When November rolls around each year, much is said about the best Thanksgiving wine pairings. There are the classic pairings, such as Pinot Noir or Beaujolais, and the off-beat pairings, like skin-fermented Pinot Grigio or Champagne for the entire meal.
The truth of the matter is that Thanksgiving is one of the most wine-friendly meals out there. The reason is simple: The cornerstone of the meal, the turkey, is a blank canvas. That’s why it can be baked, smoked, or even deep-fried, and complements a smorgasbord of side dishes.
Depending on what style of Thanksgiving meal you prefer or what mood you’re in, Thanksgiving pairings can go in any direction. Here’s a go-to bottle for every style imaginable.
Crisp and Clean: Stemmari Grillo 2016, Sicily, Italy
Crisp and clean doesn’t have to mean standard and boring. This Grillo from Sicily has all the citrus zest and crunchy green apple of a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio, but with added zip and minerality. It’ll add a little dash of summer onto your holiday plate. Average price: $10
Creamy and Buttery: Inman Family Wines Chardonnay 2014, Russian River Valley, California
For those who like an extra pat of butter on their mashed potatoes, the Inman Family Wines Chardonnay has enough richness to be satisfying but lift to keep you from feeling overly stuffed. Creamy, fruited succulence on the nose is sliced by linear, clean acidity on the palate, combining the best of both worlds. Average price: $28
Savory and Textured: Oremus ‘Mandolas’ Dry Tokaji 2015, Tokaj, Hungary
This nutty, savory, dry Tokaji is that extra pinch of salt to make all flavors pop. Made from Furmint, it has a waxy almond, sherry-like quality to the nose, along with yellow apple and lemon oil. While it isn’t for everyone, it’s exactly what umami lovers want. Average price: $23
Light and Juicy: Bow & Arrow ‘Rhinestones’ 2016, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Pinot Noir and Gamay are perhaps the two most classic Thanksgiving grapes, which makes this blend of the two the epitome of classic Thanksgiving wine. Made by an Oregon-based husband-and-wife team, the Rhinestones is lifted and juicy, with accents of tart, savory earth and acidity on the palate. Average price: $23
Earthy and Herbal: Olivier Cousin ‘Pur Breton’ 2016, Loire Valley, France
Natural Cabernet Franc is one of the most perfect turkey pairings because its rustic, herbal, tart nature is so reminiscent of cranberry sauce. This biodynamic bottle from the Loire Valley is all ripe red fruit and earth on the nose with tangy raspberry, cranberry, and an undercurrent of herbal spice on the palate. Average price: $22
Full-flavored and powerful: Château Haut Condissas ‘Prestige’ 2009, Bordeaux, France
If you’re ready to wow your guests with a Thanksgiving pairing, this bold, rich, layered Bordeaux is the one to go with. It’s unmistakably in your face but layered and lovely at the same time, with black cherry fruit, baking spices, bitter chocolate, and dusty clay. In classic Old World fashion, the finish is dry, saving the palate from being overwhelming. Average price: $60
Rich but Smooth: Bodegas Caro ‘Amancaya’ Reserve Red Blend 2015, Mendoza, Argentina
Lovers of smooth, juicy wines don’t necessarily want to skimp on impact, making this blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon a happy medium. It combines dark black fruit, violet, mint, and vanilla, with ripe, plentiful fruit on the palate. Average price: $14