Here Are the Best Wines for Your Thanksgiving Dinner

You might want bubbles for that bird.

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November 09, 2021
By: Sarah Tracey

For food lovers and home cooks, Thanksgiving is the biggest food holiday of the year. But, if you've been busy rounding up pie recipes and researching turkey techniques (to brine, or not to brine?), you may not have thought about that other essential ingredient on the table: the wine! Of course, experts agree that no matter what, it's best to drink what you like. (And remember, the bottle doesn't have to be expensive!) To celebrate this uniquely American holiday, here's a selection of all-American bottles guaranteed to complement all of your cooking for the big day.

Sparkling Wine for Appetizers and More

Don't save your bottles of bubbly for New Year's Eve: Sparkling wines are perfect for Thanksgiving! We love to pop a bottle as an aperitif to open up the appetite before sitting down to the feast and enjoy a glass with a charcuterie or cheese board as the turkey’s resting. But, you don't have to stop the sparkle-party there: these are wonderful wines to sip throughout the meal because sparkling wines pair effortlessly with most dishes on the table due to their high acidity (giving that crisp, mouthwatering feeling) and effervescent bubbles. Try Mumm Napa Brut Prestige, Sokol Blosser Bluebird Cuvee Sparkling Wine, or Raptor Ridge Chehalem Mountains Sparkling Rose 2016.

Riseling Is Your Pairing MVP

If you're looking for a white wine that can do the nearly impossible task of complementing everything from green veggies to savory gravy to candied sweet potatoes, look no further than Riesling! The reason Riesling is so right for a decadent meal is that it's light, refreshing, and an excellent palate cleanser. It's crisp enough to help cut through all the richness of buttery mashed potatoes and delicate enough not to overpower the mild flavors of roast turkey. Riesling ranges from bone dry to sweet, so there's a style out there to please everyone at your table. (Pro tip: Turn the bottle over to the back label, and you'll see a diagram called the Riesling Taste Profile that indicates if the wine is dry, medium-dry, medium-sweet or sweet). Try Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling 2020, Hermann J. Wiemer Dry Riesling 2019, or Brooks Rielsing 2018.

Sip Rosé All Turkey Day

If you think rosé is limited to summertime soirées, think again. It's crisp, refreshing, food-friendly, and most importantly: one wine that both red and white wine lovers can agree on. (Let the relatives save their debates for football or politics, not the wine!). And, because rosé is generally lower in alcohol content, it's a wine you can sip on all day without getting too tipsy or tired — as long as you're not driving, that is. Sample it while basting the turkey and enjoy it through post-dinner cleanup and still feel fresh. Try H3 Rose 2019, Chemistry Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Rose, or Bricoleur Rosé Of Pinot Noir 2019.

Pinot Noir Is the Classic Thanksgiving Wine

Pinot Noir is arguably the most classic Thanksgiving wine, and for a reason: Those tart, tangy red fruit notes are just as complementary to fall dishes as cranberry sauce! Many Pinot Noirs also have a savory, woodsy note, ideal for pairing with autumn produce like mushrooms, squash, and herbs like rosemary and sage. Big, hearty reds like Cabernet will overpower classic Thanksgiving fare and are better to save for your Christmas roast or New Year's rack of lamb. Pinot Noir is the perfect light-to-medium bodied red to serve. Slightly chill it for an even more refreshing experience. Try Wine by Joe Pinot Noir 2018, Stoller Family Estate Dundee Hills Pinot Noir 2019, Big Table Farm Pinot Noir 2019, or Gundlach Bundschu Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2019.

For a Sweet Finale, Break Out the Port

Splurge a little and open up a rich, decadent bottle of dessert wine to pair with your pie. One pairing rule for dessert is that wines should be even sweeter than the dessert; otherwise, they might taste bitter when paired with a sweet bite. For pumpkin pie, try a tawny Port-like Taylor's 20 Year Old Tawny Port, filled with flavors of caramel, golden raisin, and toasted walnuts. Rose Ports like Croft Pink Port are a great pairing with apple or other fruit pies. And ruby Ports are a great fit if you happen to be serving chocolate, with their dark berry and cocoa flavors — we recommend Fonseca Bin 27 Reserve Port.

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