10 Thanksgiving Wine Tips And Pairings

Be the wine hero of Thanksgiving by bringing the perfect bottle — use our tips and wine pairing ideas.



Sliced turkey with gravy and vegetables

Photo by: Jupiterimages


Sliced turkey with gravy and vegetables

Almond-infused green beans may seduce the table and mouth-moistening stuffing may induce lusty sighs, but in my rosé-colored opinion, the star of Thanksgiving should be the wine. Thanks to your heroic choices, these options will give you everything but a mask and cape on Turkey Day.

American sparkling wine: You’ll show your sophistication, patriotism and cost-consciousness by opting for bubbly from the States. Create a perfect aperitif that I’ve nicknamed “Federal Fizz.”

Big bottles: Increasingly available at all price levels, magnums and other large-format bottles embody the spirit of celebration.

Gewurztraminer: Not only do you get points for being the only one in your family who can pronounce it (Guh-VURTS-trah-mee-ner), but this white’s apricot-and-lychee aromas and full body will make fast friends with the turkey and everything of the cranberry-yammy persuasion.

Chinon: Do your part to further Franco-American relations by serving this medium-weight, invigorating red that is a staple of Parisian bistros. I elaborate on why Chinon is an ideal Thanksgiving Day wine in this video.

Beaujolais Nouveau: Be worldly and timely by including bottles of this berry-inflected French charmer, which hits the market just days before Thanksgiving. Its light, exuberant taste and single-digit cost will win over even your Freedom Fry-loving uncle.

“Decanted” box wine: Ask your local wine shop for one of the slew of tasty box wines on the market. Avoid the unfair bias against wine in a box by secretly transferring the wine to a glass decanter before it hits the dining room.

Red Bordeaux: If it was good enough for America’s founding fathers, then this earthy, medium-to-full-bodied red blend can also add aristocratic cachet to your Thanksgiving table, especially when it looms large in a big bottle such as a magnum. Ask a good merchant to recommend choices on the neglected lower end of the price spectrum.

Sparkling Shiraz: Dazzle and intrigue your relatives by including bubbly Shiraz at your feast. This Aussie bastion of foamy fun is sprightly enough to stave off tryptophan-induced tiredness, while its plummy notes harmonize with all manner of bird, stuffing and sauce.

Zinfandel: With America as virtually the sole producer of this grape, you’ll be keeping things suitably red (and white and blue). The rich, spicy character of Zinfandel marries well with cranberry sauce, spicy stuffing and roasted turkey skin.

Dessert wine: Have room for dessert wine? There always is with Moscato D’Asti, the feathery light, gently fizzy, explosively aromatic meal-ender from Italy.

Mark Oldman is a wine expert, acclaimed author and lead judge of the hit series The Winemakers.

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