More wine is purchased by Americans for Thanksgiving dinner than for any other holiday. The challenge lies in selecting wines that pair well with the many conflicting flavors served at the Thanksgiving table.
What pleases diners with various tastes is to have a selection of both red and white bottles on the table, with corresponding glasses. This allows your guests to decide what works for them and to switch back and forth between wines and food.
Pouring American wines always seems like the right thing to do for this all-American holiday, and this year, featuring and supporting Napa and Sonoma wineries following the devastation caused by the recent fires in that region feels right.
Here are some favorite Thanksgiving wine varietals and some suggestions at various price points.
Sparkling Wines for Thanksgiving
Sparkling wine is a great choice for Thanksgiving as it’s a perfect aperitif to set a festive atmosphere as guests arrive but it also holds up to food remarkably well throughout the dinner.
Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs, NV – $22
Schramsberg Mirabelle – $28
2012 Domaine Carneros Estate Brut Cuvée – $35
J Vineyards Brut Rosé – $45
Best Thanksgiving Whites
Riesling, a top pick for Thanksgiving dinner, has apple and honey flavors and great acidity making it an outstanding pairing for both white- and dark-meat turkey and for the bold flavors of candied sweet potatoes and spiced stuffing.
2014 Scribe Winery Riesling – $24
2014 Smith-Madrone Riesling – $30
Another clear winner for turkey day is Gewürztraminer with its ultra-aromatic nose and spicy palate. Turkey, gravy, rich casseroles—bring it!
2016 Balletto Vineyards Gewürztraminer – $19
2016 Gundlach Bundschu Sonoma Coast Dry Gewürztraminer – $25
Albariño and Viognier
While not as mainstream as Riesling and Gewürztraminer, these grapes—with their floral aromas and big flavors—can shine with all that your Thanksgiving table can throw at them.
2016 Arrowood Saralee’s Vineyard Viognier – $30
2016 Stags’ Leap Viognier – $32
2012 Marimar Estate Don Miguel Vineyard Albariño – $35
2016 Meadowcroft Wines Louvau Vineyard Viognier – $34
Best Thanksgiving Reds
These higher alcohol wines pair well with dark turkey meat and meat-based stuffing. Zins will bring out the big spiced flavors of Thanksgiving dinner, especially nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice. These wines will also add a touch of smokiness to the foods they’re paired with.
2016 Bedrock Wine Company Old Vine Zinfandel – $25
2015 Frog’s Leap Zinfandel – $30
2012 Grgich Hills Zinfandel – $36
2015 Turley Zinfandel Juvenile – $45
2014 Hartford Zinfandel – $60
This is perhaps the best-suited wine to pour for Thanksgiving as it pairs well with most foods. The fruitiness of the wine is a nice match for cranberry sauce/sides, mushroom dishes and goes well with both white and dark meat.
2016 Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir – $28
2014 La Follette Russian River Valley Pinot Noir – $34
2015 Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – $45
2015 Merry Edwards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – $45
2015 Patz & Hall Jenkins Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – $60
2015 Cline Sonoma County Syrah – $14
2014 Copain Wines Tous Ensemble Syrah – $24
2014 Wilde Farm Syrah Cardiac Hill Bennett Valley – $36
2014 Arnot-Roberts North Coast Syrah – $39
2014 Ramey Wine Cellars Sonoma Coast Syrah – $40
Just as you wouldn’t want to run out of food, you wouldn’t want to run out of wine at Thanksgiving. Plan on one bottle of wine per adult with more just in case.
Shop for wine at some of our favorite New Jersey retailers.
Amanti Vino – Montclair
Bottle King – Multiple locations statewide
Gary’s Wine & Marketplace – Bernardsville, Madison and Wayne
Joe Canal’s – Multiple locations in South Jersey
Princeton Corkscrew – Princeton
Sterling Fine Wines – Sterling
Tewksbury Fine Wine & Spirits – Oldwick
Wine Library – Springfield
Veronique Deblois is a food and wine blogger based in Morris County, NJ. As the author of the popular blog, Food & Wine Chickie, Veronique shares recipes, wine and restaurant reviews. Follow Veronique on Twitter, Instagram or like her Facebook page.