What's the best Thanksgiving wine?
Learn about the best Thanksgiving wine for the best meal of the year.
November 11, 2021
The perfect Thanksgiving wines can be a tall task. A lot of it is personal preference - you don't want to serve wine if you know that your guests are all not fans. Another factor is food pairings. With so many dishes and family recipes - which wines are up to the challenge of being THE Thanksgiving wines? We have some ideas.
Red wine: light body, low tannin
The key to having a wine that goes with your whole Thanksgiving dinner is keeping it light bodied. Reds for Thanksgiving should have lower tannin levels to support a diverse range of foods. Anything tannin heavy won't pair well with a whole bunch of food options. So leave the cabernet sauvignon for later, unless you have a guest list full of cab sauv lovers. Red wines like pinot noir, beaujolais, syrah or zinfandel are perfect options for a red that will taste great with anything from turkey to stuffing.
A very traditional pairing for Thanksgiving dinner, pinot noir is a classic. Primary flavors of pinot noir are cherry, raspberry and clove. The taste profile of pinot noir is usually dry, medium bodied and with low tannins - making it a perfect pair for Thanksgiving.
Beaujolais is a high acidity, low tannin wine with a fruity flavor profile - this wine is one of the few that can really run the gamut of food pairings.
This is a unique, peppery wine that is perfect for meat focused dishes. Its spicy notes are also great for stuffing as well as meat like turkey.
Red zinfandel is a fuller bodied red but still manages to balance with many Thanksgiving side dishes. It's a great option for those who prefer a more intense red wine over a lighter bodied option.
White wine: balanced body and acidity
Similar to red wines, keeping things lighter is how you pair a white wine with your whole Thanksgiving dinner. We love chardonnay as much as anybody, but the oakiness or butteriness of chard doesn't work with every single food at the table. Try something with more of an apple backbone like riesling and chenin blanc, or citrusy sauvignon blanc and pinot grigio. These will be balanced on the palate while bringing out the best of all of the foods at the table.
With a spectrum from bone dry to a bit sweet, this wine can pair with flavors from salty to spice. Riesling's flavor profile of apple, apricot and honey, combined with its balanced acidity are basically the perfect pair for dishes like turkey (so, Thanksgiving) and sweet potatoes.
Chenin blanc is a versatile wine which makes it perfect for a dinner with a variety of flavors. It has a flavor profile with notes of apple, pear and peach. It's also that type of wine that can give a little something to even the driest of turkeys, while also somehow magically pairing with that cranberry sauce. Talk about a winner.
Sauvignon blanc is known for its citrus flavor. That crisp backbone makes it perfect for foods like mashed potatoes and turkey.
A balanced white wine that is known for pairing with most foods is a natural pair for a dinner featuring multiple dishes. It's balanced and was basically born for the demands required of a wine on Thanksgiving day.
Sparkling wine pairings
Probably the most festive and let's face it, the most gram worthy, is sparkling wine. While the festivities and photogenics are a huge part of the allure here, Champagne and sparkling wine are actually your one stop shop in Thanksgiving pairings as well. From turkey to turnips and even stuffing, it's a match. It's elegant and a perfect food pairing thanks to its versatility. They have a good level of acidity which is perfect for Thanksgiving dishes as well. Throw some cranberries in your glass and you've reached the perfect holiday aesthetic, too. So while it may be the best look for your table, it actually may be the best for the dinner portion too.
There you have it folks, a bit of advice from us to you on Thanksgiving wine. Do yourself a favor, and get your picks delivered with a little help from Drizly.