There’s no way around it: choosing wine to accompany the Thanksgiving meal is a tough task. First off, you have to choose a wine that goes with a wide variety of dishes: something that can stand up to Aunt Mabel’s marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole, but that also doesn’t overwhelm the simple flavors of Grandma’s cornbread stuffing. It also has to be a wine that will keep your palate interested throughout the long meal, without making you long for something different after half a glass. Not to mention: it has to be a crowdpleaser. But don’t panic: our experts here at Vintage Cellars have shared their favorite Turkey Day wine picks. And for that, we give thanks.
Sparkling wine’s acidity and effervescence cuts through fats (of which there are many on the Thanksgiving menu). This refreshes the palate, keeping your taste buds enlivened through the meal (and even a second helping).
You may not want to serve sparkling wines at dinner, but consider starting off your celebration with a glass of wine for everyone. Be sure to choose a Brut (the driest type), and pick something with a clean and light finish.
When choosing white wines for Thanksgiving, go for a bright, lively wine rather than a heavy one like a buttery Chardonnay. If you like fruity wines, choose wines with sharper, tarter flavors like pear and apple, or citrus flavors like grapefruit and lemon, rather than luscious, sweet ones like peach and honeydew.
Wines with highly mineral notes are great for this meal too: Sauvignon blanc is a crisp and pleasantly non-fruity varietal that will taste great from appetizer to pumpkin pie.
It may seem rule-breaking to serve red with turkey breast, but hear us out: the rest of the dishes are so rich that they call for a red to stand up to them. Just don’t go too far: a heavy, rich red can overpower the meal. Instead, choose something with bright fruitiness.
Pinot noir is a great choice for Thanksgiving: look for younger wines (which will be bright rather than smokey), with flavors like strawberry or raspberry. Beaujolais is another winner: light, dry and fresh. Slightly chilled is the proper way to serve it, and also helps further helps enliven those butter-laden mashed potatoes.
Of course, one of the most wonderful things about wine is that you can (and should) drink what you like. If our advice to choose something light and lively rather than heavy and intense sounds, well, boring, trust your gut. If a super-buttery chardonnay or a dark, fruity Cabernet is going to make your guests swoon, then choose that wine to stock your table. After all, Thanksgiving is nothing if not a day of indulgence.