With Thanksgiving almost here, you’re either in full panic mode about hosting this year’s get-together or you’ve done it a dozen times so you’ve got things pretty much figured out. Whatever the case, have you given any thought to the drinks you’ll be serving with your feast? Because you absolutely need the best wine to pair with your Thanksgiving dinner or you aren’t doing Turkey Day right.
Rather than heading out to the local supermarket to buy a cheap case of beer and one or two bottles of wine, grab a few of these vinos that will pair well with your offerings. You can’t go wrong with any of these suggestions, and if you want to go all in, you can pick out four or five bottles of wine and set them in the middle of the table when you serve dinner. You can explain to your guests which wine should be sipped with which dish, or you can let them figure that out for themselves. You can thank your wine subscription for that one.
Trust us, with this wine guide your guests will want for nothing this Thanksgiving and they’ll leave saying it was the best holiday yet. Plus, it makes an excellent gift for the hostess. Here are a few wines to pair with your many Turkey Day dishes this year.
1. Dry Riesling
Although many people think that Rieslings are sweet wines, they actually run the gamut from sweet to dry. But, thanks to their autumnal flavors of honey and apples, this wine pairs well with most Thanksgiving dishes. If you’re really looking to impress your guests, order this well-reviewed Keuka Lake Vineyards Finger Lakes Estate Dry Riesling which is a great wine to start your guests out with.
2. Pinot Noir
Not a fan of whites? That’s okay. Many folks associate red wine as a seasonal drink for fall and winter, which, of course, encompasses Thanksgiving. For a versatile red to use as your main Thanksgiving tipple, turn to a pinot noir. The earthy flavors and subtle fruitiness of a pinot noir match well with turkey and the typical range of spice-filled side dishes.
Stuffing is a strange dish when you start to think about it. The filling mixture of bread, veggies, meats and more can take on any number of flavors. Because of its texture and taste, stuffing needs a full-bodied wine, such as chardonnay, to compliment it. Try the Clos Du Bois Chardonnay with its hints of green apple, vanilla and caramel if you love nothing more than sitting down with a bowl of stuffing every November.
4. Beaujolais Nouveau
Although Beaujolais Nouveau doesn’t carry the same name recognition as chardonnay or riesling, this light, fruity wine produced from 100% gamay grapes is a late-fall winner. In fact, France releases this wine on the third Thursday of November every year, just in time for Thanksgiving. Because it doesn’t have the same boldness as some other reds, the Beaujolais Nouveau pairs well with sweet sides.
Although you may not want to sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with a glass of sparkling wine, there’s no better way to get your guests into the holiday spirit than to offer a glass of champagne or cava with the hors d’oeuvres. Bubbles always make a party better. Try this Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label Champagne or a fun and popular start to your Thanksgiving this year.
Rosé at Thanksgiving isn’t all that weird. Sure, the best rosé has summer written all over it, but you’d be surprised just how well summer water pairs with your traditional autumnal meal. Rosé has a sweeter taste to it that goes great with salty, creamy cheeses, making this the perfect pre-dinner drink before the eating goes down. If your family has salad pre-meal, this also makes for an excellent sipper when chowing down your greens. In our book, the best rosé comes from Avaline, which is hard not to fall in love with.
A white wine that dazzles and delights the palate, albarinos are particularly good for Thanksgiving thanks to their texture and purity. Albarinos come from coastal Spain where the saltiness of the sea constantly comes into contact with the vines, creating a bright wine that compliments green, healthier sides well. If you haven’t dived into the world of albarinos previously, the Burgans Albarino is a good place to start.
Because starchy sides and turkey tend to be on the dry side of culinary tradition, you don’t want to serve a full-bodied red wine. The lighter the body the better, but if you prefer your wine to have a bit more than, say, a pinot noir, merlots are the obvious choice. The Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Blue Label Merlot toes the line and finds a balance that’s light enough for Thanksgiving dinner but full enough to please your palate.
9. Sauvignon Blanc
How are you cooking your turkey? If you have it covered in various herbs and spices to enhance the flavor, you need a bottle of sauvignon blanc during dinner. It will play a nice back and forth with your meal for a really delicious combination. Joel Gott’s sauvignon blanc has our hearts right now and it’s totally affordable!
10. California Zinfandel
Zinfandel is one of the most popular wines to produce in the United States. So, celebrate the great American tradition of Thanksgiving with one of the greatest American wines, a California Zinfandel. Although they tend to be medium-bodied, zinfandels can pair well with turkey, particularly if you prefer dark meat. The Frogs Leap Zinfandel makes an excellent Thanksgiving wine pairing.
11. Cabernet Sauvignon
You can’t go wrong with a classic cab sauv on Thanksgiving. For those of you ditching the turkey for a nice prime rib (we know you’re out there), this is the bottle for you. Cabernet sauvignon also pairs super well with most gravies, which we already know is simmering on your stove in anticipation of the big meal. Our favorite cab sauv right now is Unshackled, an innovative red you simply have to try for yourself.
Save the best for last: If you have a sweet tooth, you know the best part of Thanksgiving is the pie. Whether you enjoy sweet potato, pumpkin or apple at your family get together, a dessert wine pairing is a must. For the heavier pies associated with Thanksgiving, a 20+ year tawny port is ideal. The sweet yet nutty flavor goes down smooth and lingers long enough to mix with your next bite.