- Buy a red and a white.
- You don’t need to spend big. Spend smart.
- Left-over wine is better than not enough.
- Everything goes with turkey, but the side dishes can be tricky.
- Bubbly is great any time, especially Thanksgiving.
Whether you’re hosting the big day or in charge of bringing the wine, there are delicious wines at all prices to complement the Thanksgiving meal.
Red and white work: If you’re looking for a hard and fast rule, you can’t go wrong with California or Oregon Pinot Noir for red, and Pinot Gris from almost anywhere for white. Thanksgiving is a marathon, not a sprint, so look for lighter-bodied wine with moderate alcohol levels.
A big, rich, red, California Zinfandel is also a great choice. Zins are dark, rich, ripe, spicy, and complement fall flavors. For guests that must have Chardonnay, look for unoaked versions from California, or white Burgundy—the traditional home of French Chardonnay.
Spend smart if you're economizing: Don’t feel like you have to splurge to get a tasty wine. If you’re on a strict budget, visit your neighborhood wine shop. Any specialty wine store worth its salt will have great choices for $10-$12 bottle, sometimes less. This is not the day to bargain hunt at the grocery store. It would be a shame to get stuck with a dud after spending all those hours cooking.
Too much is better than not enough: A standard bottle contains about five glasses of wine. While each crowd is different, Americans drink more wine on Thanksgiving than any other day. If you’re in doubt about how much is enough, definitely round up. Get an extra bottle each of red and white. It won’t go to waste.
Tricky side dishes: Traditional Thanksgiving meals have such variety of flavors and levels of richness. You’ll be hard pressed to find a perfect pairing. It’s unlikely a rich oaky Chardonnay or big Napa Cab will compliment a meal with both sweet potatoes and green bean casserole. Save those wines for another day.
Bubbly is always a great beginning: Prosecco, Cava, Cremant, Champagne, Sparkling wine. All are wines we lovingly group under the term Bubbly. It’s a great way to start any meal—especially Thanksgiving. Cheers!
Here's a list of some of my favorite Thanksgiving-friendly wines that are available locally:
- Angeline Pinot Noir 2010, California $11.99
- Block Nine Pinot Noir 2009, California $12.99
- Aqua Pumkin Pinot Noir 2009, California $19.99
- Highlands Zinfandel 2006, Napa Valley $24.99
- Four Vines Naked Chardonnay 2009, Santa Barbara $11.99
- Eola Hills Pinot Gris 2009, Oregon $13.99
- Wolfberger Pinot Blanc 2010, Alsace $11.99
- Michel Sarrazin Bourgogne Blanc 2010, Burgundy $19.99
- Loredan Gasparini Prosecco NV, Veneto $12.99