Plenty can go wrong around the Thanksgiving table when the eating winds down. When the plates get cold, the conversation can get heated, especially considering the current state of political affairs. Luckily there are plenty of red and white thanksgiving wines in 2021 to satisfy a variety of palates all in one bottle!
The complexity and balance of aroma and flavor also make these crowd-pleasing thanksgiving wines the perfect pairing for poultry and the traditional, sweet spice-centric specialties on the Thanksgiving menu.
White Wines for Thanksgiving
Torrontés is the most popular white grape grown throughout Argentina. It is a cousin of Muscat, one of the world’s most infamous aromatic grape varieties. Classically styled Torrontés, especially those coming from the high-altitude Salta province, offers opulent and luscious floral aromas as well as peach and apricot notes but finishes dry with a long, mineral, mouth-watering finish. This is a great option for guests who love “big, fruity Chardonnays,” but it comes without the buttery oak aging that many dry, white wine lovers dislike.
Torrontés and Turkey Pairing
- Terrazas de Los Andes Torrontés Reserva
- Zolo Torrontés
In a similar vein, dry Viognier or Viognier-based blends like Côtes du Rhône, offer generous aromas of flowering fruit trees, ripe stone fruit, honey, and citrus with a dry and almost pleasantly bitter finish. Marsanne and Roussanne, also Rhône grapes, have similarly lush aromas also including nutty, pear notes and delicate herbs like mint and chamomile.
- Côtes du Rhône Blanc, Domaine Montmartel
- Château de Saint Cosme Côtes du Rhône Blanc Le Deux Albion Blanc
Indigenous central Italian white variety Grechetto produces bold aromatic bouquets of white flowers, tropical fruit like banana and pineapple, almond and peaches. It finishes with a rush of salinity in a dry, mineral finish. You can also find a lighter version of Grechetto in the traditional and often affordable Orvieto blend.
Italian White Wine, Grechetto
- Goretti Grechetto DOC
- Barbi Orvieto Classico Secco
Red Wines for Thanksgiving
Red wine can be polarizing at the Thanksgiving table. It stains teeth and tablecloths, it contains sulfites (naturally, from the skin), and the aromas and flavors can be intense and overwhelming. That said, the weighty and robust flavors and textures of popular Thanksgiving side dishes like spiced yams, casseroles, and fully loaded stuffing can certainly stand up to a medium-bodied red wine. I would stay away from heavily oaked or rich and powerful fruit-forward wines as they will overshadow the humble turkey. Red wines from Alpine regions, from northern Italy, Austria, Germany and Switzerland can be light, bright and fruity with a cool edge, almost like inhaling on the first day of frost. The fruit on these wines is refreshing and pretty, rarely stewed or overripe and rich. Imagine the way cranberries cut through the buttery glaze of gravy, but in a wine glass. Stick to Pinot Noir or Merlot for a familiar flavor, or venture into brambly, new territory with Schiava or Lagrein, both of which have lovely ski resort chic sleekness.
Merlot, Pinot, Schiava, and Lagrein
- Caldaro Pfarrhoff Schiava Kaltereresee (Italy)
- Anton Bauer – Pinot Noir Wagram (Austria)
- Lagrein Reserva, Nusserhof (Italy)
- Adrian Et Diego Mathier Les Pyramides Merlot (Switzerland)
For something with a plusher palate and matching intensity of aromas try something layered with spice notes that will leave a tingling trail of pepper, cinnamon, and other sweet spices to underscore the culinary themes in question. Syrah or Shiraz is renowned for an almost cayenne quality alongside deep plummy fruit, and if it sees some oak aging you could end up with cloves and star anise. Try it alone or in a blend.
Try Syrah or Shiraz with Turkey
- Babylonstoren Shiraz 2017 (South Africa)
- The Wolftrap Red Shiraz, Mourvedre, Viognier blend 2017 (South Africa)
- Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Côtes du Roussillon Villages 2017 (France)
- Terre Rouge Syrah Côtes de l’Ouest 2013 (California)
Sparkling Wines for Thanksgiving
Don’t forget the bubbly! Sparkling wines pair beautifully with the rich and fatty Thanksgiving feast. Acidity and effervescence slice right through crispy turkey skin and buttery mashed potatoes elevating the flavors of both the food and the wine while cleansing your palate. Sparkling rosé is a great pairing for roasted poultry. There’s an element of earthiness and that little burst of berry that really compliments the autumnal flavors on your plate. From an approachable, yet elegant Spanish Cava Rosado, to a classic Champagne, there’s a sparkling wine at every price point.
Try These Three Sparkling Rosé Wines With Turkey
- Laurent-Perrier “Cuvée Rosé” Brut Rosé Champagne (France)
- Schramsberg Brut Rosé North Coast (California)
- Freixenet Cordon Rosado Cava Brut (Spain)