR||Domaine Serene Fleur de Lis Vineyard, Chapter 24 Last Chapter Pinot Noir, Beaux Freres The Beaux Freres Vineyard Pinot Noir||$85 to $200|
|Pinot Noir/CA||Kistler Cuvee Catherine Occidental Station Vineyard Pinot Noir, Williams Selyem Rochioli Riverblock Vineyard Pinot Noir|
Rosé wines are great food options because they are usually ultra-low in alcohol, and they have a nice non-tannic, fresh fruitiness to them. They are quite reasonably priced; you can find a good bottle for under $20. Rosé wines are a good halfway between a red and a white, which allows them to pair with all of the foods on your Thanksgiving table. Try any of the following:
- Ameztoi 2010 Rubentis Rosé Getariako Txakolina, Spain - $20
- Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rose, France - $13
- Chapoutier Belleruche Rose, France - $15
- La Vieille Ferme Cotes du Ventoux Rose, France - $9
Grenache is a medium-bodied red found in wines from France's Rhone region and Spain's Prioriat region. Grenache-based wines are fruity and earthy with a hint of smoke. The smoky and earthy flavors of Grenache go well with common Thanksgiving herbs like sage, rosemary, and thyme, which means it will work with your entire meal.
|Inexpensive||Grenache/Australia||$10 to $20|
|Grenache/France||Domaine de Gournier Grenache Noir|
|Moderate||Priorat/Spain||$60 to $80|
|Grenache/CA||Epoch "Veracity" Paderewski Vineyard Paso Robles Rhone Blend|
|Splurge||Châteauneuf-du-Pape/France||Domaine de la Janasse Vielle Vignes, Chateau de Beaucastel,||$75 to $150|
While Germany makes champion Riesling, you can also find quality versions from producers in the United States, Austria, and Australia. Riesling wines work well because they have a nice balance of sweetness and acidity that complements your entire Thanksgiving dinner, as well as any appetizers you choose to serve.
|Inexpensive||Riesling/WA||$8 to $19|
|Riesling/NZ||Forrest Estate The Doctors' Riesling 2012|
|Moderate||Riesling Kabinett/Germany||Dr. Loosen Blue Slate Estate Kabinett, Selbach Oster Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken||$20 to $25|
|Splurge||German Riesling Spatlese||J.J. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spatlese, Donnhoff Norheimer Kirschheck Riesling Spatlese, Leitz Rudesheimer Berg Roseneck Riesling Spatlese,||$30 to $80|
Many sweet wines also work well with Thanksgiving desserts. Try any of the following:
- Penfolds Club Tawny Port goes great with pumpkin pie - $14
- Chateau Coutet Barsac pairs well with créme brûlée - $20 to $50
- Chateau Doisy Vedrines Sauternes is a good all around dessert wine - $18
- Yalumba Antique Reserve Tawny Port tastes great with chocolate or pecan pie - $20
- Tabali Late Harvest Muscat pairs well with fruit - $9
- Taylor Fladgate 10-Year-Old Tawny is a dessert all by itself - $35
Wine Shop Help
Your local wine shop staff can also help you pick out a great Thanksgiving wine. With a little wine education and a sense of adventure for trying new things, you're sure to find the perfect wines for your Thanksgiving meal.