8 Thanksgiving Wine Options to Complement Your Meal

Thanksgiving dinner with wine

You've planned a tasty Thanksgiving meal, organized a great guest list, and created a beautiful tablescape that's perfect for the season; now all that's left is the wine. Don't be daunted selecting a wine for Thanksgiving dinner. While there are traditional pairings that will enhance the flavors of the food and the wine, the bottom line for Thanksgiving wine pairings is to choose a wine you like. These Thanksgiving wine pairings offer classic food and wine combos perfect for turkey and all the fixings.

Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner

Wines that work best with the varied foods at Thanksgiving are versatile medium-bodied, accessible red and white wines. Offer several wine styles with the entire Thanksgiving dinner or offer different wine pairings for each course if you opt for that serving style.

Champagne and Sparkling Wine

One of the great thing about Champagne and other sparkling wines is their versatility. Because many sparkling wines contain 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, and you can finish the meal with a demi-sec (sweet) bubbly.

Carving the turkey

Some to try include:

  • Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine)
  • Cava (Spanish sparkling wine)
  • Sparkling wine from the US
  • Vintage or non-vintage Champagne
  • Crémant (French sparkling wine made using the méthode champenoise outside of the Champagne region)
  • Mousseaux (other French sparkling wines)
  • Sekt (German sparkling wine)
  • Blanc de blancs (a sparkling white wine made from Chardonnay grapes using the méthode champenoise)

Pinot Noir

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. Great Pinot Noir wine regions to try for turkey day include:

  • Burgundy (Bourgogne, France)
  • Russian River Valley (California)
  • Willamette Valley (Oregon)
  • Anderson Valley (California)
  • Sonoma (California)

Rosé

Rosé wines pair well with the varied flavors of Thanksgiving dinner because they are usually low in alcohol and have a nice, 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.

vegetarian thanksgiving with rose wine

Beaujolais Nouveau

Beaujolais Nouveau is often served as a Thanksgiving dinner wine pairing both because the wines release in November and need to be drunk within a few months of purchase and because the wine is freshly fruity and wine-friendly. Look for Beaujolais Nouveau in wine shops, grocery stores, and liquor stores the third Thursday in November, just in time for Thanksgiving.

Grenache

Grenache is a medium-bodied red found in wines from France's Rhone region and Spain's Priorat 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. You'll find great Grenache wines from:

  • Australia
  • Spain (Garnacha or Priorat)
  • France (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)
  • California

Riesling

While Germany makes champion Riesling, you can also find quality versions from producers in the United States, Austria, Alsace, 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.

Turkey and wine

Moscato d'Asti

If you prefer your wine lightly fizzy and on the sweeter side without being cloying, then try a Moscato d'Asti wine from Italy. This lightly sweet white wine has light, fizzy bubbles and light, fruit flavors of apricot that will pair well with every course of your turkey dinner from appetizer to dessert. This is the perfect wine to serve when you have people with a wide variety of taste in wines.

Dessert Wines

Many sweet wines also work well with Thanksgiving desserts. Try any of the following:

  • Tawny Port (sweet wine from Portugal) - perfect for pumpkin pie
  • Barsac or Sauternes (dessert white wine from Bordeaux, France) - perfect for crème brûlée
  • Malmsey Madeira (sweet wine from Portugal) - perfect for mince pie
  • Tokaji (dessert wine from Hungary) - try it with bread pudding
  • Ice wine or eiswein (late harvest, sweet wine) - a delicious dessert by itself
  • Late harvest wines (sweet wines from all around the world) - try it with apple pie
  • Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese (sweet or very sweet Rieslings from Germany or Alsace, France) - a perfect dessert by itself

Ask for Thanksgiving Wine Recommendations

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.

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8 Thanksgiving Wine Options to Complement Your Meal