Thanksgiving is undoubtedly the biggest food holiday of the year. Nothing inspires images of loose-fitting pants and afternoon naps—or “food coma’s”—quite like Thanksgiving. But while you are pulling out Grandma’s recipes and meticulously planning your menu, have you thought about … Read More
Pairing wine with turkey is not as complicated as it looks. The taste profile and succulent texture of this meat can complement different grape varieties, grown with passion from various regions. From earthy-reds to herbaceous whites, we’ll guide on what to pair with turkey.
Best Red Wine to Drink With Turkey
You can bring out the light flavors of turkey meat with low-tannin wines. Fruit forward reds are ideal because their sweetness does not suppress the turkey’s taste profile.
Beaujolais Nouveau: This vin de primeur has fruity tones that blend well with your favorite cranberry sauce and the buttery turkey and mashed potatoes. This wine is released only once a year, around Thanksgiving. It is also meant to be consumed immediately, that’s why many people wait earnestly for its release.
Old Vine Zinfandel: Enjoy some chocolatey notes of grapes from older wines as you finish dinner. The heavily ripened red fruit in this bottle blends well with turkey meat, sweet potatoes, and the spices of pumpkin pie or the caramel of pecan pie.
Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir is probably the most classic wine to go with roasted turkey. Its tart and tangy notes balance the salt, pepper, and spices rubbed on the meat. The woodsy notes within this bottle also pairs well with herbs, mushroom, and squash.
Best White Wine With Turkey
Chardonnay: This one’s an obvious choice. Chardonnay is a classic pair for roasted meat because it can complement various flavors, including the herbs you use for basting. For more complex textures, pour your third glass with oaky notes from a bottle of California Chardonnay. For a crisp and fruity experience, consider a Burgundy or Chablis. Chardonnay may be your everyday wine, but it can be too intense for the turkey. Instead, consider some refreshing and fruity white wines.
Viognier: This oily white wine contains essences of apricot, peach, and pear which all goes well with turkey. Consider this low acid bottle if you’re planning to consume lots of spices throughout the meal.
Riesling: Dry and sweet Riesling is ideal for occasions where the table will be overflowing with flavors. It elevates the taste of turkey and other dishes that might be served to the table, such as mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberry sauce. The floral fragrance from this bottle also adds bliss to any occasion.
Chenin Blanc: With a balanced mixture of fruity flavors, a bottle of Chenin Blanc can ensure that your dinner won’t be boring. Its interesting texture pairs nicely with the buttery turkey meat. The subtle notes of Chenin Blanc don’t empower vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, and cabbage.
Gewurztraminer: A bottle of Gewurztraminer can take your meal to a different level, with its spicy and floral essences. It is highly aromatic with notes of nutmeg—which stimulates a festive mood.
Wine For Different Turkey Recipes
Roasted Turkey: Pinot Noir never goes wrong with a classic roasted turkey (with gravy on the side).
Deep Fried Turkey: A smooth, dry Chenin Blanc balances the oily texture of a meat submerged in fat.
Smoked Turkey: Riesling has a low acidity that is suitable for the spiciness of smoked turkey. Plus, its citrusy flavors add layers to your gastronomical experience.
Turkey Sandwich: A light table Pinot Noir can make your sandwich extra fancy.
Best Wines To Serve During Thanksgiving
The most common question we get is what to serve with Thanksgiving. This is the most common time when people are eating turkey and also enjoying wine with family. However, it can be a complex question to answer due to the different side dishes, desserts and flavors that are served with a typical Thanksgiving dinner.
Here is what we recommend serving for each course of the meal.
Wine Before Thanksgiving Dinner
We recommend opening up a bottle of champagne or sparkling wine to drink with appetizers, charcuterie boards and any other snacks before the main meal. This will will pair with the meal and act as an aperitif (helps stimulate your appetite).
Wine With Thanksgiving Dinner
There are three excellent options to drink with your Thanksgiving meal. A nice Rosé, Riesling or Pinot Noir are the best choices here. Most of your guests will like these wines and they are flexible to pair with several different foods that are traditional favorites during Thanksgiving.
Wine With Thanksgiving Dessert
To cap off the meal, choose a nice port. This will be delicious with most desserts you pick you like cheesecake, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie or any other desserts. Fortified ports can be pretty strong in ABV% though, so be careful when enjoying a glass, especially if you have to drive home.
Best Wines to Pair With Turkey
- Pinot Noir
- Beaujolais Nouveau