pinecone and candle still life in foreground with woman in a grey sweater drinking rosé in the background

What Should You Drink with Thanksgiving Dinner?

Woman on Wine

with Amy Reiley

That’s the hot topic in November, right? Everyone asks, “What should you drink with Thanksgiving dinner?”

Selecting a wine to serve with what’s probably the most important meal of the year might seem like a daunting task. But you need to get over it! Whether you’re a guest looking to impress your host or hosting a dinner to a crowd with high expectations, picking  a wine should be the least of your worries. Why? Because if the food is good and the company is good and the wine has alcohol in it, you’re going to be okay. (Now, if you’re worried about the company, you might want to check out my column on serving high-alcohol wines at family gatherings.)

I’m not going to get all wrapped up in what wine pairs well with turkey, (all of them). Or what pairs with cranberry sauce (very little). Instead, I’m going to offer you the suggestion of going with a theme. What theme? Serving American wines at this American holiday. So what should you drink with Thanksgiving dinner? How about a wine that’s made in the U.S.A? Here are a few recommendations you’ll probably find on my table next to the turkey and stuffing.

Bottle of Korbel RougeMy Thanksgiving wine recommendations

2016 Korbel Rouge

This might be my new favorite answer to the question, “What should you drink with Thanksgiving dinner?” The wine’s flavors will surprise and challenge the palate–but in a good way! It’s a Pinot Noir, made in the methode champenoise with only 1% residual sugar. A wine designed to serve with food, this is not your normal aperitif sparkling wine. In fact, I encourage you not to pop the cork before dinner. But save this slightly savory, full-bodied bubbly for serving with your meal.

Peju Province Winery Province

A  surprising (and wildly unusual) blend of red and white wines, Province is absolutely one of my top picks for the Thanksgiving table. It’s a fairly big-bodied wine with notes of cranberry and quince, stone fruits and baking spices. In other words, it tastes like the best of summer and fall all in one bottle. Serve it chilled for the best tasting experience.

2016 Eroica Riesling

This floral, faintly citrusy wine is made in an off-dry style. And it’s a wine I think really shows off the simple flavor of juicy, roast turkey. In addition, it has the acidity to cut through the richness of all those butter-laden side dishes. And since it’s relatively low in alcohol, it almost guarantees that there will be no drunken turkey carving injuries in your house.

2016 Wente Vineyards Winemakers Selection Counoise

I feel lucky to have discovered this Livermore Valley red just in time for Thanksgiving. One sip and you will swear Karl Wente bottled the “best of” this holiday tradition. The wine offers notes of cranberries, raspberries, pepper and plums. And there’s a hint of sage toward the back of the palate. To me, it echos the flavor of great turkey, cranberries and dressing. It’s a well-balanced red with mild tannins, making it a welcome choice for the holiday meal or any meal.

There are thousands of other reasonably-priced American wines you could choose to grace your Thanksgiving table. If none of my recommendations strike your fancy, just take a stroll through your favorite wine shop for a treasure trove of wines that answer the question, “What should you drink with Thanksgiving dinner?” And as long as you choose the right company, any one of them will be just the right wine. Cheers!

Photo of woman drinking rosé by Peter Heeling.


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