At Thanskgiving, 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 Food and Wine Pairings
Wines that work 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 wine styles with the entire Thanksgiving dinner or offer different wine pairings for each course if you opt for that serving style.
Each of the wines below will pair well 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 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.
|Inexpensive||Prosecco/Italy||$10 to $20|
|Moderate||Non-Vintage Champagne/France||$35 to $60|
|Non-Vintage Sparkling Wine/US||Loma Prieta Non-Vintage North Coast Sparkling Pinotage Blanc de Noirs|
|Vintage Sparkling Wine/US|
|Splurge||Vintage Sparkling Wine/US||$80 to $200|
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||$10 to $30|
|Pinot Noir/CA||La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir|
|Moderate||Pinot Noir/CA||$35 to $80|
|Burgundy/France||T Bautista Mercurey Cuvee Marie Christine|
|Splurge||Pinot Noir/OR||$85 to $200|
Rosé wines pair well with the varied flavors of Thanksgiving dinner because they are usually low in alcoholand 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.
Try any of the following:
Beaujolais Nouveau is often served as a Thanksgiving dinner wine pairing both because the wines release in October 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 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.
|Inexpensive||Grenache/Australia||$10 to $30|
|Grenache/France||Domaine de Gournier Grenache Noir|
|Moderate||Priorat/Spain||$40 to $80|
|Grenache/CA||Epoch Estate Veracity|
|Splurge||Châteauneuf-du-Pape/France||$75 to $150|
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.
|Inexpensive||Riesling/WA||$8 to $19|
|Moderate||Riesling Kabinett/Germany||$20 to $25|
|Splurge||German Riesling Spätlese||$30 to $80|
Thanksgiving Dessert Wines
Many sweet wines also work well with Thanksgiving desserts. Try any of the following:
- Penfolds Club Tawny Port goes great with pumpkin pie - $15
- Chateau Coutet Barsac pairs well with créme brûlée - $20 to $60
- Chateau Doisy-Védrines Sauternes is a good all around dessert wine - $35
- Yalumba Antique Reserve Tawny Port tastes great with chocolate or pecan pie - $20
- Taylor Fladgate 10-Year-Old Tawny is a dessert all by itself - $35
LoveToKnow Thanskgiving Wine Staff Picks
LoveToKnow staff shares some of their favorite wines they serve at Thanksgiving.
- LoveToKnow writer Michele Meleen recommends Liebestropfchen from Johnson Estates. She says, "This is a favorite local wine that has mass appeal. Its nickname is 'Little Love Drops' so it's great for family gatherings like Thanksgiving that are all about sharing the love It's on the sweet side." $10.
- LoveToKnow Managing Editor Carrie Grosvenor recommends Chateau la Gordonne, Cotes de Provence Rose. According to Carrie, it's a family favorite. $16.
- Editor and wine writer Karen Frazier recommends Spirit Hill Blanc des Blancs from Oregon's Argyle winery. This all-Chardonnay sparkling wine is some of the best the state of Oregon has on offer, with creamy tropical and mineral flavors that work well with most Thanksgiving foods. $50.
- YourDictionary editor Michael Kwan recommends Sumac Ridge Estate Private Reserve Gewürztraminer. It's available in Canada, and Michael enjoyed it for Thanksgiving last year while really appreciating the under $20 price tag.
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.