Thanksgiving Wines

Set your menu and select a variety of wines for a great holiday

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I am excited, because it’s my favorite holiday. There is nothing better than getting a big group of family and friends together for a big feast, some great wine and a little football.  

Now it’s time to set your menu and pick out some of those great wines to pair with the food and entertainment. There are a multitude of flavors and textures throughout a Thanksgiving dinner, from turkey to ham, to mashed potatoes, stuffing and yams, and let’s not forget all the delicious veggie dishes that usually only come out for this special meal, like green bean casserole and glazed carrots. The other important fact is that this is a time when you have lots of friends and family at the table at once, so I would recommend a little variety of wine as well, so everyone is happy.  

Let’s start off with some sparkling wine, for this is a celebration after all. Sparkling wines are a great way to begin the evening, and continue to drink all through dinner. They have a phenomenal ability to pair with all types of different foods and really shine with Thanksgiving morsels. I would go with an off dry Blanc de Noirs. Gruet makes a fantastic one.  

White wines for turkey day are simple, starting with Pinot Grigio. This crisp, clean dry white has the ability to handle garlic and onion, pairs well with herb rich side dishes and fatty meats like ham. My favorites are San Giorgio, with sweet apple and pear notes and a crisp dry finish, and San Pietro, clean and smooth throughout with nice minerality on the end.  

Riesling, whether a sweet one from Germany, or an off-dry example from Washington State, is a must. The pear, apricot and honey flavors pair well with turkey meat and herb infused stuffing, and are amazing with sweet potatoes.  Kung Fu Girl from Charles Smith is perfect for an off-dry and Selbach is my go-to sweet German.  

If you want to go with a classic, a nice oaky Chardonnay would work, and for something different, Gruner Veltliner would pair great with turkey and all the fixings. Oh, I almost forgot about Sauvignon Blanc, a nice one from California is Joel Gott.

For reds, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah, and Beaujolais Nouveau should be spread around on the table, and in the kitchen (because that’s where I’ll be).

California Pinot Noirs bright red fruit, light tannins and refreshing acidity won’t over power turkey and pairs well with side dishes. Oregon Pinots blue fruit and earthiness goes great with green bean casserole, brussel sprouts and other sides with root veggies.  Rickshaw Pinot from the Sonoma Coast and  from Willamette Valley are two great choices.

Zinfandel and Syrah will please your guests that are looking for a more full-bodied red.  The big fruit and spice of both will pair well with everything at the table. Teira Zinfandel and Boom Boom Syrah both embody these characteristics.  

The French winemakers release their Beaujolais Nouveau the third week in November every year just in time for Thanksgiving festivities. The fruity flavor with herbal notes and lighter bodied Gamay goes great with turkey and all sides. Domaine Durdilly is my go to every year.  

These are all just suggestions. The most important thing is to drink what you love. If you are a guest and show up with one of these choices, your host is sure to be happy, as well as everyone else.  

Please join us at VinoVin on Sunday November 15 to try some of these wines, and other great selections for our Fall Wine Tasting, and as always if you have any wine and food related question just ask at

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