The Best Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner – A Guide
There’s nothing like Thanksgiving. It might be the biggest feast of the entire year. There are all different kinds of entrees, side dishes, and desserts, and you know you can’t stop at just one helping. For wine lovers, it may have us stumped as to how to pick the best wines for Thanksgiving dinner when there’s just so much happening going on your plate.
Fortunately, the diversity of dishes means there’s an opportunity to have more than just one Thanksgiving wine pairing. This means more wine to drink, share, and, most importantly, please everyone at the table.
We’re breaking it all down easy peasy for you, by each wine type. This way, you can make sure you pick something that will make every Thanksgiving dinner guest happy.
Let’s Begin the Guide to The Best Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner!
Thanksgiving White Wines
Hands down the most versatile Thanksgiving white wine is riesling. First of all, Riesling is delicious. Second, it comes in both dry and sweet styles, making it adaptable to various dishes and palates.
What Riesling really brings to the Thanksgiving table is acidity. Riesling’s high level of acidity can complement and cut through any delectably rich dish. Mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, stuffing – you name it and Riesling can handle it. Plus, the apple and honey flavors Riesling boasts make it a natural pairing for Fall foods.
If Riesling isn’t your thing, you can also go for Sauvignon Blanc. This French varietal offers just as brilliant acidity as Riesling, helping you stay refreshed between your plates of food. Sauvignon Blanc also comes in a couple of different styles. You can opt for a green and citrusy Sancerre or a tropical fruit-forward New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. The choice is up to you!
Thanksgiving Red Wines
Let’s talk reds. Even though Thanksgiving is more of a heavier meal, the food you’re eating actually isn’t a fan of big and bold reds. Why? Well, full-bodied red wines will overpower most dishes on the Thanksgiving table. If we were eating giant steaks instead of turkey then it would be a whole other story. No one is stopping you from changing the traditions…
It is turkey day, nevertheless. That means turkey and all the fixings that pair with it are the stars of the Day. And, these dishes need a wine that has just enough fruit, acidity, and finesse that will match all of their delicious flavors.
To keep everything complimentary, Pinot Noir is a top pick. This wine is not only super elegant – it also offers a similar flavor profile to your Thanksgiving feast. Pinot Noir has concentrated red fruit that’s often just a little tart just like the cranberries in your Brussel sprouts. Pinot also has an herbaceous quality to it, that pairs super well with turkey too.
Another awesome red wine for Thanksgiving dinner is Beaujolais or a Gamay-based wine. It has similar elements to Pinot Noir, in its fruit, bright acidity, and floralness. If going for a Beaujolais, try to find one that extends more earthy qualities than bubble-gum flavors.
As for those big wine drinkers, you don’t have to renounce your full-bodied reds completely for Thanksgiving dinner. There is larger-bodied wine that can play a role during this mega feast. Zinfindel keeps up with all theh food festivities. That’s because Zin doesn’t have crazy tannins and overwhelming spice notes like other full-bodied wines may have. Rather, Zin hhas rich fruit and spice notes that make quite the delicious combo with turkey, cranberry sauce, and gravy.
You Can’t Forget About Dessert Wines!
What’s Thanksgiving without dessert, really? To close out Thanksgiving on a perfectly sweet note, you have to pair your pie (or any of your favorite desserts) with an awesome dessert wine.
When it comes to the classic pumpkin or apple pie, you can’t go wrong with a Pedro Ximenez sherry. This fortified wine’s rich flavors almost remind you of molasses, with its sugar, spice, and everything nice kind of flavors. This makes it a spectacular complement to the sweet baking spices you find in both pies.
For other desserts, you can’t go wrong with port or even a late harvest Riesling. Ruby port is the go-to for chocolate lovers. This fortified wine has all those raspberry and cherry fruit flavors that just adore chocolate. For something like carrot cake or hummingbird cake, late harvest Riesling is a no-brainer pick. It offers all the honey, dried fruit qualities that pair just right with a fluffy cake with cream cheese icing.
And, If All Else Fails – Everything Tastes Great with Champagne!
Seriously, if you feel overwhelmed picking the best wines for Thanksgiving dinner, just drink Champagne. Or a great bottle of bubbles. Dry sparkling wine is a fan of so many dishes, including all the things you’ll find on your Thanksgiving table. Champagne specifically has the acidity and freshness to keep up with anything from baked brie to mashed potatoes. Also, it is hard to disappoint anyone with a bottle of bubbles. Who doesn’t love Champagne? We think it might be impossible.
Solving the wine situation for Thanksgiving doesn’t need to be stressful. With these tips, you’ll be as good as gold on turkey day, whether you’re the guest or the host.
If you’re looking to have your ‘own wine’ this holiday season, Domenico Winery offers customized wine labels, letting you add a personal touch to your holiday gifts. You can discover all the options here!