Your Thanksgiving Wine Pairing Guide
Somehow it’s the middle of November which means it’s almost time for Thanksgiving! If Thanksgiving isn’t your holiday, it should be.
The spirit of Thanksgiving combines all of the best things: the people you love, with a crazy amount of food, football, pie, and especially in our house, wine! There are so many different things on the dinner table that it can be a little overwhelming to choose a wine to bring but have no fear, we’re here to help.
There are a couple ways to go about selecting a wine for this decadent holiday: You can pick a dessert wine to be safe, or you can try to pair with a particular food item that will be on the table. We’ll cover both.
Turkey and Mashed Potatoes: This is probably the easiest thing on the table to pair with as it’s the most straightforward- just think about what you’d eat with chicken! It’s poultry and herbs so that leads us to Sauvignon Blanc! The rule is almost always to pair white wine with poultry, and while you could easily pick up a Chardonnay, they can almost be too heavy to go with this meal. If it was just the turkey and not a million sides, an oaky Chardonnay would be your way to go. In this case, you want the refreshing quality and acidic citrus of the Sauvignon Blanc to cut through the delicious buttery flavor of the mashed potatoes.
Stuffing and Vegetables: Aka basically just onions and garlic. This is when a red wine would be handy, particularly a Zinfandel. You want something that can not only hold up to the strong aromatics of your stuffing and (probably) green beans, especially if you’ve made a casserole. It’s a bit of a lighter red so it won’t overpower those flavors but the slightly sweet, fruity quality will also help them not overpower you. Red Zinfandels tend to have a bit of an herbaceous quality about them as well, so they’ll balance out beautifully even with the turkey.
The random sides that have become the tradition in your family: Every family celebrates Thanksgiving differently with their own take on the traditional sides, and maybe even some new ones that no one else has heard of. If you’re attending a dinner where you have no idea what’s on the table, or you just want something to help you get a nice heated family conversation, look to a dry Rosé. No, it’s not summer but Rosé is one of those wines that goes with virtually anything. A dry one will pair perfectly with the turkey, and the fruity quality will make it a perfect match with whatever else is on the table. Make sure to avoid the sweet ones!
Cranberry Sauce and Dessert: Your first inclination when pairing with cranberries may be to look for a bold, fruity red (which is totally okay) but if you want to keep things light, try a Riesling. This classic white is known for its innately fruity quality, usually made of apples and citrus, and even pears sometimes, but it’s also light and refreshing and perfect for cranberry sauce. Plus, those pumpkin pies, while totally delicious, can be very sweet and sometimes heavy, and the Riesling will act as a lovely pick-me-up.
The entire table: You can’t really go wrong with a Pinot Noir when you’re looking for something delicious and bold to go well with fruit flavors, especially on Thanksgiving. To ensure that you’re not stepping on any dessert toes, the Pinot will be your best choice. It’s a classic, most people are drawn to it, and the smoky quality will be a perfect finish to the heavy meal. There really isn’t much a Pinot Noir doesn’t go with!
We hope this takes the stress out of choosing your Thanksgiving wines, and we wish you all a wonderful holiday!