What Kind of Wine to Serve for Thanksgiving or Bring to a Turkey Dinner?


A lot of people have been asking us, what kind of wine should I serve on Thanksgiving? It’s a complicated question, because the holiday can give way to a wide range of dishes and personalities alike.

“Thanksgiving is when a great diversity of humanity comes to your table,” says Jay Buchsbaum, Wine Educator. “You have the uninitiated wine taster, the serious business man, your cousin, the attorney.”

And, like the people at your table, the kinds of food you’re serving can be vastly different from each other. For Jay, one Thanksgiving wine isn’t enough. The good news? He has plenty of suggestions.

“A diversity of wines will not only satisfy a large group of people, but will be sure to go with each one of your dishes.”

So what kind of wines go well with the typical Thanksgiving fare?

In terms of taste, the typical Thanksgiving dish is the perfect marriage between savory and sweet, and needs a wine with that same measured flavor.

“For a dish that’s off-dry, like turkey and cranberry sauce, or yams, you need a wine that’s just a bit sweet, with good balance of acidity and fruit.” SUGGESTED WINE: Baron Herzog Chenin Blanc

If you’re looking for a real rarity, try an off-dry red, served chilled. This kind of red can stand up to flavor like mushrooms and shallots, yet still retain enough sweetness to match the food. SUGGESTED WINE: Jeunesse Cabernet. 100% Cabernet based, this wine uses amelioration (adding grape juice) to give it enough sugar while still maintaining character and depth.

Thanksgiving food is also known for being hearty. Let’s just say this meal isn’t for the weak of stomach. Try reaching for a robust Chardonnay. “I’m looking at chardonnays that have a rich sense of vanilla, oak, and body. The foods you have on Thanksgiving are full of texture and flavor, and a rich chardonnay will complement that.”
SUGGESTED WINES: Shiloh Chardonnay, Herzog Russian River Chardonnay

And, because, “It’s a celebration, after all!” you’re going to need something sparkling.
SUGGESTED WINES: For those with a sweet tooth at your table, pour Bartenura Spumante. Those looking for something more dry can taste Drappier Champagne.

Last, but certainly not least (just ask your grandmother), is dessert. A berry based or dark double chocolate dessert is typically great with a
port, while a lighter dessert, like ice cream or apple pie, goes well with a nice white wine.
SUGGESTED WINES: For port, try Psagot Prat. While technically not a port wine (it’s made in Israel, not Portugal) the darkly sweet, rich taste is still there. For the white wine, try lusciously sweet Piada Sauternes.

Whether you’re hosting a table of wine snobs or sipping novices, a colorful array of wines will be sure to please everybody at some point. Getting your whole family happy at the same time? Well, a person can dream.

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