Best wine and turkey pairings. photo: lamellirostralfrog/Getty Images

From rich, balanced whites, to earthy, fruit-driven reds, we’re letting you in on where to look at your local wine shop for the best wines to sip with turkey this Thanksgiving Day. 

Vicki Denig
November 12, 2018
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Pairing wine with Thanksgiving Day turkey is actually not as difficult as it seems. The meat’s succulent flavor profile and juicy texture make it the perfect match for an array of diverse grape varieties, hailing from various regions all over the globe. From rich, balanced whites, to earthy, fruit-driven reds, we’re letting you in on where to look at your local wine shop for the best wines to sip with turkey this Thanksgiving Day. 

Chardonnay

No matter which region you look to, you can’t go wrong in pairing Chardonnay with your turkey. Although the grape’s expressions vary worldwide, the wine’s crisp acidity, mineral undertones, and fruit-forward nature bring out the best that turkey has to offer. Old World expressions, particularly from France, will generally show more minerality and citrus-driven notes, while New World expressions, from the USA, Australia, or South America, will tend to show more juicy, stone fruit flavors. Best of all? Chardonnay is a great choice for basting turkey-- as well as sipping alongside said preparation. 

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Pinot Noir

For red wine lovers, Pinot Noir with turkey is a no brainer. The wine’s bright high acidity, as well as extreme versatility on the table, make it a solid choice for pairing not only with turkey, but also the handful of sides that will cover the rest of your plate. Upon scouring the shelves at your local wine shop, look to Old World regions for earthier expressions, noted with mushroom and tart cherry flavors. For juicy, more fruit-forward bottlings, look no further than the United States, Australia, and other New World growing areas. 

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Viognier

While Viognier might not be as popular of a variety as Chardonnay, it’s certainly one of turkey’s greatest matches. Fleshy and round, the wine’s juicy stone fruit flavors and floral, honeyed undertones are ideal with tender turkey meat. Haven’t tasted Viognier yet? Thanksgiving is a great time to start. Search for solid expressions from the Northern Rhone, Australia, and South Africa sections of your local wine shop.

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Gamay

Beaujolais is synonymous with Turkey Day—though we recommend passing on Nouveau style expressions and grabbing a bottle of quality Cru Beaujolais instead. Produced entirely from Gamay, the wine’s high acid, low tannins, and juicy mouthfeel make it one of the best bottles to pair with turkey. Consult your local wine shop staff for advice on which cru they love best.

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Dry Riesling

There’s no better time to break your guests’ Riesling stereotypes than Turkey Day! Forget the explosively sugar ridden bottles that used to dominate the market; dry Riesling is back and better than ever, proving to be one of the Thanksgiving Day dinner table’s most versatile wines. High in acid, abundant in minerality, and over delivering in versatility, we can’t think of a better wine to go with turkey, stuffing, and all of your other Thanksgiving dinner sides. 

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Zinfandel  

There’s a reason why Zinfandel has long been a Thanksgiving Day staple—it’s one of the best wines with turkey. Jammy, juicy, and fruit forward, these bottles pair gorgeously with both light and dark meats, as well as an array of sides. We recommend grabbing a few bottles of Zin from your local wine shop—once your dinner guests get a taste, they’ll definitely be wanting more. 

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Champagne

No holiday is a true celebration until a bottle of bubbly gets popped, and Thanksgiving is no exception. As much as we love bubbles from other areas around the globe, for special holidays as such, we recommend springing for the real stuff. High in acid, insanely food-friendly, and just about as festive as it gets, Champagne might just be the best wine to sip with turkey-- as well as pre-dinner, post dinner, and every second in between. 

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