Wine Pairing Tips for Your Thanksgiving Dinner

Wine pairing tips just in time for the Thanksgiving table.
You’ve spent days crafting the ideal Thanksgiving menu – right down to the condiments you will serve. But, now is the hardest part: picking wines. Sure, cooking and cleanup are arguably a pain, but picking the wines that will compliment your dishes and entertain your holiday guests is no easy feat either – that is, until now.

First, realize that not all turkey dinners are created equal – so never assume one wine will rule them all. Instead, you need to know the right type of wine based on the recipe you’re using for your turkey.

For a Baked Turkey

Perfectly baked turkeys are somewhat of a myth, but for some of us gourmands, it can be attained. If you are confident your turkey will be tender, juicy and turn out perfect the moment it escapes the oven, then you will want to stick with:

  • Dry and herbaceous wines. These should have floral notes, tart fresh fruit flavors and perhaps even a tinge of cranberry.
  • Red wines paired with spices like cinnamon and allspice – perfect for also bringing out the flavor of your sweet potato casserole.
  • A dusty fruity red – ideal for cranberry sauce, turkey and gravy.
  • Need something quick and guarantee? Then opt for the Pinot Noir. It’s dark, sultry and has the right hint of fruit flavors to bring out your buttery perfect turkey.

    Overall, you don’t need to spend more than $15 on a bottle either – there are plenty of great wines for under $10 that will match well with your turkey.

    Need some wine fast? California Wine Club is a great place to start hunting down your Pinot Noirs or sultry, fruity reds.

    When the Turkey Goes Dry

    No one intends for their turkey to come out of the oven dry, but it does happen to even the best cook. If your turkey is going to be a little on the dry side, plop a few of these types of wines on your table:

  • Boozier versions of apple cider – with perfumed apple, raspberry and orange aromas. Consider a sweet red sparkling wine to give you the flavor and lighten up your dried bird.
  • A dry American rose, which offers a red, bold fruit flavor that is super juicy and easily lightens up the heaviness of dry turkey.
  • Gold Medal Wine Club has quite a few roses and sparkling wines to choose from in their Wine Store – and you can even pick a wine combo case for your holiday entertaining.

    For the Smoked Turkey

    Smoke turkeys are beautiful. They have a crunchy skin, juicy tender meat and are by far one of the more delightful fixings to find on a Thanksgiving spread. If you plan to smoke your turkey, however, you need a wine that can stand up to the notes and offer something sweet and rich.

    For the smoked turkey, consider adding the following to your table:

  • A blended red will be fruity, bold and still light enough to handle your turkey.
  • Red Zinfandel offers flavors of raspberry and tobacco – which are smoky and sweet enough to pair up with your smoked turkey.
  • Dry red. This will have notes of vegetables, leather and fruits (such as cranberry or cherry) and an overall earthy tone that brings out the natural wood flavors of your smoker.
  • We suggest hunting down your smoke-ready reds at Wine.com – they have the largest selection of fine red wines and Zinfandels to choose from.

    For the Deep Fried Turkey

    You’re bold and you’re going to skip the traditional and go straight for the deep fryer. First, we hope you plan on doing so outside. Second, you need a wine as bold as you are, but able to combat the “fried” of your turkey.

    For fried anything, we recommend a sparkling wine. They are light, fruity and will cut the fat and salt associated with your deep-fried bird. Sparkling roses or sparkling whites are typically best – they have the fruit flavors and creamy bubbles to add finesse to your table.

    Head over to the Global Wine Cellars Wine Shop to see if they have the sparkling wines you’re looking for. And, just for an FYI, sparkling wines are champagnes.

    Fried, smoked or baked, now you have a group of wines ready to take on your Thanksgiving dinner and all the delicious fixings. The only question is: will we be invited?

    Get more Thanksgiving ideas by visiting our Thanksgiving board on Pinterest!

    Don't forget to stock up your at-home cellar by checking out some of our favorite wine of the month clubs too.



    Shailynn is a word slinger, chef, Pinterest addict and adult coloring book collector. As our Operations Manager and Senior Researcher/Editor, you will find Shailynn busy finding new companies and topics to research, but also handling the crazy day-to-day on the backend – and by crazy…we mean all of us. She attended the International Culinary Institute, where she studied pastry arts and she worked as an executive pastry chef before hanging up her chef’s hat and decided to work from home as a writer. She is a fanatic for a great cup of coffee or wonderful glass of wine! Shailynn is a mother of three and married to a handsome firefighter.

    Compare items
    • Accounting Software (0)
    • Beer Clubs (0)
    • Brownie Shops (0)
    • Chocolate Clubs (0)
    • Cloud Backup (0)
    • Coffee Clubs (0)
    • Gift Basket Merchants (0)
    • Meal Delivery Kits (0)
    • Pet Insurance (0)
    • Small Business Phone Systems (0)
    • Web Conferencing (0)
    • Web Hosting (0)
    • Wine Clubs (0)
    • (0)
    Compare
    0