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As Thanksgiving Day approaches, most of us think about what wines to serve for the special holiday. It is a huge task that can easily overwhelm even wine aficionados.
To help you decide which wines are best for your Thanksgiving feast, below is a list of 20 excellent wines to make your choice easier. Let’s get started!
Our Top Picks
Best Splurge - Goldeneye Ten Degrees Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2017
• Oaky, Leathery, and earthy notes
Best Finish and Texture - El Enemigo Chardonnay 2018
• Mellow start but strong mineral finish
Best Balance of Flavors - Moet & Chandon Imperial Brut
• Beautiful and vibrant nose
Dan and Margaret Duckhorn, founders of Goldeneye winery in California, decided to expand their operations by purchasing an additional vineyard in Anderson Valley to become one of America’s greatest Pinot Noir regions.
Ten Degrees wine celebrates the beauty and elegance of Anderson Valley, with each sip revealing new layers to savor. It showcases four estate vineyards, namely Confluence Vineyard, Gowan Creek, Split Rail, and The Narrows.
This exquisite wine takes its time revealing itself, but in the end, it leaves you with an unforgettable impression. Its unique taste is an amalgamation of spices and berries with smoky notes that linger on your palate. The complex yet refined flavor profile makes it perfect!
Chateauneuf-du-Pape is a wine that will make you feel like royalty. This ruby-red gem has an elegant and intense nose with notes of chocolate, sweet spices, red fruit flavors, and more. It also has a perfect balance between tannins and acidity.
The 2018 vintage is a perfect example of how the right conditions can make all the difference. The vines were tended lovingly by expert growers, who ensured that the grapes received plenty of water and nutrients throughout their growing season before flowering.
Furthermore, Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines are produced by following the same process as those made in Beaucastel. After undergoing vinification, they're tasted to define their blend and then aged in oak foudres for two years before release!
One of the most prized properties in Germany, Prüm Estate, was founded by Johann Josef Prumm over 100 years ago. It is now run by Katharina Prüm to watch their 13.5 hectares devoted exclusively to Riesling cultivation on these steep slate slopes within Mosel Valley.
Like a tropical tango on your tongue, this delicate and silky Riesling will leave you wanting more. The flavors are calculated yet restrained in nature which creates an exciting balance between the two textural qualities of its wine: crisp with a mineral-tinged long finish.
This Riesling’s nectarine, passion fruit, and tropical flavors perfectly balance the floral aroma. The wine also shows spice accents with mint lingering in the background for an appealing complexity.
This wine is a product of Marenco, whose family history has been inextricably linked to vineyards and wine for generations. Giuseppe Marenco started from growing grapes into making wine - eventually helping his father's small estate grow.
This dessert wine is exquisite with delicate, sparkling rose-colored liquid that falls into the glass-like dew on flowers. The aroma of roses and raspberries fills your nose as you take in each sip. It's sweet but not cloying, which makes for an elegant balance to its refreshing taste profile.
Sparkling reds such as the Brachetto d'Acqui Pineto make excellent Thanksgiving wines because they have a festive vibe without being too overwhelming. This delicate wine will make your mood even better as you go back into the dining room for seconds!
The Pio Cesare 2019 Barbera d'Alba delivers a little bit of everything. With the rich flavor profile you would expect from this esteemed grape, it also features fresh dark fruit and tobacco with hints of plummy flavors throughout every pour!
Barbera grapes give this wine full structure that is complex yet easy-going at the same time. The spices bring in ripe fruit flavorings to make this wine rich but not overwhelming on your palate.
Furthermore, the Barbera wine is known to be one of the most food-friendly wines in Italy. The red beverage shines with roasted poultry, which is why it's perfect for Thanksgiving! It can be served at room temperature or slightly chilled.
This wine is aged in a combination of stainless and large oak barrels. It has been created from 40-year-old vines, which gives it an interesting flavor profile with some green fruit present on the palette as well!
South African Chenin Blancs are taking the world by storm. These bold flavor profiles and brilliant value make them a favorite among aficionados, particularly those with an appreciation for unique wines that do not break your bank account!
7. Chandon Brut Rose
This rosé wine has plenty of personalities to go around with its robust flavor and bubbly characteristic! You won't be able to stop drinking it once you try one sip because they're just that good for any special occasion.
