When it comes to picking the best wine to pair with Thanksgiving dinner, ignore the turkey. You may have labored over that damn bird, but its mild flavors will be overshadowed by the stuffing, roasted vegetables, and other spice-forward sides on your Thanksgiving menu. If you’re looking for the ideal Thanksgiving wine, you want something with enough fruit and acidity to complement a range of foods and flavors. The ideal wine will also have enough sparkle and freshness to clear your palate between bites (and helpings).
Start by leaving the Big C’s (Cabernet and Chardonnay) in your cellar for another month. Those wines are often better suited to the bolder roast beasts of December’s holidays. The assorted whites and reds on this list will better serve you and your guests this Thanksgiving.
Gamble Family Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2016, $27
Sauvignon Blanc’s bright flavors and crisp acidity are a natural mate with Thanksgiving fare. And for less than $30, few Sauv Blancs can compete with this offering from Napa’s Gamble Family Vineyards. Citrus and herbs mingle with white flowers in this impressively balanced and complex wine.
Friedrich Becker Estate Pinot Noir 2013, $17
The subtle fruit and ample acidity of Old World Pinot Noir wines makes them an ideal pairing for turkey, ham, and all your favorite Thanksgiving sides. German Pinot (also known as Spätburgunder) features a smoky top note that works especially well with stuffing, sweet potatoes, and other spice-forward dishes. This offering from Friedrich Becker is a delicious and affordable option.
Bonterra Viognier 2016, $14
If you’re looking for a beefier, softer-edged white wine for your holiday—one that won’t cost you an arm and a leg—this Mendocino County Viognier from Bonterra is a great choice. Similar to many California Chardonnays in body and texture, this Viognier also features tropical fruit and floral notes that will bring out the best in your heavy vegetable sides and salads.
Planeta Frappato Vittoria 2015 ($23)
If you haven’t discovered the Frappato grape, you’re in for a treat with this offering from Sicily’s Planeta. This light(ish) bodied red wine features mouth-watering bunches of red fruits and white pepper spice. Like so many Italian wines, it begs to be enjoyed with food. And this one has the depth and complexity to complement all the dishes on your Thanksgiving Day menu.
Fitz-Ritter Riesling Sekt, $16
Want to try something unconventional this Thanksgiving? Pick up a bottle of this German Sekt. Made with Riesling—a wine grape that tends to pair well with a wide variety of foods—this sparkling wine from Fitz-Ritter is at once creamy and sharp. It’s floral and stony and fruity. It will surprise and delight you.
E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage Rouge 2015, $25
Ripe red fruit, generous acidity, and layers of smoke and spice are exactly the elements you want in a red wine on Thanksgiving, and this bottling from France’s Northern Rhône hits the bulls-eye. Guigal is famed for the quality and consistency of its wines, and this Crozes-Hermitage is a can’t-miss pick.
Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc 2017, $8
Buying for a big family get-together and don’t want to spend a fortune? This fresh, grassy, nicely balanced (and cheap!) New Zealand Sauvignon Blank is a great pick. Super quaffable and totally inoffensive, it’s a good match for assorted Thanksgiving fare.
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