Rather than trying to match wines to individual flavors or dishes, go for bottles that complement a wide variety of foods. Light-bodied red wines that avoid heavy use of oak are a great option. The general rule is that wine that’s lighter, livelier, and lower in alcohol levels goes better with a traditional Thanksgiving feast. Low alcohol content and acidic wine are best since they cut through the richness and heaviness of most traditional dishes. These wines tend to pack enough fruit and acid to complement but not overshadow a range of dishes and flavors.
The Best Red Wines for Thanksgiving
French Gamay, especially Cru Beaujolais, is considered a go-to wine when pairing with Thanksgiving dinner.
Pinot Noir= especially delicate Pinots like many of those made in Oregon's Willamette Valley—is another great choice. "Pinot Noir is a food-friendly wine that often shows classic fall flavors such as cranberry, red apple skin, dried leaves, and allspice.
And runner-up for the best wine to pair with turkey is Zinfandel. Zinfandel is considered to be America’s sweetheart, as it’s an ideal pairing with Thanksgiving dinner dishes for its low tannin levels and can moisten a dry turkey. Its flavors include clove, vanilla, and cinnamon, which are perfect flavors for fall.
One of my favorites is Wrath, San Saba Vineyard Pinot Noir. Deep and full-flavored, the San Saba Pinot Noir has aromas of spice box with flavors of blackberry fruit and cherry cola along with a pleasing earthiness and acidity that knits everything together in a wonderful glass of wine.
Meanwhile, white wines are perfect to pair with Thanksgiving dishes that are light, fruity, or creamy. The best white wine for Thanksgiving dinner must have a well-balanced acidity that matches well with the richness of certain dishes, such as gravy, mashed potatoes, and creamed corn.
Viognier which has a floral and fruity flavor, with notes of peach, and pear, and has low activity. Another white wine that’s great for Thanksgiving dinner is Chenin Blanc, with its spicy and slightly sweet flavors but also high in acidity. Dry Riesling features high acidity which balances out the rich flavors of turkey and gravy. It also makes for a great palate fresher, allowing you to enjoy other rich dishes after a serving of stuffed turkey. Additionally, Sauvignon Blanc is perfect for traditional dishes with its light and crisp notes, making its higher acidity level perfect for cleaning the palate.
While fuller-bodied wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are crowd-pleasers, their bold and typically oaky notes are better suited to the roasted red meats of December's holidays. If you love them, by all means, serve them.
The Best Dessert Wines for Thanksgiving
Once the main dinner is over, it’s now time for the after-dinner celebration with sweets and desserts. The best pairing for dessert is of course dessert wine that is sweet with low acidity and alcohol levels.
Muscat is a great dessert wine for being slightly sweet, with a musky and orangey tang. Port wine is also perfect for its sweet and fruity flavors, as well as nutty notes from aging in oak.
Sparkling wines offer relief from the heaviness of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and their crisp, sweet flavor pairs well with Thanksgiving desserts, such as pecan and pumpkin pies.
The Best Rose’ Wines for Thanksgiving
Rose is great for Thanksgiving dinner because it’s easy on the palate and not too intense even for guests who’ve never drunk wine before. Rose is crisp, light, and fruity, making it ideal for a heavy meal.
Provencal Rose is a French option that’s considered to be the golden standard when it comes to Rose wines. It is refreshing and citrusy. The Rose version of Pinot Noir is also perfect for hearty dishes, which come from the full-bodied red wine.