What Wine Goes Best with a Traditional Thanksgiving Meal?

If you are serving the traditional turkey dinner  this Thanksgiving, you might think that serving a white wine is the right thing to do. While Most white wines do go well with turkey, there are plenty of other options. 

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 (Pinot Gris) - Light and zesty with flavors of lemon, melon and peach.
  • Chardonnay - A common choice, but it's best to go with the lighter and fruiter un-oaked versions that work best with all the flavors on the Thanksgiving table.

Also, don't forget that sparkling wines go well with almost any meal and are a natural pairing with turkey. And, a dry rosé will work quite nicely with your turkey meal as well.

But turkey, by itself, is a pretty neutral meat.  And therefore, you should actually focus on pairing your wines with all the fixings that go along with the turkey. It may be a bit surprising, but a red wine will often work exceptionally well with your meal.  Just as cranberry sauce goes well with the turkey, a fruity red wine is also a great choice.

Some red wine options include:

  • Beaujolais - Light, dry and fresh with fruity flavors. And you can serve it chilled.
  • Pinot Noir - A light bodied red with flavors of cherry, raspberry and strawberry. In the French wine section at your store, 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, and has 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 blends.
  • Zinfandel - This medium bodied red wine can really work with a Thanksgiving meal. It has characteristics that include plummy, jammy flavors with spicy or peppery notes.

Avoid the dry and highly tannic red wines (e.g., Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah) which can get lost in the presence of all the fruit, sugar, and salt on the Thanksgiving table.

But, as always, ensure that you drink what you like. That's most important. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. Cheers!