Armchair Sommelier Logo
How To Plan A Wine Tasting Ebook Now Available! (20% Off For A Limited Time)

The Perfect Thanksgiving Wine Pairing (plus 8 pairing suggestions)

Thanksgiving is, in my opinion, the most important holiday of the year. Knowing how to curate the perfect wine pairing can seriously elevate you and your guests’ dining experience. 

Now, I can save you some time and tell you that light-bodied reds are a tried-and-true best wine with turkey option if you’re doing the traditional turkey and stuffing dinner.

However, I encourage you to keep reading if you want additional suggestions to push you, and your guests, out of your comfort zone.

And don’t worry, I didn’t forget about dessert!

thanksgiving wine pairing

Tips For The Best Wine For Thanksgiving

Every Thanksgiving table looks different, especially when it comes to what’s served for dinner. Regardless of this, there are some honest-to-goodness truths that are applicable to every holiday gathering. 

Here are a couple of tips that will help guide you through your local wine shop, regardless of whether you’re serving up fried turkey, tempeh-turkey, or even a butter board.

Start light (preferably bubbly)Greeting guests with a glass of sparkling wine takes even a basic game night and elevates it into a memorable experience. Sparkling wine also happens to be low in alcohol, which is a good initiation into your Thanksgiving holiday meal.

When in doubt, pick a light-bodied red wine for ThanksgivingThe first 10/10 recommendations you’ll get when you google “Thanksgiving wine pairing” will start with either Pinot Noir or Gamay. These are often touted as the best wines to serve with turkey. That’s because they make turkey seem exciting and don’t steal the show from the more rich and flavorful dishes. 

Have choices availableRegardless of what you’re serving, people will have their preferences. Keep a safe bet white wine for your Thanksgiving meal (like a Chardonnay) in the fridge, as well as beer and liquor (if you dare).

Best Thanksgiving Wine Pairing For Starters

wine that goes with turkey

If your guests are arriving early enough for appetizers, it’s a good idea to start off with something light-bodied and low alcohol that can be enjoyed with or without food.

Sparkling Wine (Napa, USA) Domaine Carneros Brut 2018

Sparkling wine is celebratory, it’s light and zippy, it’s low alcohol, and it pairs with all sorts of Thanksgiving small bites. Regardless of whether you have a veggie display or pigs-in-a-blanket, sparkling wine makes for the perfect Thanksgiving wine pairing. 

Suggested Thanksgiving Pairing: Charcuterie, Brie Wrapped in Phyllo

Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon Blend (Bordeaux) Vignobles Raymond Les Hauts de Lagarde Blanc 2020

This white Bordeaux blend combines a crisp acidity and herbaceous Sauvignon Blanc with a floral and velvety Semillon to make a trusted blend sure to pair with a variety of flavors. This is an example of an easygoing white wine that doesn’t need food to shine.

Suggested Thanksgiving Pairing: Bacon Wrapped Brussel Sprouts, Spinach Artichoke Dip

Best Wines For Thanksgiving- The Main Course

Now, for the main event. I’ve included a combination of trusted recommendations, along with a few you might not expect. Don’t be afraid to mix it up.

best wine for thanksgiving

Gamay Noir (Beaujolais) Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau 2019

The bright red fruit notes and high acid you get from a bottle of slightly chilled Gamay Noir is not only a great wine with turkey, but any side dish you would serve it with. 

This Gamay comes from Beaujolais nouveau, where it is the very first wine released for the harvest year. On average, a bottle of nouveau goes from harvest to bottle in just eight weeks!

Suggested Thanksgiving Pairing: Traditional Roasted Turkey, Cranberry Stuffing

Zinfandel (Napa, USA) Ghost Block Pelissa Vineyard Zinfandel 2020

If you read our post on Zinfandel Pairings, then you know it’s not unusual to pour a berry-centric, slightly herbaceous Zinfandel on Turkey Day. 

While this choice stands in contrast to the lighter options mentioned above, the vibrant fruit notes and relatively easy going tannins will support and liven up your Thanksgiving feast.

Suggested Thanksgiving Pairing: Fried Turkey, Roast Beef, Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Grenache Blanc (Paso Robles, USA) Ridge Vineyards Grenache Blanc 2019

Grenache blanc is a full-bodied white wine with characteristics of oak, minerality, and tropical or green apple notes (depending on ripeness) which makes it an awesome choice.

The Chardonnay-lovers of the group will consider this the best white wine to pair with turkey. A full-bodied white wine is sure to stand up to anything your host put in front of you. 

Suggested Thanksgiving Pairing: Citrus-and-Herb Turkey, Sweet Potato, Roasted Veggies

Gewürztraminer (Alsace) Trimbach Gewürztraminer

Gewürztraminer is a light, aromatic wine with bright acidity and that makes a great turkey wine pairing. Whether your turkey is roasted, smoked, or fried, Gewürztraminer is guaranteed to provide a stunning reprieve. A touch of sweetness never hurts either! 

