8 Best Wines to Serve With Thanksgiving Dinner, According to a Sommelier
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Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and, of course, delicious food. If you’re looking to take your Thanksgiving dinner to the next level this year, consider serving one or more of the following wines.
My name is Mark. I am a certified sommelier with over 10 years experience in the wine industry. And I’m here to list my top favorite wines to serve with Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve personally tried these pairings before, so I’ve done the trial and error for you.
Here are some of my wine recommendations to try.
You should never need a reason to drink Champagne! But if you need it, it’s still a perfect match to celebrate any special occasion with your friends and family, especially Thanksgiving.
This Popular and accessible champagne is a great choice due to its high acidity and effervescence, which is perfect for cutting through heavy dishes often served at Thanksgiving, such as fried turkey, gravy, or creamy green bean casserole.
Other champagne recommendations:
Pro tip: vintage or non-vintage champagne (NV)
Vintage Champagne comes exclusively from grapes harvested the same year, and it must age for a minimum of 3 years. It tends to be more expensive than non-vintage champagne, but also has a longer shelf life. Non-vintage champagne is created from a blend of grapes harvested in different years and typically spends 15 months aging.
Dry Riesling is known for its versatility, making it an excellent choice for pairing with many types of food. This makes it an ideal wine for your Thanksgiving dinner.
This particular riesling is very dry, which means that there is no residual sugar in the wine. On the palate the wine has a crisp and refreshing acidity with citrus flavors with some earthy notes. The acidity of Riesling offsets the richness of dishes like sweet potatoes and mac and cheese, while the earthiness of the wine pairs well with the herbal flavors of stuffing.
Other Riesling recommendations:
It’s a great choice for those who prefer a red wine with their Thanksgiving dinner. Pinot Noir generally has a lighter body, lower tannins and higher acidity. The acidity of Pinot Noir actually helps enhance the flavors of foods. And unlike other red wines that possess high levels of tannins, Pinot Noir pairs well with lean meats like turkey.
This special pinot noir has aromas of black cherry, strawberry and baking spice. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied with soft tannins and flavors of cranberry, cherry, vanilla and oak. So if you love cranberry sauce, not only will this wine be the perfect complement to the sauce, but the sauce will also bring out the red fruit flavors in the wine.
Other Pinot Noir recommendations:
Pro Tip: Pinot Noir differ according to their origin. Pinot Noirs from cooler climates produce wines with tart fruit flavors and higher acidity, while those grown in warmer climates taste like ripe fruit and are less acidic.
If you want a warmer red wine than Pinot Noir, Primitivo is an excellent choice. Primitive is zinfandel of Italy, typical of the wine regions of Puglia. These wines are big and bold, with juicy fruit flavors and medium tannins that make them a great match to enhance all the flavors of traditional holiday dishes.
This particular primitive comes from Puglia, Italy. On the nose, the wine presents aromas of black fruits, spices and oak. On the palate, the wine is velvety with flavors of blackberry, plum and chocolate.
Tannins are low in this wine, so it won’t overpower any dish. Natural juicy fruit flavors will bring out the sweetness of side dishes like sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and cherry pies. Meanwhile, the spice notes of this particular wine will help accentuate the many different flavors of the stuffing.
Other Zinfandel Recommendations:
This delicious red mix is a combination of the five Bordeaux Heritage grape varieties: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. The wine has complex aromas of dark fruit, spice and oak. On the palate, it’s full-bodied with rich, layered flavors of blackberry, plum, oak, tobacco and chocolate.
The chewy tannins and ripe, fruity flavors of this wine pair perfectly with honey-cooked ham. The tannins in the wine will be softened by the meat, while the sweetness in the ham will be complemented by the ripe fruit flavors in the wine.
Other red mix recommendations:
Pro tip: Most red wines are red mixes. For example, a wine classified as California Cabernet Sauvignon only needs 75% of it to be true Cabernet grapes. You might think you’re drinking a California cab, but it’s possible that other types of red grapes were added by the winemaker. This is usually done to help balance or enhance the flavor profile of the final product.
Chardonnay is always a good choice for Thanksgiving dinner. The creamy texture and buttery flavors of the wine can really help round out the meal.
The buttery flavor and texture give the wine a richer mouthfeel that perfectly complements baked potatoes or mashed potatoes. It’s like adding butter to a baked potato or mixing it into mashed potatoes – wine and food become creamier and tastier.
Other Chardonnay recommendations:
Pro Tip: Malolactic fermentation is a process where bacteria transform the naturally tart malic acids (the same acid in tart apple) in wine into creamy lactic acid (the same acid in milk). This secondary fermentation is the main reason chardonnay with butter to exist.
It’s a australian red wine it is a blend of two different grape varieties, cabernet sauvignon and syrah. The wine has aromas of dark fruits, spices and oak. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied with flavors of blackberries, plums, oak, tobacco and chocolate.
Cabernet Sauvignon gives this wine its structure and tannic structure, while Syrah contributes to the fruitiness and spice of the wine. This particular wine is a great pairing with roast turkey or grilled meats. The tannins in the wine will help soften the fat in the meat, while the fruitiness and spice will complement the flavor of the turkey.
Another recommendation from Shiraz:
Pro Tip: Shiraz and syrah are the same grape variety. The term “Syrah” is often applied to Old World wine regions, such as France, while the word “Shiraz” refers to New World wine regions such as Australia.
Tawny Ports are a type of sweet, oak-aged, fortified wine made from red grapes grown in the Douro Valley in Portugal.
Van Zellers 20 years old Tawny Port NV is one of my favorite tawny ports. This is a fantastic, not too sweet tawny that has flavors of oak aging, vanilla and caramel! It has a dark tawny color with lots of rich dried fruit flavors. And the wine’s intense spice and acidity help balance it out.
It’s a perfect wine pairing for all your sweet Thanksgiving desserts, including pumpkin pie, apple pie, and pecan pie! Or this wine is excellent on its own as a dessert after your meal.
Other port recommendations:
Pro Tip: What is the difference between ruby and tawny ports? Ruby ports get their name from their color, which is ruby red. Tawny ports are usually more of a brown hue. When it comes to taste, ruby ports tend to be fruity while tawny ports have more of a nutty or caramel flavor.
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