The Best Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner

The Best Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, and a delicious feast. One essential component of a successful Thanksgiving dinner is the wine selection. With a diverse array of flavors and dishes on the table, choosing the right wines can be a delightful yet daunting task. Here is a list of wine recommendations to help you find the perfect match for your Thanksgiving dinner.

In This Article

Key Takeaways

  • Diverse Wine Selection: Thanksgiving calls for a diverse wine selection to match the wide range of flavors on the table.
  • White Wine Choices: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling are excellent white wine options. Chardonnay complements turkey, Sauvignon Blanc is zesty, and Riesling offers a touch of sweetness.
  • Red Wine Options: Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Syrah/Shiraz are versatile red wines for Thanksgiving. Pinot Noir suits various dishes, Zinfandel works with spicier ones, and Syrah/Shiraz is ideal for rich, savory foods.
  • Sparkling Wines: Sparkling wine like Champagne, Prosecco, and Cava adds a celebratory touch. They pair well with appetizers and the entire meal.
  • Dessert Wine Choices: For dessert, consider Late-Harvest Riesling, Muscat, or Port wines. Late-Harvest Rieslings are sweet, Muscat offers rich sweetness, and Port wines are perfect for decadent desserts. Remember to cater to various preferences and seek expert recommendations.

White Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner

Chardonnay:

Chardonnay is a versatile white wine renowned for its rich, buttery notes. It pairs exceptionally well with the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. The wine’s medium to full body and balanced acidity provide a pleasing complement to both white and dark meat.

Look for options like Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay, celebrated for its crisp apple and tropical fruit flavors, Rombauer Chardonnay with its lush and creamy texture, or La Crema Chardonnay, a wine known for its well-rounded character with hints of vanilla and oak.

Sauvignon Blanc:

The Sauvignon Blanc grape offers a zesty and refreshing white wine option for Thanksgiving. Its crisp acidity and bright citrus notes make it an excellent choice for appetizers, salads, and lighter turkey preparations.

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand is a popular selection, featuring vibrant tropical fruit flavors. Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc is another celebrated choice with its signature grassy and herbal undertones, while Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc is known for its lively acidity and citrus zest.

Riesling:

For those who enjoy a slightly sweet wine to balance the richness of the meal, Riesling is an excellent choice. Riesling wines range from bone dry to sweet, and they are incredibly food-friendly.

Dr. Loosen Riesling, a German classic, offers a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity with notes of green apple and mineral. Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling is a well-regarded American Riesling with a touch of sweetness and apricot flavors. For an exceptional Riesling experience, consider Egon Müller Scharzhof Riesling from the Saar region in Germany, known for its elegant and complex profile.

Red Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner

Pinot Noir:

Pinot Noir is a popular choice for Thanksgiving due to its light to medium body and versatility. It pairs well with turkey and a variety of side dishes. The wine’s red fruit flavors, subtle earthiness, and soft tannins make it a harmonious companion to the traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Try Meiomi Pinot Noir, a California blend known for its ripe berry and spice notes. La Crema Pinot Noir offers a luxurious taste with bright red fruit flavors and hints of toasty oak. For a more intense Pinot Noir experience, Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Pinot Noir delivers deep, dark cherry and plum flavors with a silky texture.

Zinfandel:

If your Thanksgiving menu includes spicier or barbecue-inspired dishes, consider Zinfandel. Zinfandel wines are known for their bold, fruity character and peppery spice. They pair wonderfully with smoked or grilled turkey and dishes featuring robust flavors.

Some noteworthy options are Ravenswood Lodi Zinfandel, celebrated for its vibrant blackberry and raspberry notes, Seghesio Family Vineyards Zinfandel with its classic dark fruit and black pepper profile, and Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs Zinfandel, offering a complex blend of red and black fruit flavors with a touch of spice.

Syrah/Shiraz:

For those enjoying dark meat turkey and rich, savory dishes, Syrah or Shiraz offers a fuller-bodied red wine option. Syrah, often referred to as Shiraz in Australia, is known for its intense dark fruit, spice, and smoky characteristics.

