You’ve powered through your Thanksgiving prep checklist, prepped your home for out-of-town guests and, of course, picked a delicious way to cook the bird. But don’t overlook a key component of your Thanksgiving celebration — selecting the wine!
To really add polish and maybe even a little sparkle to the overall feast, consider our favorite Thanksgiving wine and appetizer suggestions.
Here’s what made the cut as our top choices for the holiday.
Red Wines for Thanksgiving
A cold-weather staple, there are a few standout reds that can really enhance your Thanksgiving dinner. Also, a glass of red wine can aid digestion so you can consider not just seconds, but maybe even thirds.
Pinot Noir: This staple features earthy tones, warm spices, dark berries and low tannins to help support the flavors of food, particularly turkey. Also pairs perfectly with cheeses, lamb and ham.
*Start the party right with a glass of Pinot and this Lite Bite Appetizer: Herbed Goat Cheese Balls.
Syrah: Earthy, fruity and a little bit more of an exciting choice, this red features a spicy edge and peppery notes that bring out the best of both light and dark turkey meat. Also goes well with peppery dishes or those that feature pungent herbs.
Zinfandel: Wipe the white variety from your memory. This robust red has red berry fruit flavors or even anise and peppery notes that make it juicy and spicy. Try it with your starter salad or spicier dishes, BBQ, grilled foods and even pizza!
*Sip on this Zin with the Lite Bite Appetizer: Wedge Salad on a Stick.
Bonus Varieties: A good Cabernet or Merlot red blend also pairs nicely with turkey or cornish hen. And a Cabernet Sauvignon does well with anything involving mushrooms or butternut squash.
White Wines for Thanksgiving
Lucky for everyone, there’s no set season for white wine anymore. These varietal grapes will complement your turkey, sides and dessert like no one’s business! What we really mean is, any time of year is a great time to stock up on these.
Sauvignon Blanc: Crisp, citrusy, refreshing and lends well to an herby turkey, greens and cheesy bread! Also great if you’re having an alternative main course, such as salmon or other fish.
Gewürztraminer: Upgrade from Moscato to this! Light with flavors of lychee, cantaloupe, pineapple and just a hint of spice, this dry white wine brings out the best in a good turkey and gravy combo and pairs especially well with gamey meats, smoked salmon, muenster and swiss cheese.
*Even better, try it with this Lite Bite appetizer: Prosciutto Wrapped Melon.
Riesling: Crisp, aromatic and with white peach, green apple and lime flavors, this white goes great with a wide spectrum of foods from spicy to salty to sweet. Enjoy with your sweet potatoes and turkey with herb-spiced stuffing.
Pinot Grigio: This crisp, light wine was made for enjoying with onions, garlic, herbs and all of the rich, flavorful dishes that Thanksgiving has to offer. You can’t go wrong pairing this with any course.
Chardonnay: Features complex fruit flavors, such as green apple, pear and pineapple, and is the best with shellfish, white fish, chicken, turkey, pork, legumes, pasta and creamy sauces.
Chenin Blanc: Similar to Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc, this white tastes great sweet or dry. Even better, it was made for that turkey and cranberry sauce combo! It also pairs well with creamy cheeses, red bell peppers, carrots, cauliflower and corn.
* This Lite Bite Appetizer: Individual Veggie Dippers couldn’t be more of a perfect pairing.
Viognier: Add this wildcard to your Thanksgiving dinner and look like a pro for rolling out this exotic white wine as opposed to the similar and better known Chardonnay. Perfect for spice-rubbed turkey and root veggies, which we’re sure there will be plenty of!
Wines to Make Everyone Happy: Rosé and Sparkling Wines
Here’s where you should really keep an open mind and break all those seasonal preconceptions on wine, because you don’t want to miss out on these choices. These wines are great for all courses, all flavors and those people who aren’t fans of white or red. A rosé is crisp, refreshing and goes with anything on the table! And sparkling wines were made for all kinds of food. Go for a dry instead of a brut if you prefer more fruity flavors. For the ultimate flavor combo, we suggest pairing with these Bacon Parmesan Brussels Sprouts — so delicious!
Wine Image Credit: 365thingsaustin