Want to know the best wine for Thanksgiving? Choosing the perfect wine for your holiday meal is easy once you consider a few points. First, think about your guests and yourself. If a relative has a favorite bottle of Italian wine, take those personal preferences into account. Second, think about the specific foods you will serve – do you like traditional favorites like turkey or something different? Third, keep your budget in mind. Many affordable wines work well with Thanksgiving.
Turkey Dinner Wine Pairings
Turkey is usually at the center of many thanksgiving meals, so we will start our best wine for thanksgiving guide with this dish. Use the following list to find the right wine pairing as you plan your Turkey dinner. These pairings are suitable for both white meat and dark meat fans.
The two most popular white wines for a turkey dinner are Chardonnay and Riesling. There is such a wide variety of these varieties at the wine shop that you can find a few types. For example, the wine lovers in your family might appreciate having a bottle of French Chardonnay and a German Riesling. Variety makes life more interesting!
White Wines To Enjoy With Turkey Dinner
Chardonnay: The Best Wine For Thanksgiving For Wine Lovers?
Chardonnay has the body and depth to keep up with multiple rich dishes at the dinner table. That is why it is a favorite of wine lovers at Thanksgiving. You’ll find a budget and a high-end option below.
Barefoot Chardonnay (USA)
Looking for affordable wines to go with dinner? Barefoot Chardonnay is a good pick. According to Vivino, it usually sells for less than $10 in the US.
J. Moreau & Fils – Chablis Grand Cru ‘Valmur’ (France)
Are you looking to impress the wine lovers at the holiday table? Why not pick up a nice bottle of French Chardonnay. The wine received a 92 score from Wine Spectator for the 2016 vintage. Take your time with this wine because it typically sells for $80 to $100 per bottle.
Riesling: An Excellent Choice For Lighter Wines
The Thanksgiving dinner table is typically served with rich dishes. That’s why it is wise to have a lighter wine available. Riesling wine from Ontario is a great choice. Riesling from the Finger Lake region of New York is also excellent if you prefer American wine.
The Grange of Prince Edward County Riesling Trumpour’s Mill (Canada)
This Riesling wine from Ontario, Canada, has received praise from Natalie MacLean, a leading wine expert in Canada. According to the Grange Winery, the wine is currently sold for $29 Canadian ($23 US). My research suggests finding this wine in the US and other countries may be challenging.
Carl Loewen Alte Reben Riesling Trocken (Germany)
In the world of white wines, Germany is one of the best producers of Riesling wine. Wine lovers have commented that this dry wine has solid acidity and honey notes. This bottle is also a great pick in terms of affordable wines – a bottle usually sells for less than $20.
The best wine for Thanksgiving includes red wines like Pinot Noir and Beaujolais Nouveau. Every year, there are new Beaujolais Nouveau released from France in the fall. In addition, many people enjoy Zinfandel wine with Thanksgiving.
Red Wines To Enjoy With Turkey Dinner
Pinot Noir: A Classic Medium Body Wine For Thanksgiving
Available in medium body and light body varieties, Pinot Noir, goes well with the flavors of turkey. By the way, Pinot Noir is the favorite wine of Paul Giamatti’s character in the classic wine movie Sideways. To find out more about Sideways and other novels, check out my guide to wine fiction.
For red wine lovers, Pinot Noir is considered the perfect pairing for various foods at Thanksgiving. Look to the Pacific Northwest wine region (i.e. Oregon and Washington State) for a bottle of American wine.
Ponzi Vineyards Reserve Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA)
This wine has earned a critic score of 94 out of 100, according to Wine Searcher. This delicious wine typically sells for $50 to $60. If you already love Pinot Noir, Thanksgiving is a perfect opportunity to pick up a higher-end bottle of wine like this one. The winery also offers half bottles of their Wine for $25 – a good option if you only have one Pinot Noir lover at your holiday table.
If you don’t find the above bottle, check out the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir section of your local wine shop for more ideas.
Domaine Machard de Gramont Clos Blanc (Burgundy, France)
Burgundy is one of the world’s greatest wine regions for Pinot Noir. Alas, that reputation for delicious wine often translates into high prices – $100 or even $1000 are expected. Fortunately, this bottle of Burgundy is relatively affordable – it sells for $69, according to Wine Searcher. That is a bargain for a premier cru wine!
For an all-American experience, Zinfandel is a great choice. American wine producers produce almost all of the world’s Zinfandel. Not sure what Zinfandel tastes like? You could ask the wine lovers in your family or read this Zinfandel vs Merlot comparison.
Historically, new bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau are released on the third Thursday of November (i.e., the annual release). Most wine is aged for months or years. Beaujolais Nouveau is different – it is made to be enjoyed a few months after being bottled.
What About The Other Dinner Fixings?
Choosing the best wine for Thanksgiving goes far beyond turkey. There are plenty of dinner fixings or side dishes to think about—for example, classic dishes like mashed potatoes, rolls, Brussel sprouts, and cranberry sauce.
Use the following selection of wines to delight the wine lovers at your table.
Wine Pairing For Mashed Potatoes
A Burgundy Chardonnay is the perfect grape variety to enjoy with mashed potatoes. Fortunately, Chardonnay also goes well with Turkey dinner in most cases.
Wine Pairing For Cranberry Sauce
No list of favorite dishes at Thanksgiving would be complete with cranberry sauce. Unlike preparing Turkey dinner, cranberry sauce is relatively simple to prepare. If somebody at the holiday table is a big cranberry sauce fan, consider offering them a bottle of Sangiovese or a Beaujolais. You need a wine with bright acidity to keep up with this dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since Thanksgiving is the biggest food holiday for many people, you might still have some questions as you shop for the best wine for Thanksgiving. Let’s look at three common questions.
What wine is good with turkey and ham?
For turkey – try a bottle of Chardonnay or Riesling
For ham – it depends on how you prepare it. To help you choose the right wine, check out my guide on wine that pairs with ham.
Is Cabernet Sauvignon good with turkey?
Traditionally, Cabernet Sauvignon is not recommended. Instead, most wine experts will tell you to try a bottle of Pinot Noir. That said, your personal preferences matter! If you love Cabernet Sauvignon, then have it at your dinner table!
What wines go well with apple pie?
Apple pie is a traditional dessert commonly enjoyed at Thanksgiving. Nothing says the fall is here like the autumn spices and apple flavors you find in apple pies. Unlike turkey and ham, apple pie has very different flavors. Therefore, it is best to try a different wine pairing.
A tawny port is an excellent choice for a sweet wine to have with your apple pie. Unfamiliar with tawny port? Click here to find out: What Is Tawny Port? Alternatively, pick up a bottle of light wine like Moscato d’Asti from Italy.