Juicy fruit flavors and aromas will fill your senses as you sip on this Rose. The first thing that hits is a fresh red cherry fruit aroma and intense ripe strawberry in each glassful. Then it moves onto watermelon for a refreshing change of pace to help cool off during hot days!
The wine's creamy and seductive flavors are a result of the blend from Pinot Noir. Chandon Rosé is perfect for pairing with any dish you want to add an elegant touch of class.
La Crema has a special affinity with the autumn flavors perfectly suited to this time of year. You can pair it off with appetizers and salads to set them apart from other dishes, as well as delightful desserts.
The nose on this bottle is like walking through a botanical garden. The warm sandstone, lemon, butter, and paraffin scent mixed with notes of baked nectarine, guava, pineapple, and brioche flavors make you want to take another sip.
La Crema is a winery known for its consistent quality in the USA. They produce wines from top cool-climate appellations like the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, and Monterey, with their most recent venture being Willamette.
The aromas of this great wine are filled with the sweet scent of lemon peel, honeyed fruit, and a hint of menthol. The flavor lingers on your tongue and has that satisfying feel in every sip you take!
Ripe yet lean, this elegant Riesling is a worthy accompaniment to shellfish and white meats. It also has excellent minerality in its rich, supple texture that imparts an appealing crispness on the palate. Furthermore, the Réserve quality is a must for those who want to enjoy the finest Alsace Riesling.
The grapes are harvested from Trimbach’s vineyards in Ribeauvillé, Hunawihr, and Bergheim, where they were known centuries ago to make some of France's most complex wines.
If you're looking for a way to get your taste buds in the mood before Thanksgiving dinner, try some Brut Cuvee. This Champagne is as beautiful to look at as it tastes. You'll find flavors changing into something new in every wine glass.
The crisp, fresh smell of autumn fills your nose as you take in a deep breath. The vibrant bubbles and golden color attest that this Champagne has a lot of personality, with aromas like ripe peaches, apricots, and pineapples dancing through your senses on every sip.
With its rich, complex flavors, Meunier balances Pinot Noir's power and structure. It also adds lightness of touch and elegance through Chardonnay, while the minerality comes from the Champagne region.
This delicious and refreshing wine is delightfully fragrant with its floral notes. It is reminiscent of strawberries, peaches, and watermelon. You'll also find hibiscus flower petals and cherry tree honey accents to make it extra special.
The first sip of this luxurious fruit drink is refreshing, crisp, and full. The flavors are juicy nectarine with hints of orange peel. You can also sense some strawberry parfait in between layers of soft papaya flesh that soothes your mouth.
Zinfandels are the most quintessentially American wines, and they're perfect for your Thanksgiving wine pairings! The rich flavors of meats, vegetables, and sauces are balanced out by this wine's acidity.
The 2018 Zinfandel is a delicious blend of ripe, jammy fruit with notes reminiscent of an old-fashioned candy store. With its deep garnet-purple-colored hue and enticing flavors like black plums, fruitcake, and raspberry pie, we're sure you'll enjoy this vintage!
This bottle of wine is a full-bodied, spicy fruit bomb with plenty of freshness. The tannins provide balance to keep things interesting while the peppery finish lingers on your palate for some time after drinking it all up!
Villa Wolf Gewürztraminer is a light and fruity wine that will charm your taste buds with its aromatic elements. It's not heavy, ponderous, or tart like some wines can be.
You'll find this wine delectable to drink on its own or as a pairing to spicy cuisines. The grapes were harvested at optimum ripeness for a juicy texture, spice aroma of fresh roses, and delightfully delicate taste that refreshes you in every sip!
The Pfalz region is a winemaking gold mine located just north of France’s Alsatian counterpart. Its location is in the middle of some major mountains that protect it from harsh Atlantic weather, allowing it to achieve full ripeness in nearly every vintage.
Enjoying a delicious glass of Vya Sweet Vermouth is like experiencing the joys that come with holiday baking in your cozy home on Thanksgiving. This sweet blend includes Tinta Roriz, Orange Muscat, and dry white wine, hand-infused with herbs and spices.
It has an interesting mahogany color and displays some sweet herbal aromas that are delicately botanical in nature. The wine then gradually reveals deeper scents of autumn woods mixed with mulled wine and holiday spices.
At first, the flavors are sweet and sour with an underlying spice. As it progresses through your mouth, there's nutmeg at midpalate before moving on to quinine or muscat grapes, followed by orange rind in the aftertaste. This is without doubt one fine vintage for vermouth!