Penfolds Shiraz from Australia is a prime example, offering a robust and full-bodied experience with flavors of blackcurrant and spice. If you’re looking for a premium Syrah, Côte Rôtie from the Northern Rhône region in France is an exceptional choice, known for its elegant and complex profile with notes of dark berries, violet, and pepper.

Rosé Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner

Rosé wines can provide a refreshing and versatile choice for Thanksgiving dinner, particularly if your meal includes a wide variety of flavors. These wines range from dry to slightly sweet and exhibit an array of fruit flavors.

Some popular Rosé options include Whispering Angel Rosé, celebrated for its pale pink hue and delicate fruit notes, Miraval Rosé (co-owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie), known for its elegance and balance, and Château d’Esclans “Rock Angel” Rosé, offering a touch of creaminess alongside crisp berry flavors.

Sparkling Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner

Champagne:

For a celebratory touch, Champagne is an excellent choice. Its effervescence and bright acidity make it a perfect companion for a range of appetizers and the entire Thanksgiving meal.

Consider renowned options such as Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label, celebrated for its balance of apple, pear, and brioche notes, Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut, a classic with vibrant citrus and green apple flavors, or Dom Pérignon for a premium Champagne experience, known for its depth and complexity with hints of almond and toasted bread.

Prosecco:

If you prefer a sparkling wine that’s a bit more budget-friendly, Prosecco is a delightful choice. These Italian sparkling wines are lighter in body and offer notes of green apple and pear, making them suitable for pre-dinner toasts and appetizers.

La Marca Prosecco is a widely available option with bright fruit and floral notes, while Mionetto Prosecco Brut is a crisp and refreshing choice with hints of apple and white peach. Zonin Prosecco is another popular option, appreciated for its zesty and aromatic profile.

Cava:

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How to Choose the Right Wine Based on Grape Varieties

Cava is a Spanish sparkling wine that offers a wonderful alternative to Champagne and Prosecco. It shares many characteristics with its more famous counterparts, including the delightful effervescence and refreshing qualities.

Look for well-regarded Cava producers such as Freixenet, Segura Viudas, or Codorníu. These Cava options often feature bright acidity, citrus notes, and a touch of nuttiness, making them a fantastic addition to your Thanksgiving celebration, particularly when paired with appetizers and starters.

Dessert Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner

To cap off your Thanksgiving dinner with a sweet note, you might want to consider dessert wines.

Late-Harvest Riesling:

Late-harvest Rieslings offer a touch of sweetness that pairs beautifully with traditional Thanksgiving desserts like pumpkin or pecan pie. These wines are made from grapes that have been left on the vine to ripen longer, intensifying their sweetness.

Chateau Ste. Michelle Late Harvest Riesling is a fantastic choice, with a luscious honeyed character and apricot notes. Eroica Gold Late Harvest Riesling, a collaboration between Chateau Ste. Michelle and Dr. Loosen, offers a complex, rich experience with flavors of honey, citrus, and spice.

Muscat:

For those who enjoy rich and sweet dessert wines, Muscat or Moscato wines are an excellent option. Osborne Pedro Ximénez Sherry is a sumptuous and dark choice with flavors of fig, raisin, and toffee, offering a delightful pairing for desserts like pecan pie and chocolate.

Port Wine:

For a more substantial dessert wine, consider Port. Port wines are fortified and typically sweeter, making them an excellent choice for rich and decadent desserts.

Taylor Fladgate 10-Year-Old Tawny Port is a well-loved selection with a balanced sweetness and nutty, raisin flavors. It pairs beautifully with desserts like bread pudding and fruit tarts. On the other hand, Dow’s Vintage Port is a premium choice, known for its powerful and concentrated dark fruit flavors. It’s a wine that can age for many years, making it a special addition to your Thanksgiving dessert lineup.

Conclusion

Remember that personal preferences vary, so offering a variety of wines can cater to different tastes. Consult your local wine shop or a sommelier for tailored recommendations.

With the right wine choices, you can elevate your Thanksgiving feast and create a memorable culinary experience. Whether it’s Chardonnay, Zinfandel, or sparkling wine, thoughtful selections can enhance the flavors and make your Thanksgiving dinner truly special. Cheers to a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration!

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