By contributing writer Mary Cressler
Thanksgiving is coming! And if you’re already stressing about what wines to buy, you’re not alone. But don’t fret! With this Thanksgiving Wine Guide, we’ve made it easy for you when selecting wines to go with this celebratory meal. All you need is your Wine4.Me app and the following advice.
There is a lot going on with your traditional Thanksgiving dinner and that can complicate your wine selection — spices, richness, fruity, salty, sweet, and savory flavors – and you’re typically not eating each dish in individual courses. Instead, you’re loading it all up on one plate. So it is not necessary, or advisable, to bother finding a wine for each individual dish. It’s a smorgasbord of flavors, so let’s focus on finding a few versatile wines that pair well with this potpourri of flavors.
But isn’t Thanksgiving about the turkey?
The turkey is usually paired with rich gravy, a potato dish, vegetables, tart cranberries, stuffing, and some form of a casserole dish. So don’t worry about finding a wine specifically for the bird (but we will show you how to find a wine for roasted turkey just in case).
Below is a basic guide with standard wine recommendations to have at your dinner. To make it easy for you, we’ll show you how to use your Wine4.Me app to find the right wines for your holiday meal.
Thanksgiving Wine Guide
In my opinion, all celebrations and holiday dinners should begin with sparkling wine. It is festive and goes with everything, especially appetizers and salty foods, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money on it. Some of my favorite go-to bubbles are between $10 – $20. Though sparkling wine is not yet on the Wine4.Me app, you can keep it simple by searching for a Cava from Spain at your local wine store or supermarket.
Riesling – A versatile Thanksgiving Wine
Riesling can be dry or sweet, spicy, fruity, and fragrant. Think of the comfort flavors of this meal (honey, apple pie, baking spices) and look for a dry to semi-sweet Riesling. It will pair well with the sweet potatoes, provide contrast to the richness of the gravy, and has enough acidity to stand up to stuffing, turkey, etc.
You can look to European regions like Germany, but for this American holiday, great Rieslings can be found domestically in Oregon and Washington as well as the Finger Lakes region of New York.
To find a Riesling using your Wine4.Me app, tap “White Wines” then scroll down and tap “Riesling.”
If you wish, you can then filter by region, winery, or country or sort by price, fit, personal rating, or year.
Gewürztraminer is another white wine that may present itself dry or sweet, depending on the style. Look for dry to semi-sweet for the meal. These wines are aromatic, floral, and spicy with a zestiness that allows it to pair nicely with side dishes that may have a bit more kick to them. If the wine is sweet or dessert-style it would be a nice option for pumpkin pie. To find a wine using the app, follow the instructions above, but select Gewürztraminer instead of Riesling.
Rosé is known for being a summer wine, but it is also fantastically versatile with Thanksgiving dinner. Light, refreshing, and fruity, most rosé wines are amazingly food friendly and will pair well with almost everything you are likely to have on your table this Thanksgiving.
To find one using the app, tap”Pink Wines” then choose Grenache, Other Pink Blends, or Pinot Noir. You can further narrow it down to French or Spanish rose by using the filter for options that will compliment the meal the best.
Pinot Noir is a traditional favorite for Thanksgiving, and for good reason. It is a solid option because it typically has bright fruit (think cherries, cranberries, raspberries) and earth (think mushrooms), so it is perfect for the combination of fruity, earthy, and spice filled foods of Thanksgiving. This wine will compliment, without overpowering, almost all of the flavors of the day. Being an Oregonian I have to vote Oregon Pinot for this (though you’ll find some excellent options from all over the globe with the app)!
A red wine option that is bigger and bolder than Pinot Noir, but still maintains a balancing effect on many traditional dishes. Zinfandels can be rich but not very tannic, with great fruit and spice characteristics, and still compliment richer flavors of the day (like sweet potatoes, gravy, and roasted vegetables). This would be a great option for your guests who may be looking for a heartier wine with deeper flavors.
- Have at least three wine options: sparkling, a white, and a red. Don’t worry about having too much. There are plenty of things to do with any leftover wine.
- Magnums (1.5 liters) are great for larger crowds (6-10 people).
- Don’t stress about finding a specific wine for each dish.
- You don’t need to spend a lot of money on Thanksgiving wine. Using the app, you can filter by price to find something right for each budget.
- Most importantly, have a fantastic time enjoying good food, good wine, family, and friends.
How to Find a Wine for a Specific Dish
I’ve mentioned how to use the app to find the wines recommended above, but here’s how you would use it to find something for a specific dish, like turkey.
Start by tapping “Find Wine/Food Pairings” and then tap “Food” at the top of the next screen. You can then enter a search term such as “turkey” or scroll down until you see “Turkey (Roasted).” You’ll find a long list of applicable wine recommendations. It’s as easy as that!
Don’t forget to rate the wines you enjoy with your dinner. Each time you rate a wine in the Wine4.Me app, the app uses that information to get better and better at creating your own personalized ranked list.
Now you tell us, what are your favorite wines for Thanksgiving dinner?
Mary Cressler is a Certified Sommelier, a Wine Location Specialist, and the proprietor of Vindulge: Wine Education & Consulting. She conducts wine classes and events and offers consulting for individuals, restaurants, and event planners.
She writes about wine, food, and travel on her blog Vindulge. Mary resides in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, twin boys, and two Chihuahuas.