Try a Different Wine this Year with Your Turkey

As American's approach Thanksgiving, we have our traditions. And, tradition often dictates what wines will be served with our Thanksgiving meal.  

Conventional wisdom says that with the traditional turkey you must serve a white wine.  And white wines do go well with turkey.  Traditional white wine choices include:

  • Gewürztraminer - One of the Thanksgiving favorites. This is a highly aromatic wine with floral touches and spice notes such as cloves and nutmeg.
  • Riesling - This has spicy, fruity flavors with touches of peaches or apricots and a floral fragrance that compliments the meal well.
  • Sauvignon Blanc - Light and crisp, with grassy or herbaceous flavors and higher acidity.  This wine goes well with all the rich foods on the table.
  • Pinot Grigio - Light and zesty with flavors of lemon, melon and peach.
  • Chardonnay - A common choice, but best to go with the lighter and fruiter un-oaked versions that work best with all the flavors on the Thanksgiving table.

And, rosé and sparkling wines are also natural pairings with turkey. 

But turkey, by itself, is a pretty neutral meat.  And therefore, you can pair your wines just as easily with all the fixings that go along with the turkey. And red wines will often work exceptionally well with your meal.  Just as cranberry sauce goes on the table, a nice fruity red wine is a great choice:

  • Beaujolais - Light, dry and fresh with fruity flavors. And you can serve it slightly chilled.
  • Pinot Noir - Another lighter red with flavors of cherry, raspberry and strawberry. If you are in the French wine isle, this is called a red Burgundy. And this too can be served slightly chilled.
  • Carignan - This red wine is a bit higher in tannins and acid, with flavors of dark and black fruits, pepper, licorice, and spicy, savory aromas.
  • Rhône Blends - Rhône wines focus on Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes, producing medium-bodied spicy blends.
  • Zinfandel - Here's a red wine that can really work with a Thanksgiving meal. Lots of intense, plummy, jammy flavors with spicy or peppery notes.

One note with the red wines, avoid the dry and tannic ones (e.g., Cabernet Sauvignon) which can get lost in the presence of all the fruit, sugar, and salt on the Thanksgiving table.

So this year try at least one non-traditional wine with your Thanksgiving meal. But, most importantly, drink what you enjoy most!  Cheers!