We get many queries about what wine to serve on Thanksgiving. The simple answer is: Pretty much anything. Turkey itself accepts almost any wine pairing. Since your guest list might swell your wine requirements to multiple bottles, you can offer choices for your guests. Let the nature of the specific fixin’s help determine what you serve. A lot of sweet side dishes may sway you from opening an aged Bordeaux, for instance. In the end, though, go with what you like, not what some book says.
As counterpoint with turkey, you don’t need a wine with a lot of body. It should be flavorful, however. Slightly sweet wines like Riesling go well with turkey, especially when sweet side dishes and condiments abound. Almost any chardonnay will hit the mark.
Chardonnay, Blackstone ($9.99)
Chardonnay, Columbia Crest ($9.99)
These two wines offer similar gifts. They are full-scaled chardonnays without full-scaled prices. They make affordable options if you have a crowd coming.
St. M Riesling ($11.99)
From Germany, this joint venture between famed German producer Dr. Loosen and famed Washington producer Ch. Ste. Michelle is just about perfect. Repeat: this slightly sweet Riesling is just about perfect. Lively fruit, apple freshness, and the crystalline purity of Riesling make it a delightful complement to the bird, and folks love it
Viognier, Jaboulet ($11.99)
This Rhône charmer brims with lively tropical fruit flavors and plenty of richness.
Unique but utterly delicious.
Chardonnay, Rodney Strong ($11.99)
This wine goes out the door by the case, which gives us the subtle clue that people like it. Styled with rich oak flavors, and comfortably priced, it is ready for holiday service.
Gentil, Hugel ($12.99)
The term “Gentil” indicates a blend of the noble grapes of Alsace. In this case, roughly half the blend consists of Sylvaner and Pinot blanc. These grapes supply the wine’s body and richness. Gewurztraminer, Riesling, and Muscat, provide their savory aromatics. It won’t just support the food with which it is served, it will lift it to lip smacking heights
Pinot Gris, Villa Maria ($14.99)
This wine from New Zealand must be the yummiest Pinot gris (aka Pinot grigio) that we have tasted in quite a while. A new favorite.
Chardonnay, Catena ($17.99)
Catena, one of Argentina’s finest wineries, produces astonishing wines, especially at the price. The buttery element here comports handsomely with the wine’s vanilla-laden fruit. Appropriate richness and structure will carry it through the meal.
St. Véran, Auviguen ($19.99)
St.Véran, Clos de l’Hermitage ($21.99)
St. Véran, in the Maconnais, has always been somewhat overshadowed by the vaunted wines of Pouilly-Fuissé and the ubiquitous ones from Macon, but these two wines show what people are missing. Buttery tones and mineral tones and fruit tones merge to produce wines of great refinement and tasty dazzle.
Most light to medium-bodied reds work match well with turkey. Only young, tannic wines should be left out of consideration. Pinot noir and Merlot prove particularly agreeable choices.
Pinot Noir, Mark West ($11.99)
If you face no red wine sanctions, Pinot Noir makes possibly the best turkey match. Mark West delivers one with plenty of Pinot noir character but in a price range us mortals can handle.
Merlot, Irony ($11.99)
Guests will love the ripe, smooth fruit of this wine. Meaty yet not heavy, its flavors will match the turkey’s roasted flavors nicely.
Salice Salentino, Monaci ($13.99)
Not a well known appellation down there in southernmost Italy (the boot’s heel, to be specific), nor has the negroamaro grape captured worldwide acclaim. Nonetheless, this wine has always stolen the show in store tastings. Deeply colored with dark, almost roasted flavors, it proves itself a surprisingly fine choice for the Thanksgiving table.
Bourgogne Rouge, Danjean-Berthoux ($19.99)
As we already declared, Pinot noir provides a great match with roast turkey. The 2009 vintage has given us wines of not just great concentration, but also unbelievable drinkability even now. This is an unquestionable treat.
Rioja Reserva, Viña Alberdi ($21.99)
The barrel and bottle aging required in Rioja to earn Reserva status—other quality requirements exist, as well—give us a wine of considerable breadth and depth. No lack of concentration here, but the aging has mellowed the wine to delicious drinkability. A wine to make a meal spectacular.