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  • Writer's pictureJohn B. Reyna

Thankful for numerous Thanksgiving wine pairings

Selecting wines to pair with your Thanksgiving meal shouldn’t add to any holiday stress. And yes, we meant to say wines, plural. So if you’re worried about what wine to drink with your Thanksgiving meal, or before (no judging here), breathe a sigh of relief, we have you covered. Our Thanksgiving Wine Guide provides tips on wine styles that will enhance all of the incredible food that somehow fits on one plate. If you use these tips when you speak with your local wine monger, then we’re confident that you will bring home some delicious juice to accompany your fantastic meal!

However, before we break down our recommendations, let’s make one thing clear: we’ve all been through a lot this year so if there was ever a time to drink what you want, THIS IS IT! Forget about what pairs well, and think about what’s going to make you happy. Now go buy a case of that wine!

Teakwood Tavern Hospitality's Thanksgiving Wine Guide

Everyone’s Thanksgiving meal is different; however, there is one thing that many meals have in common—various foods gathered together on a single plate. Each bite bringing a different flavor profile to match with your wine selection. Thus, there’s no perfect Thanksgiving wine. But there are wines that play more friendly than others with a wide range of foods.

If you'd rather watch a video of our Thanksgiving Wine Guide, here's a YouTube video for your viewing pleasure:

Dry sparkling wines

Dry sparkling wines pair well with a wide variety of foods so it should be no surprise that these wines can hold their own at a Thanksgiving table. Quality sparkling wines have high acidity, which cuts through rich, fatty foods and balances tart items like homemade cranberry sauce. The effervescence cleanses your palate as you jump between bites of different foods. While a blanc (white) version will do the trick, especially a blanc de noir, we’d recommend finding a dry sparkling rosé. The sparkling rosé should showcase some red fruits, which add a nice touch to everything mentioned above.

Dry Lambrusco is another fun sparkling option. Because of its slight effervescence and intense cherry and strawberry flavors, it is an ideal red wine for a Thanksgiving feast. Yes, you read that correctly, a RED sparkling wine. Lambrusco is made in sweet styles so be sure to check the bottle to verify you are grabbing a dry version. If the bottle doesn't clearly state dry, then look to the alcohol. If the ABV is 11.5% or higher, then you will likely be in the dry category.

One last note on sparkling: there are plenty of incredible sparkling wines from places other than Champagne. Spend your money wisely and purchase two bottles of sparkling for the price of one Champagne. You deserve it!

Still white wine

For still white wines, we recommend dry wines with racing acidity. Dry Riesling, dry Chenin Blanc, and Grüner Veltliners are super food friendly wines. We specify “dry” for the Riesling and Chenin Blanc because both wines are produced in both dry, off-dry, and sweet styles. You can find delicious dry Riesling from Willamette, Oregon; Finger Lakes, NY; and Alsace, France. For dry Chenin Blanc, seek out Savennières from Loire Valley, France. For Grüner Veltliner, look to Wachau, Austria.

Light to medium-bodied red wines

Switching to red still wines, we recommend seeking out light to medium-bodied red wines that have good acidity, low to medium tannin, and less than 14% ABV. Again, acidity is your friend when pairing wine with so many different foods, and that is true for red wines as well as the sparkling and whites mentioned earlier. Also, with the low to medium tannins and less than 14% ABV, these wines won’t overpower the food. Rather, they will blend seamlessly with each bite, no matter whether it’s turkey with gravy or green bean casserole. Here, we’d recommend Pinot Noir from Willamette, Oregon; Cabernet Franc from Chinon, France or Finger Lakes, NY; Cru Beaujolais from Beaujolais, France; Mencia from Bierzo and Ribeira Sacra, Spain; Barbera from Alba and Asti, Italy; and wines produced from Sangiovese like Brunello di Montalcino and Chianti Classico. All of these wines showcase red fruit, which works well with many of the traditional Thanksgiving flavors.

Fuller red wines

If you’re a fan of bigger wine, well, we’re impressed you kept reading. We’ll reward your patience with a few recommendations. First, a California Zinfandel will serve you well. It’s robust fruit and baking spice notes are a perfect match for a Thanksgiving feast. A GSM blend (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre) from either Southern Rhone or Central Coast California works well with gravy and herb stuffing. The Syrah and Mourvèdre bring the power and structure that fans of big wines will appreciate, and the Grenache rounds everything out with flavors of cherry, strawberries, and raspberries. Lastly, if Cabernet Sauvignon is your jam, then here’s a hint: grab a bottle with some age on it. In fact, that goes for both the Zinfandel and GSM blend recommendations. Tannins soften with age so these wines become more approachable for pairing food after a few years of aging.

Last Call

We hope you find the wine guide informative and helpful. We are thankful for your support!

We wish all of you the very best Thanksgiving.

Sending multifaceted love,

Shenandoah and John

















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