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Thanksgiving Wine and Food Pairing Guide


With Thanksgiving almost here, it’s time to talk about pairing your bird with your beverage. Wine pairing with roast turkey can be a confusing thought. On one hand, it’s a white meat, which means white wine with turkey should be the obvious choice. But, on the other hand, roast turkey is a robustly flavored dish, meaning that red wine with turkey could be absolutely delightful.

Photo credit: http://whitneybond.com/cranberry-apple-sangria-recipe/

The simple truth is, Thanksgiving in the USA is a feast. It’s a celebration rich with overindulgence in food – just think about the fabled “Turkey Coma” that accompanies your meal! This means that there is quite possibly an ideal food on your table for each type of wine in the cellar. So, which to pick? Why choose? Here are our best Thanksgiving wine pairing tips.


What Kind of Wine Goes with Turkey

Does Pinot Grigio go with turkey? How about Chardonnay? Maybe even a Pinot Noir? Yes. All three wines are a great choice for your table. While whites will pair with a little less effort, even a softer red, like Pinot Noir, can bring out the flavors of your turkey beautifully. So, instead of choosing just one wine for the whole meal, may we suggest different wines for each course of your feast?


White Wines

If your mashed potatoes are the centerpiece of your feast, look no further than a lovely, oaked Chardonnay to compliment those spuds. The buttery finish of these wines balance perfectly and create a smooth effect. Other whites that we love include Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling. The fact that whites are generally lighter in flavor and are best served chilled also helps to keep the palate cleansed and fresh throughout the meal.


Red Wines

The trick to red wines is to think low tannins. Tannins, a compound characterized by leaving the mouth feeling dry, are less desirable during a feast when your guests are seeking hydration and moisture in the mouth between bites. As such, you may want to avoid Cabernets and Syrah– both noted for their high tannin levels. Instead, aim for a soft Pinot Noir or Zinfandel.


Sparkling Wines

The obvious choice may be dessert, but think outside of the bottle with this one! The delicate bubbles and sweetness of most sparkling wines actually make it a surprise match for your tart cranberry relish as well as your delicately flavored stuffing. You may find, though, that if you kick your meal off with a “pop,” you aren’t willing to stray. This is fine, as sparkling wines, especially those with a bit of sweetness to them, will pair well with almost every dish in your Thanksgiving spread.

If you are hosting the annual festivities, you may find the kindest thing to offer is a variety of wine options. A dry white, a semi sweet white, a safe (non-tannic) red, and a sweeter bubbly are your best bets. It is more important to offer wines that your guests will enjoy than it is to offer the “right” wine, and remembering this is key to success as a hostess. Headed to a party at someone else’s house? In that case, you can choose to bring a bottle of anything you like, so long as you’re prepared to share.

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