More wine is sold for Thanksgiving dinner than for any other meal of the year. Plan your wine list ahead of time to get the best value for your holiday wine.
Choosing a single wine for Thanksgiving dinner can be difficult, given the great variety of foods and flavors. There's white and dark meat. There are sweet and rich yams, tart cranberries, buttery mashed potatoes, stuffing made with any number of ingredients, and spiced pumpkin pie for dessert. A comprehensive holiday wine list will give your guests options to taste a little of each wine with a little of each dish.
There are no hard-and-fast rules for picking the right red, white or dessert wine. The most important consideration is the wine's taste, how it complements what you're serving, and what you like. Whether you favor whites or reds, lighter, livelier, less complex wines go better with the traditional Thanksgiving feast than heavier, more complicated ones. You don't want your guests to be asleep before the pies come out!
Here's a rundown of wines that are perfect with turkey and all the fixings.
Nothing says "special occasion" quite like bubbles. Serve a flute or two as a starter as guests are arriving. Sparkling wine will encourage sparkling conversation. If you're serving a sparkling wine with dinner, be sure it is a dry wine labeled brut, and not a sweet sparkling wine such as Italy's Asti Spumante.
Chardonnay is a great, everyday wine. But it is generally too intense to be served alongside Thanksgiving dinner. Consider instead white wines that are refreshing, tangy, and fruity:
Yes, you can serve red wine with turkey. You may not want to serve Cabernet because it is generally too tart and high in tannins to match well with turkey, but you can serve a lighter red. Red wine has long been the holiday wine of choice for Thanksgiving because its light berry brightness contrasts well with the heartiness of the traditional menu. Consider any of the following:
Rosé is en vogue. Just check out Instagram, #rosé has more than a million posts. Hop on the trend for a Thanksgiving meal that will rack up those likes. Crisp, light, and fruity, this lovely light pink wine might be be the perfect holiday wine to accompany a heavy holiday meal. Serve it chilled.
Kick off the after-dinner celebration with dessert and a sweet wine. Dessert wines can be red, white or sparkling, and all are slightly sweeter than other wines.