Your Ultimate Guide to Thanksgiving Day Wine Pairings
Our in-house Somm Team always believes in drinking what you love, though there are certainly a few grape varieties / styles of wine that promise to shine a bit brighter alongside Thanksgiving Day fare. Not sure where to begin? Check out our team’s six recommendations below (and be sure to stock up on our sommelier-curated selection of Thanksgiving Day bottles via the links below!)
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – when it comes to finding wine to pair with food, sparkling wine is hands-down the most versatile option out there. The texture, acidity, and absence of tannins found in bubbles pair with basically every dish out there, both white and rosé bottles included. However, the key to sparkling wine’s immense food pairing success is its ample amount of natural acidity, which cuts through fat, complements salt, and refreshes the palate with every sip. Serve pre-dinner to stimulate your guests’ appetite, drink throughout the meal, or both – you really can’t go wrong here.
Contrary to popular belief, not all Riesling is sweet—though both dry and off-dry expressions belong on your Thanksgiving table. Here’s why. Similar to bubbles, the high levels of natural acidity found in Riesling are ideal for simultaneously cutting through fat and quenching thirst, and when a little bit of residual sugar is in there, the food pairings go even further. Pair bone dry expressions with stuffing and savory sides, then serve your off-dry expressions with a variety of fruit-based desserts.
When in doubt, Pinot Noir it out (especially for fall-focused food and wine pairings). The high acidity, low tannins, and savory, earth-driven nature of Pinot Noir are delightful with dark meat, roasted root veggies, carrots, and all things butternut squash. Pro tip: For more structured and savory expressions look to Old World examples from Burgundy; for juicier, more fruit-forward bottles, check out expressions from California or New Zealand. We also recommend serving Pinot Noir—and all Thanksgiving Day reds—slightly chilled for an extra refreshing, palate-cleansing hit.
When it comes to the Thanksgiving Day table, you really can’t go wrong with a bottle of Chardonnay. The acid-forward, slightly rich nature of these wines bring a variety of the holiday’s signature flavors to life – especially recipes with copious amounts of butter. Sip your Chard with mashed potatoes, stuffing, or roast turkey for an out-of-this-world pairing. While White Burgundy is always a go-to choice for our in-house Somm Team, reaching for a domestic expression also works here.
In the world of food and red wine pairing, Gamay is the grape that keeps on giving. High in acidity, low in tannins, and bursting with fruit-forward flavors, these light-on-their-feet wines are simply delightful with a variety of Thanksgiving Day favorites, especially turkey, mushrooms, root vegetables, and cranberry sauce. Best of all, the floral, savory undertones in the wine are perfect for matching with a variety of “hard-to-pair” vegetables, including the holiday’s green bean casserole.
Although often overlooked, dessert wine and sweet treats offer some of the most exquisite food and wine pairings out there. When pairing wine with dessert, the general rule of thumb is that the pour in your glass should always be slightly sweeter than the serving on the plate. For our in-house Somm Team, luscious dessert wines from Bordeaux (Sauternes, Barsac) and semi-sweet Rieslings make for some of the most opulent Thanksgiving Day dessert pairings, especially when sipped alongside pumpkin pie, apple crumble, and other seasonal delights. No matter what your preference is, don’t skip the sweet wine!
From our Wired for Wine family to yours, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season ahead!