THANKSGIVING WINE PAIRINGS: 6 perfect wine pairings for turkey day

Pairing Thanksgiving Course by Course…

Some people were asking what wines I’ll be drinking this Thanksgiving, so I thought I’d give a few of my favorite Thanksgiving wine pairings! First, you must know this; Thanksgiving is my #superbowl. It’s my favorite #holiday. So when I cook, I do the whole thing in epic fashion, and I pair each course. If this is your jam, keep reading. IF you’re only looking for what wine to bring to a Thanksgiving dinner you’ve been invited to, skip right to wine #6 and be done. (BTW, get the basics on pairing in our Wine and Food Pairing Video!) Easy peasy. Ok, here we go…

Thanksgiving; aka foodie Super Bowl

WINE PAIRING # 1: Appetizers


This one is a layup: Champagne. Appetizers are all over the board, so you need a versatile pairing wine. Usually there is cheese involved (see our Wine and Cheese Pairing episode), which needs a high acid wine to cut through the fat. Theres also usually seafood (cocktail shrimps anyone?) which is another great Champagne pair. Plus, there’s something celebratory about “kicking off” a meal with bubbles. It’s also light, and comparatively lower in alcohol, so it’s a good first wine before all the heavy dishes. 

THE PAIR: For big and rich, Bollinger.
For lean and mean, Pierre Peters.  

Wine Pairing #2: Soup and Salads 


Time for our second Thanksgiving wine pairing. I always make butternut squash soup for this course, which is a little sweet. So we want a slightly sweet wine. Also, we still want to keep the alcohol relatively low: we’ve got a long night ahead of us. If you can, get something thats 5+ years old so you can get some of cool petrol (as in gasoline) notes that come from aged Riesling. 

THE PAIR: Joh Jos Prüm (producer), Wehlener Sonnenuhr (vineyard), Spätlese (quality/sugar level)

Wine Pairings #3,#4, and #5: Main Course

Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Beaujolais

It’s time for the main course! You’ve got a slew of dishes on the table, so your best pairings are heavy whites or light reds. For the white lover, it’s gotta be Chardonnay. It’s a perfect pair for buttery mashed potatoes or perhaps and mushroom dishes. For red lovers, Pinot Noir is Classic; perfect with earthy stuffing, turkey, cranberry sauce, and roasted vegetables.  BUT if you want to switch it up from the classic pair, grab a bottle of fruity, light, spicy Cru level Beaujolais to give the people something new! (also, check out the J Wilkes Chardonnay featured in our Santa Barbara episode!) and Lange Estate, which will be featured in our Oregon episode in Season 2!

Chardonnay: J Wilkes Santa Maria Chardonnay 
Pinot Noir: Lange Estate Reserve Pinot Noir
Beaujolais: Marcel Lapierre Morgon 

Wine Pairing #6: Dessert


This is the sleeper hit wine no one knew they needed. Bring this to the party and you’ll be a rockstar: EVERYONE brings main course wines. But NO ONE ever remembers to bring dessert wine. It’s unique, fun, and unexpected. The perfect pair for both pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and can even stand up to chocolate, Madeira has the sugar to pair well, but the acid to not feel syrupy and heavy, especially after a long meal. AND it’s affordable, AND it lasts 1 month+ after opening, in case there is leftover. 

THE PAIR: Rare Wine Company Bual Madeira 

Enjoy the best holiday of the year folks! Until next wine,