A wine like Jean-Paul Brun’s 'L'Ancien will be a great choice for your Thanksgiving table this year. It's juicy and refreshing and goes well with any dish you'll likely serve. It is also great value since it comes in under $20!
The 2019 Beaujolais l'Ancien is a medium-bodied wine with hints of cherry and berry flavors. This product delivers an array of spices on top, but also some licorice too for good measure! It has bright acidity, which will keep you coming back again.
L'Ancien is made from Jean Paul's oldest vines, which are planted on slopes sporting the area's signature sandy clay-limestone soils. The "dorée" or golden limestone in this region of France lends its wines an exceptionally rich flavor due to their high levels of iron content.
The 2014 Pinot Noir from Freestone Vineyards is a stellar example of what can be achieved when you grow your grapes in an estate-style wine. The flavors of this dry red wine linger, but it does not overpower.
Aromatic red fruit with hints of violet and savory spices fill the nose. Concentrated raspberry jammy currants on tasting give way to smokiness at palate level, thanks to some added oak aging. It's just enough for balance without being overbearing!
The wine is complex, with a nice texture and firm acidity. This mouth-watering, thirst-quenching elixir was aged in French oak barrels for 13 months to make sure that your tongue will be fully satisfied, no matter how many times you take sips!
17. El Enemigo Chardonnay 2018 - Best Finish and Texture
With a name like Chardonnay, you know it's going to be good! But wait until you know how this exceptional wine is made. For nine months of their lives, these wines are aged in French oak barrels. The aging plus the complexity of the barrel equals excellent quality wine!
This white wine is both delicate and complex. The nose offers hints of zesty fruits with nutty aromas, while on the palate, you can taste ripe lemons and apples in perfect harmony for an unforgettable finish.
The body slides down smoothly thanks to its fullness which leaves behind notes such as white pepper or dusty flowers that lingers after each sip. El Enemigo is made with 100% grapes from the Gualtallary vineyard that boasts sandy soils, boulders, and limestone.
Schramsberg has been making American-made sparklers since 1965! Nothing soothes the palate like a nice glass of sparkling wine on Thanksgiving, and what could be more festive than this wine for Turkey Day?
The rich, mouthwatering blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines hails from Sonoma County in California. The aroma offers fresh notes of apricots or almond crumble, with a prominent brioche on the nose that comes through in this medium-bodied brut.
The fruit flavors of this wine will develop with time. The bright acidity provides a crisp note to the otherwise mellow flavor profile. It is not too tart or acidic for those who prefer their white wines on the drier side.
Claret is a staple of the Diamond Collection. It reflects different vineyards from all over France with soil that contributes to its complexity and depth. 80% Cabernet Sauvignon makes up most parts of this wine blend alongside 17% Petit Verdot, 2% Petite Sirah, and 1% Malbec.
The rich extraction and fragrant spice notes will have you feeling like royalty, while supple tannins provide that extra layer of complexity without being overbearing or harsh on the palate. With an extended growing season, these highly concentrated fruits are enhanced by full-body.
Claret is a type of wine that has a deep, rich flavor. It's typically well-balanced and pairs nicely with smoked or grilled food to bring out its best qualities.
20. Moet & Chandon Imperial Brut - Best Balance of Flavors
The House of Moet & Chandon is best known for its iconic Champagne. It embodies all that you would expect from this house. It has an elegant color and bouquet with plenty of tasting notes to make your mouth watery.
Apple, pear, and yellow peach together with honey and elegant blond notes bring out floral nuances for some extra complexity on top of everything else! The finish leaves you wanting more but also satisfied, knowing it was worth every sip.
This Champagne has golden straw yellow with amber highlights and is an elegant gem that combines generosity and subtlety in equal measure. Deep flavors are revealed too throughout this wine's mouthwatering palate. It is no wonder why this is one of the best Thanksgiving wines ever!
Best Wines for Thanksgiving Buying Guide
The wine type is essential because you want to purchase a wine that is in accordance with the meal or atmosphere. Generally, white wines like Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay are great Thanksgiving wine pairings with white meat like turkey and seafood.
On the other hand, red wines go well with red meat and more decadent foods. So if you like to serve prime rib, lamb, or beef tenderloin for Thanksgiving, be sure to have Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, or other red wines on hand.