Suggested Thanksgiving Pairing: Smoked Turkey, Stuffed Squash, Cranberry Sauce, Green Bean Casserole

Best Thanksgiving Wine Pairing For Dessert

Dessert is as essential to Thanksgiving as the turkey is, which is why having a dessert wine to pour for the adults is an absolute must.

Trust me, if you’ve never given yourself the luxury of a good bottle of Port after a long day spent with family, you are missing out!

wine for thanksgiving

Port (Porto, Portugal) Ferreira Late Bottled Vintage Port 2015

In Portuguese Red Wines, we share that Port is easily the most popular dessert wine. This is especially true over the holidays, where this red elixir puts everyone at ease and makes conversation flow like… well… a bottle of Port. 

Suggested Thanksgiving Pairing: Goat Cheesecake, Chocolate Torte

Pedro Ximénez Sherry (Spain) Gonzalez-Byass Nectar Pedro Ximénez Sherry (Dulce) N.V.

Also known as the sweetest wine in the world, this sherry comes from grapes of the same name. These grapes are picked overly ripe, then sun dried to concentrate the sugars even more and produce a thick, almost-black and intensely sweet dessert wine. 

Serve slightly chilled with your Thanksgiving desserts that aren’t too sweet, or better yet, a wedge of blue cheese.

Suggested Thanksgiving Pairing: Aged Cheeses, Tiramisu

Thanksgiving Wine Pairing - Final Thoughts

Thanksgiving is the one true holiday where the food and wine is what shines. That being said, don’t allow yourself to be too consumed with selecting the perfect bottle. 

Start light, have options, and when in doubt, please ask your local wine shop staff for their recommendations.  They truly want you to be the host with the most that you were born to be.

Remember, the most important thing of all is that you love what’s in your glass!

Thanksgiving Wine Pairing - FAQ

turkey wine pairing

Light-bodied reds are a tried-and-true best wine with turkey option if you’re doing the traditional turkey and stuffing dinner. However, I encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and try Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon Blend or Gamay Noir (Beaujolais).

Zinfandel (Napa, USA) Ghost Block Pelissa Vineyard Zinfandel 2020 

It’s not unusual to pour a berry-centric, slightly herbaceous Zinfandel on Turkey Day. 

While in contrast to the lighter options mentioned, the vibrant fruit notes and relatively easy going tannins will support and liven up your Thanksgiving feast.

Suggested Thanksgiving Pairing: Fried Turkey, Roast Beef, Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Grenache Blanc (Paso Robles, USA) Ridge Vineyards Grenache Blanc 2019 

The Chardonnay-lovers of the group will consider this the best white wine to pair with turkey. Grenache blanc is a full-bodied white wine with characteristics of oak, minerality, and tropical or green apple notes (depending on ripeness) which makes it an awesome choice. 

Suggested Thanksgiving Pairing: Citrus-and-Herb Turkey, Sweet Potato, Roasted Veggies

Start with sparkling wine. It pairs with all sorts of Thanksgiving small bites. Regardless of whether you have a veggie display or pigs-in-a-blanket, sparkling wine makes for the perfect Thanksgiving wine pairing for appetizers. 

Suggested Thanksgiving Pairing: Charcuterie, Brie Wrapped in Phyllo

Instead of the same Pinot Noir and Chardonnay you served last year, try something new this year!

  • Sparkling wine with charcuterie appetizers
  • Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon Blend with Bacon Wrapped Brussel Sprouts, Spinach Artichoke Dip Appetizers
  • Gamay Noir (Beaujolais) with Traditional Roasted Turkey, Cranberry Stuffing
  • Napa Zinfandel with Fried Turkey, Roast Beef, Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Grenache Blanc with Citrus-and-Herb Turkey, Sweet Potato, Roasted Veggies
  • Gewürztraminer (Alsace) with Smoked Turkey, Stuffed Squash, Cranberry Sauce, Green Bean Casserole
Author: Olivia Abramson

Author: Olivia Abramson

Olivia has been immersed in all things food and libations for nearly a decade. When she’s not cooking or sipping on a glass of vino, she’s running a small tasting room for a boutique winery located on the beautiful Hood Canal in Washington State. She spends her free time bikepacking around the Pacific Northwest with her fiance and checking out all the local breweries. She also enjoys writing for her own personal food and wine blog, Liv Eats Local. Follow her IG: @olivia_abramson for pictures of her cute dog, Tater, and their van-lifing adventures - and check out her blog liveatslocal.com for recipes and stories of tipsy travels.

Taste Wine Like A True Armchair Sommelier

Spice up your next party with our FREE wine tasting guide! Learn what to look, smell, and taste for while appreciating your favorite bottle. We’ve also included a printable tasting notes template and a tasting wheel.

Laithwaite's Wine

Spice up your next party with our FREE wine tasting guide! Learn what to look, smell, and taste for while appreciating your favorite bottle. We’ve also included a printable tasting notes template and a tasting wheel.

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]