A couple of years ago, after Tom and I moved into our old house, we decided to host Thanksgiving for the first time. We’re taking a break from hosting this year because our tiny downtown LA apartment isn’t quite suitable for hosting large parties, but boy — do I miss entertaining for this holiday!
Whether you’re attending a Friendsgiving or hosting your family for Turkey Day, one thing’s for sure: you’re going to want a delicious wine to accompany your spread. If you’re hosting, you’ll want to have a few wine options for your guests. If you’re a guest, it’s polite to bring a bottle (or two!) Here’s the ultimate guide to help you find the best wines for Thanksgiving dinner!
The Best Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving Wines: How to Find The Perfect Wine
First things first: where is your wine coming from?
You could use Thanksgiving as a way to try wines from all over the country (or the world!) If you like reds with a bit of spice, I’d highly recommend a Malbec from Argentina or a Tempranillo from Spain. Not only are they delicious, but they’re pretty inexpensive as well! You also really can’t go wrong with a Zinfandel from California, a Viognier or Cabernet Franc from Virginia, or a Pinot Noir from Washington. Spanish and Italian varietals also thrive in the Texas Hill Country, and I think that wine region is underrated! The quality of Australian wines has also improved tenfold over the last decade, so I wouldn’t sleep on those either.
How can you find the perfect wine from the ideal region? I’d highly recommend heading to your local wine shop or Total Wine when they’re doing wine tastings. Often times, they’ll offer them for free or at a super discounted rate on weekends. That way, you can familiarize yourself with wines from all over the world and have an idea of the taste before committing to a bottle!
Best White Wines For Thanksgiving
Yes, you’re going to want to serve both reds and whites during Thanksgiving dinner, just to give your guests options! Here are some varietals to consider:
IMO, Chenin Blanc is the perfect Thanksgiving wine — and I always have one of this varietal at the dinner table every year. It is the perfect match for Turkey. This wine is delicate, fruit-forward, and has high acid, and it is one of the most delightful pairings for the holiday.
My top pick for a white Thanksgiving wine would be Sauvignon Blanc. It’s crisp and known for its citrus flavors and pairs perfectly with turkey. The Sauvignon Blanc from Zo Wines is only $29 and is one of the best I’ve ever tried!
Reisling is a fantastic option that will pair well with almost everything on your Thanksgiving menu. You can opt for Rieslings that are either bone dry or semi-sweet: there’s truly a Riesling that will work for every kind of palate! It tastes great with dishes that are spicy, salty, or sweet. It’s fruity and flavorful but not too alcoholic.
I might be biased here since Viognier is the state grape of Virginia, but I think it would be a great white wine to serve at Thanksgiving as well. It’s one of the most versatile wines for the holiday season, IMO! It’s floral and fruity and a great compliment to Turkey.
Shop White Wines for Thanksgiving Under $30:
Best Red Wines For Thanksgiving
As much as I love a bold wine, it’s best to pick a red wine that will complement the flavors of your Thanksgiving dinner without overpowering it. Here are my top picks for the best red wines to serve this Thanksgiving:
If you’re going to serve any red wine during Thanksgiving, a Beaujolais is an ideal choice. It’s a no-fuss French wine that you’ll want to drink while it’s young. This is a light-bodied, low-tannin wine that is not too bold and will pair perfectly with all of your Thanksgiving dishes. You can serve this wine lightly chilled if you’d like!
A Zin will be more full-bodied and give you a bit of spice during Thanksgiving dinner. It will still uplift all of your side dishes (potatoes, stuffing, etc.) without being overpowering. I’d highly recommend the 2017 Ferrari Carano Zinfandel, which is also less than $30 and has flavors of raspberries, dried cherries, and hints of leather and spice cake.
This is probably the most classic Thanksgiving wine pairing, and for good reason: it has low tannins and can be light-to-medium bodied, and it’s super versatile with food pairings.
The peppery flavor of Syrah will pair incredibly well with your Thanksgiving dishes. Cool-climate syrahs are a great match in particular for turkey and stuffing.
Shop Red Wines for Thanksgiving Under $30:
Best Sparkling and Dessert Wines For Thanksgiving
Don’t sleep on a sparkling wine pairing this Thanksgiving: the acidity of a bubbly wine is great for either salty or fried foods and could be the ideal wine for your meal from start to finish. I’d recommend either a Prosecco, Cava, or Sparkling Rosé this Thanksgiving.
If you want a dessert wine, I’d highly recommend a good Port. A Tawny Port tastes a bit nuttier than a Ruby port and is the perfect pairing for pie. Just be careful: ports often have a higher alcohol content than regular wine, so you don’t need to go overboard while pouring them! A cream sherry will also pair nicely with any of the desserts you have on the table, as well.
Shop Sparkling and Dessert Wines for Thanksgiving Under $30:
Thanksgiving Wine Pairings
For a quick cheat sheet for Thanksgiving Wine Pairings, pin this graphic below for later!
What do you think are the best wines for Thanksgiving dinner? Share in a comment below!
Photos by Tom McGovern