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November 13, 2023 2 min read

 Thanksgiving menus change from family to family and even within families -- I reach for dark meat, green bean casserole and jellied cranberry while Marshall goes all in on the mashed potatoes swimming in gravy. 

While the turkey takes center stage on the dining table, choosing the right wine to complement its flavors can elevate the entire dining experience.

Traditional Roast Turkey with Chardonnay:

  • Wine Choice: A full-bodied Chardonnay
  • Why: The richness of a traditional roast turkey pairs exceptionally well with the buttery notes and acidity of a well-balanced Chardonnay.

Smoked Turkey with Zinfandel:

  • Wine Choice: A bold and spicy Zinfandel
  • Why: The smoky nuances of a smoked turkey call for a wine with enough character to stand up to the robust flavors.

Deep-Fried Turkey with Sparkling Wine:

  • Wine Choice: A dry sparkling wine or Champagne
  • Why: The crispy and golden exterior of a deep-fried turkey deserves a wine that can cut through the richness. A sparkling wine's effervescence and acidity provide a refreshing contrast, creating a delightful balance that enhances the overall dining experience.

As the Thanksgiving feast unfolds, the spotlight often shines on the turkey, but let's not forget the delightful array of side dishes and choosing a wine that compliments the meal's supporting actors. 

Stuffing/Dressing and Merlot:

  • Wine Choice: Medium-bodied, velvety Merlot
  • Why It Works: Whether your stuffing is traditional, cornbread-based, or includes a variety of herbs, Merlot's velvety texture and ripe fruit flavors make it a versatile companion. The wine's soft tannins complement the savory notes of the stuffing, creating a comforting and well-rounded pairing.

Green Bean Casserole and Pinot Grigio:

  • Wine Choice: Light, crisp  Pinot Grigio
  • Why It Works: Pinot Grigio's light and refreshing characteristics can complement the green beans in the casserole without overpowering the dish. The subtle citrus fruitiness of the wine can add a touch of brightness to each bite.

Sweet Potato Casserole and Riesling:

  • Wine Choice: Off-dry Riesling
  • Why It Works: The sweetness of a classic sweet potato casserole with marshmallow topping is beautifully balanced by the slight sweetness of an off-dry Riesling. The wine's acidity cuts through the richness, while its fruity notes enhance the sweet and savory elements of the dish.

If your family is anything like mine, we make room for dessert no matter how much we've eaten. From traditional pumpkin pies to decadent pecan tarts, the array of Thanksgiving desserts beckons for the perfect wine pairing to enhance the sweet symphony of flavors.

Pumpkin Pie and Riesling:

  • Wine Choice: Off-dry Riesling
  • Why It Works: The subtle sweetness and crisp acidity of an off-dry Riesling beautifully complement the spiced and creamy texture of pumpkin pie.

Cranberry Sauce and Pinot Noir:

  • Wine Choice: Light to medium-bodied Pinot Noir
  • Why It Works: The sweet and tart profile of cranberry sauce pairs beautifully with the red fruit flavors of a Pinot Noir.

Pecan Pie and Tawny Port:

  • Wine Choice: Tawny Port
  • Why It Works: The rich, nutty goodness of pecan pie finds a perfect match in the caramel and dried fruit notes of Tawny Port.

If you made it his far, thank you and have a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Let me know via Facebook or Instagram or email what your favorite wine was on Thanksgiving.