Thanksgiving Wine Pairings

Thanksgiving Wine Pairings

Nov 11, 2015

This is the time of year to stock up on wine!  Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving or wanting to bring something to share wine is always appreciated.

Sometimes it is hard to know just what kind everyone will like or what pairs well with certain types of food, so once you know the menu follow these safe bets below.

Whether it is turkey, ham, pork, or chicken that you are serving this holiday season, know that there really is a “perfect” wine that compliments the type of meal or dish that you plan on serving. 

Thanksgiving wine pairings - Food and Wine.jpg

Photo courtesy of Food and Wine

Act like a pro and impress your guests with these wine pairing tips and safe choices to serve at your Thanksgiving meal.

White Wine Fans:

  • Pinot Grigio
    • Popular white wine at Thanksgiving
    • Can withstand the rich aromas and flavors of garlic, onions, herbs, and higher fat dishes
  • Riesling
    • White wine that can either be quite sweet or fairly dry
    • Pairs well with dishes that are spicy, salty or sweet
    • May have flavors of apple, apricot, or honey with a clarifying acidity that pairs nicely with sweet potatoes, turkey and heavily spiced herb-filled stuffing
  • Sauvignon Blanc
    • Crisp white wine
    • Citrus-based flavor with herb or mineral undertones and pairs well with turkey and mashed potatoes

Red Wine Fans:

  • Pinot Noir
    • Popular red wine at Thanksgiving
    • Has subtle earthy undertones with fruity features and pairs well with traditional stuffing and turkey
  • Zinfandel
    • Fuller bodied red wine compared to Pinot Noir, but is well balanced for most Thanksgiving side dishes
    • Great choice for those looking for a heartier wine that accommodates spicy, bitter, and sweet flavors.
  • Syrah/Shiraz
    • Brings a spicy edge or meaty character to the table that can handle the cornucopia of flavors at a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
  • Rose’/Sherry/Sparkling
    • These provide a middle-of-the-road choice for those that haven’t quite made up their mind – Red vs. White
    • If considering a sparkling wine then choose an “extra dry” wine that will provide more fruit flavors than a “brut” will.
    • A drier selection is best for rose’ wines to provide the most versatility with your Thanksgiving feast.

Basic Wine Pairing Tips by Protein for Any Occasion:

  • Rotisserie chicken paired with Chardonnay or a lighter red wine
  • Beef tenderloin paired with a Merlot or Bordeaux
  • Baked ham paired with a fruity red or white wine like Riesling
  • Pork roast paired with a Rose’
  • White fish like tilapia paired with a fruity white wine like Chardonnay
  • Grilled salmon or tuna paired with Pinot Noir
  • Shrimp & scallops paired with a semi-dry white wine like Sauvignon Blanc

Desserts & wine pairings are another story.  However the go-to delicious pumpkin pie that is almost always present at the Thanksgiving table pairs well with a port wine if you are looking to serve a variety of wines at your holiday meal! 

Most of us are trying to avoid the inevitable 4,500 calories consumed on Thanksgiving day, so remember to limit yourself to no more than 1 glass of wine for females and 2 glasses for males - That rule does not apply to slices of Pie!

Melanie Kluzek, Registered Dietitian for County Market



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