Moreover, sparkling wines, and rosé, are good all-around beverages for Thanksgiving, consumed before, during, or after meals. The effervescence and the lightness of such wines greatly counter the heaviness of the meal. They also go well with desserts, like sweet potatoes and pies.
The wine type also dictates the body of the wine. The body lets you know if it will stand up to or be overwhelmed by your meal; thus, matching is critical!
Pairing wine with certain dishes will come easier if you know what you want in a wine's flavor and taste. This factor shouldn't be overlooked because the flavors of the wine should complement your dishes.
This factor is also crucial because it will affect the entire experience of drinking your wine. Tannin is a chemical found in grape skins, seeds, and stems that give red wines astringency or bitterness.
The tannin level affects how harsh or smooth the finish of a bottle of wine will be. It also has a direct effect on how the Thanksgiving food will taste with the wine.
The rich flavors of Thanksgiving are amplified by moderate alcohol consumption. Since you'll be dealing with many foods at this event, wines with low - medium alcohol content are the best ones to choose from.
If a wine has a very high ABV, you can get drunk quickly, which isn't good if you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or attending one. High ABV wines also tend to be richer and have a fuller body that can make or break a meal.
Just remember that wine and food pairings should be complementary, not overpowering.
Acidic wines tend to decrease or cancel out the fattiness in your meal, making them better pairings with turkey and any other fatty dishes. This characteristic is most evident in white wine and sweet wine.
Food Pairing Ability
The food pairing ability is the holistic characteristic of wine in this context because the other factors like flavor, wine type, and acidity comprise it. If you have a specific budget, it's best to get food-friendly wine, so it's adaptable to your meal as much as possible.
One way to know if a bottle pairs well with a wide range of food is by reading the labels on the bottle, searching about the bottle online, or reading customer reviews.
It usually depends on preference whether you want a cheap or expensive wine for Thanksgiving. Either way, there are many options with various price points that would suit the occasion.
Thanksgiving Wine FAQ
1. What kind of wine goes best with turkey?
Aside from Thanksgiving cocktails and beer, wines are also people’s go-to drink at their turkey dinner. It just makes sense that you would want something with bold and complex flavors to match your meal.
For starters, we suggest Chardonnay because it brings out the turkey's flavor nicely without overpowering it while also allowing the wine's flavors to come through.
Opt for a California Chardonnay if you want the complex flavors and textures from the turkey to shine. If you want a more delicate mouthfeel, a fruity and crisp French Chardonnay would just be the thing you're looking for!
2. Does red wine go well with Thanksgiving food?
It's no secret that red wine is a great pairing with cheese and white and dark meat. However, not every red wine can be paired nicely with turkey.
For instance, some Cabernet Sauvignon wines are often too tart and high in tannins which can overpower the turkey. Some red wines also have a high alcohol content that alters other Thanksgiving food’s spicy and sweet flavors.
If you opt to serve red wine for Thanksgiving, choose those that are fruit-forward with hints of smoke. It's also better to choose low-alcohol red wines with moderate acidity since these will cut through the richness of the food while still giving off enough flavor.
3. What wine complements Thanksgiving dessert?
Thanksgiving isn't complete without a pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie, or sweet potato casserole. To make these delicious desserts better, pair them with a good Moscato d’asti, Champagne, or Rosé wine.
The light flavors and fun bubbles of these wines cut through the creamy texture and sweetness of the desserts, thereby making them a fantastic match.
4. When to serve wine for Thanksgiving?
It depends on the format of your party or event. Some people will have a pre-drinking session to stimulate their appetite. You'll usually serve vermouth or aperitif wines during this time.
Meanwhile, the wines that will be consumed alongside the meal can be decanted beforehand to enhance the flavor. If you want to skip this process, ensure that your wine is at the right temperature before being served by placing them in the best wine refrigerators.
Whether you're celebrating with family or friends this holiday season, we want to wish you a happy Thanksgiving! Make this day extra special this year by celebrating with the best vintage.
If you want to go all out, the sophistication and depth of Goldeneye Ten Degrees Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2017 will do the perfect job. Meanwhile, El Enemigo Chardonnay 2018 is the one to get if you like a refreshing but flavorful wine. For an all-around beverage, Moet & Chandon Imperial Brut has got you covered.
Are you ready for this year's Thanksgiving? We'll be happy to hear your experiences in the comments.