This November on VinePair, we’re celebrating everything about American Wine. From up-and-coming regions and our favorite bottles, to the challenges winemakers are facing right now, we’re turning a spotlight on the industry across the United States.
Fall has officially arrived, and in this short-but-sweet period after the faux spider webs and pumpkin decor have vanished and Christmas bells have not yet rung, our minds are fixated on thoughts of cornucopias and pecan pies.
And while many may argue that turkey is the star of the Thanksgiving table, we at VinePair believe that the holiday would be just as incomplete without a bottle or three of delicious wine. But with the myriad flavors on the holiday table, it can be hard to choose the perfect wines to complement the meal.
That’s why VinePair tasted dozens of wines to compile a well-rounded list of Turkey Day accompaniments. These are the 29 best of the bunch, at price points accessible for oenophiles on any budget. Read on for the absolute best wines to drink this Thanksgiving.
The Best Red Wines for Thanksgiving
An inventive swap for your typical Thanksgiving Beaujolais Nouveau, this Malbec Nouveau smells like blackberries and cooking herbs and is nice and juicy with a savory punch. The acidity is on point, making this an ideal pairing for everything from cheese plates to mashed potatoes. Rating: 90
With aromas of cherries, fresh earth, and a sprinkling of cinnamon, this is a Pinot sure to please everyone at the table. It’s well balanced, with a tight fruit core, a slight tannin on the palate, and a nice acidity that keeps it bright. Rating: 89
This is a funky wine, with notes of cracked black pepper and freshly crushed blackberries. It would pair well with stinky cheese or the dark meat on your Thanksgiving bird. Rating: 91
Aromas of overripe strawberries and white pepper make this a wonderful, quintessential holiday wine. The palate is bright, but has a depth of fruit that shines. This wine would show nicely after a 30-minute chill in the fridge — refreshing the palate during a heavy holiday meal. Rating: 91
Bright, brambly fruit and freshly turned soil awaken the senses. This is an earthy wine, with high acidity that amplifies on the palate. Another wine to chill down, this classic Thanksgiving Beaujolais would be the perfect pairing for juicy turkey and all your favorite sides. Rating: 95
On the nose, this bottling is reminiscent of bruised apple, blackberry jam, and hints of herbs and pepper. The palate has a nice savory appeal to it, along with a good concentration of fruit and enough acidity to complement that density. If you love big, bold reds, this wine is for you. Rating: 90
Aromas of cinnamon, honeysuckle, and cherries continue from the nose to the palate, followed by just the right amount of fruit depth. This is a juicy, balanced Grenache that’s ripe and ready for drinking on its own or with all the holiday staples. Rating: 93
With inviting salinity on the nose, this wine tantalizes the senses with notes of cheese rind, cherry liqueur, and balsamic glaze. Paired with baked macaroni and cheese, this wine would truly shine. Rating: 89
This is a floral Pinot, with notes of earthy moss and red fruit. Bright and light on the palate, this high-acid bottling is a crowd pleaser with a little something for everyone at the table. Rating: 88
With a burst of bright, juicy cherry on the nose, this wine has a great concentration of fruit that balances out its high levels of acid. It is a crowd-pleasing Pinot to sip throughout the meal and beyond. Rating: 91
Aromas of dried cherries are followed by soft flavors of cherry cola. A good concentration of fruit and minimal acid make this wine beautifully balanced. The best part? It’s extremely easy to find, meaning you can grab a few bottles to last you through the holiday season. Rating: 90
Notes of dark berry fruit, earth, and balsamic vinegar sing on the nose and continue on the palate. Good acidity, lean fruit, and a solid tannin structure lift the wine up on the palate, making it light, bright, and ideal for pairing with the heaviest of holiday meals. Rating: 90
The sweetness of dried fruit is complemented by a nice acidity and a distinct tannin structure that’s present without overwhelming the palate. This is a great example of how delicious Texas wine can be. Rating: 91
Dark berry fruit shines on the nose and palate, followed by an earthiness that’s lifted up by lean fruit and bright tannins. This is a youthful wine that’s ready to drink now — or cellar for a couple more years. Either way, it’s sure to be a hit at any gathering. Rating: 89
