6 Wines for Your Thanksgiving Table
Thanksgiving is a versatile meal that calls for a wide selection of wines on the table. You may be surprised at how many different styles and varieties pair well with Thanksgiving dishes. There are plenty of wines from which to choose, but here I’ve narrowed it down to a brief list of some of my favorites. I’ve included light and fresh styles, as well as richer and more textured styles. You will be delighted by how well each style can be paired alongside your Thanksgiving feast. Enjoy!
1. Champagne/Sparkling: Not only does Champagne or sparkling wine from around the world act as a wonderful aperitif, but it also tends to go quite well with hors d'oeuvres. Say you’ve got a tasty charcuterie board for your guests to enjoy while visiting with each other before dinner—Champagne or sparkling wine is an excellent accompaniment! Plus, it’s always fun to begin a festive celebration with a glass of bubbles. And if you’re an avid bubbles lover, there’s no reason you can enjoy a glass (or several!) with your dinner.
2. Chardonnay: This is a classic choice for those who’ve chosen to cook up the turkey in a bath of lemon, butter and herbs. Pick a richer-styled Chardonnay to hold up to that kind of turkey preparation. Go New World Chardonnay or Burgundy Meursault. You’ll love the way the textures play together and the way the gentle acidity of the Chardonnay brightens the tasting experience.
3. Albariño: I must admit that Albariño from Rias Baixas on Spain’s northwest coast is one of my all-time favorite white wines, because it has that texture and mouthfeel that I expect from a well-made white. The coastal influence on Albariño vines in Rias Baixas gives these wines a salty minerality that I just love, and while the acidity is bright, these wines never lack texture. I love the way these characteristics complement the many textures on a Thanksgiving plate.
4. Pinot Noir: Pinot Noir is a great choice because of its delicate demeanor, and is often a go-to red for pairing with white meats like turkey. You’ll find that Pinot Noir will taste delicious with a bite of turkey slathered in homemade, tart cranberry sauce (steer clear of that in-the-can sugary cranberry sauce, though). And if you’ve got stuffing with nuts or dried cranberries, Pinot Noir was made for that. This is a fun choice, too, because you can choose domestic bottles from the likes of Sonoma County or veer abroad and pick from the bountiful styles of Burgundy.
5. Nebbiolo: If you like Pinot Noir but are looking for something a bit more earthy, go with the Italian Nebbiolo grape from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy. Nebbiolo often needs some ageing, so you’d be smart to buy an older vintage, and you’ll love its soft texture, playful mountainous acidity and earthy, red-fruited profile. In Piedmont, Barolo and Barbaresco offer two very different, but equally incredible expressions of this native Italian grape. Barolo is the earthier, more ‘masculine’ of the two, while Barbaresco is seen as the more feminine, delicate counterpart. Both will be a hit at your Thanksgiving feast.
6. Bordeaux: Now, I know what you’re thinking—Bordeaux is a red meat kind of wine. And while I don't dispute that, you’d be surprised at how Thanksgiving friendly it is, too. I urge you to splurge and go for an aged Bordeaux. With age, the tannins and fruit become soft and supple, making for a more food-friendly experience. Aged Bordeaux also often possesses a minerality that works well with the autumnal flavors of Thanksgiving. And because they are made in a cooler climate with lower alcohol content than their New World single varietal counterparts, they are a bit more restrained and thus won’t overpower the turkey the way a New World Cabernet Sauvignon might.
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