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WINE: Wine For Thanksgiving


Lots of food needs lots of wine. Photo

Red wine, white wine, rosé, bubbly…which wine should you serve with your turkey? No matter what the book says (a fruity red), your guests may not “read the book.”

Since some people are inveterate white wine drinkers, the best option is to offer both red and white with the turkey. We’ve provided some suggestions from THE NIBBLE and the National Turkey Federation:

In addition to the familiar names below, three transplants from the Alsace region of France—Gewürtztraminer, Pinot Blanc and Riesling, are widely grown in the U.S. and vinified for American palates. They’re reasonably priced, too. Your wine store clerk can guide you to great choices.

Suggestion: Why not serve several different wines and turn your Thanksgiving into a mini wine tasting, with votes on which wine goes best? Since guests often ask what they can bring, can assign a different wine to different guest.


  • Chardonnay. A perennial crowd favorite; just don’t try to pair a highly-oaked Chardonnay with turkey. Ask the wine store clerk for a non-oaked or lightly-oaked wine.
  • Gewürtztraminer. One of our favorites, this fruity, spicy wine complements smoked turkey and other bold flavors.
  • Pinot Blanc. This lesser-known but charming dry white wine has broad appeal.
  • Riesling. Not the classic sweeter-style Alsatian or German Rieslings that pair so well with foie gras, American Rieslings are dry-vinified.
  • Sparkling Wines. These range from pricier Champagnes to inexpensive Cavas from Spain. Either way, most people love a glass of bubbly. You can serve a glass as an apéritif as well as at the table.


For roast turkey (or chicken), you want a red that doesn’t overwhelm the turkey—one without heavy tannins.

  • Beaujolais. This French wine is a favorite among those who like lots of jammy fruit. While regular Beaujolais ages in barrels before its release, 10 days or so before every Thanksgiving, Beaujolais Nouveau—the unaged, fresh wine—arrives in the United States. It’s very light and fruity. Read more about it.
  • Pinot Noir. Our personal favorite and the top choice for Thanksgiving wines, based on a survey by readers of Wine Spectator. This medium-bodied wine pairs well with white meat, dark meat, and all of the dishes.
  • Zinfandel. Many wine connoisseurs serve this wine with their turkey—an American grape for the quintessential American holiday. It’s the most full-bodied and richest of the wines on our list.


See our chart on wine and dessert pairings.


Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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