Though this wine is from Sonoma, its lively aromas of ripe raspberry jam and freshly turned earth make it reminiscent of Oregon Pinot. It shows just the right amount of oak, bringing out a whisper of vanilla that accentuates its concentration of fruit. Its near-perfect balance of fruit and acid makes this wine worth its higher price tag. Rating: 96
The Best White Wines for Thanksgiving
Notes of key lime and white pepper are balanced by an enticing minerality in this delightful bottling. This is a versatile wine, pairing with everything from schnitzel to sauteed salmon, and would be perfect for a Friendsgiving celebration. Rating: 88
This perfumed offering smells like spring, with aromas of freshly sliced green apple, honey, spiced pear, and baking spices. Floral and ripe fruit notes stay on the palate for a long, satisfying finish. Rating: 91
The classic, buttery characteristics of California Chardonnay are met with the energizing zing of tart lemon zest. Keep this wine in mind for guests who think they don’t like Chardonnay. This bottle may just change their tune. Rating: 89
Flavors of wet stone, citrus, and ripe pear, combine in one well-balanced, slightly effervescent bottling. While some Rieslings can be overly sweet, this wine is kept in check with good, zesty acidity. Rating: 89
This is a delicious wine, full of the fresh, light flavors of cucumber and tart dried fruit. Grippy on the palate, with a nice minerality and good acidity, it’s everything we seek in an Assyrtiko. Paired with butternut squash soup or a fall salad, this wine is ultra versatile. Rating: 93
The slight sweetness of this Grüner Veltliner is balanced by aromas of lemon pith and the scents of river rocks after a rainstorm. The result is a very balanced offering that can brighten up any meal. Rating: 90
Aromas of spiced pear, fig jam, and honeysuckle carry over from the nose to the palate — followed by notes of fresh flowers and tropical fruit. This is a wine to complement all of autumn’s favorite flavors. Rating: 88
This wine is bursting with aromas of fresh anjou pear, white flowers, and honey. On the palate, honeysuckle is the star — complemented by a nice, concentrated fruit depth. This is a wine to pair with light appetizers or even fruit-based desserts. Rating: 93
An old-school California Chard, this wine has everything we look for in the style: notes of buttery popcorn, vanilla, and lots of oak. But its acidity keeps these flavors in check, resulting in a balanced, dry palate that invites you back for that second sip. Rating: 88
This is a great American Chardonnay. It has aromas of fancy French bistro butter, freshly scraped vanilla beans, and granola. The palate is very balanced for all the depth it gives, making this a great bottle for daytime sipping. It can certainly be paired with a cheese board, but this wine has a drink-on-its-own quality to it. Rating: 92
The Best Sparkling Wines for Thanksgiving
Aromas of crisp green apples intertwine with a vegetal sweetness on the finish. This English sparkling wine has some sharpness at its core, and would pair well with most anything, but particularly well with raw seafood, should you find an oyster or two on your Thanksgiving table.
If your Thanksgiving is less than traditional, this Brazilian pink bubbly is one to snatch up. With lively aromas of cheese and berries, and a palate that’s overflowing with red berry fruit, this wine will drink well with everything from charcuterie to turkey and is sure to impress your coolest guests.
For bubbles that will surprise the palates of your wine-loving guests, Billecart Salmon Sous Bois is unique and elevated. It’s aged on lees for up to seven years, creating a rich, oxidative character to please aged white wine fans. Notes of fresh berries and savory acidity add to its complex character.
This annual release — made using 120 wines from 10 different vintages — proves that non-vintage Champagnes can be just as high-quality and memorable as vintage expressions. 42 percent of the final blend is made with Krug’s extensive collection of reserve wines, bringing depth and distinct character to the forefront. The 168th Edition shows unmistakable oxidative character, enamoring sherry geeks with its manzanilla finish. This is a highly expressive bubbly, with notes of dried citrus, candied ginger followed by nutty notes and a hint of honeysuckle florality.