Pairing wine with food on Thanksgiving can be tricky because it’s not just about the turkey — everyone’s plates are packed full of sides with all different flavors and tastes! So, rather than trying to match wines to individual flavors or dishes, go for wines that complement a range of foods and will cover the entire meal.
Light-bodied red wines without a lot of oak are a great option. They will present enough fruit and acid to complement, but not overshadow, a range of dishes and flavors. French Gamay, especially Cru Beaujolais, is popular for Thanksgiving.
Zinfandel is a classicThanksgiving wine choice given that it was once the most planted variety in California. American Zins will provide concentrated fruit and will amplify the flavors of Thanksgiving spices such as clove, cinnamon, and allspice.
Syrah (or Shiraz, in Australia) can bring a spicy edge or a meaty character to the table. It pairs well with turkey, often increases the complexity while handling the wealth of flavors in a Thanksgiving meal.
Pinot Noir, especially earthier, delicate Pinots like those from Oregon, is another great choice. It pairs well with food and has classic fall flavors such as cranberry, cherry, dried leaves, and spices.
White wines with a little sharpness and green notes are also good pairings with a broad range of foods. Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling are two excellent options that are fresh and have enough acid to pair well. Albariño is another one that is lesser-known but fits the description, and I find is always a crowdpleaser!
Two favorite varietals are missing from this list: Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. This is because their fuller-bodied, bold and typically oaky notes are better suited to the heavier roasted red meats of December’s holidays. If you love them, then I always say drink what you love! But a few other recommendations are below.
All wines I’m sharing are at or under $50. These are linked to wine.com, but most should be fairly widely available.
Zinfandel from Sonoma County
This has been one of my favorite Zins to drink all fall! A delicious bottle.
Zinfandel from Sonoma County
Ridge is a great producer of classic California Zinfandel – there are many different Zins produced by Ridge, so taste and see what you love.
Syrah from Santa Barbara, CA
A bit lesser known, but Santa Barbara makes some great Syrahs. Stolpman is one of my favorite producers.
Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia
Mollydooker makes crowd-pleasing wines, one of which is this Blue Eyed Boy. It embodies big, bold Australian Shiraz.
Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon
Willamette Pinot will definitely be on my Thanksgiving table! This is a bottle I’ve tried and enjoyed prior.
Pinot Noir from Russian River, Sonoma
I have been drinking this Sonoma Pinot lately, and everywhere I share it, it’s a hit. Try a bottle of this if you are a Pinot fan!
Albariño from Rias Baixas, Spain
A favorite varietal to introduce to others! If you haven’t had it, most people usually find it a refreshing alternative to whites like Viognier or Sauvignon Blanc.
Beaujolais from Burgundy, France
Beaujolais is the wine of the season — a perfect starter to the meal, moving onto the fuller reds as you go.
Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, Loire, France
A crisp white from Sancerre by a strong producer is another refreshing way to start the day.
Dry Riesling from Pfalz, Germany
Riesling is one of the friendliest food wines — it is versatile and pairs well with almost any type of food. Thanksgiving is its time to shine!