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The Best Wines for Your Thanksgiving Table

The Big Meal is a great opportunity to break out of your wine-buying routine and take a look at tasty and affordable pairings. Luckily, traditional roast turkey welcomes a broad palette of wine styles and flavors, with one rule of thumb: avoid big, meaty tannic wines, like Cabernets or Chiantis. (They can overpower, so save them for a charcuterie plate or slow sipping by the fire). Instead, for Reds, seek out unabashed juiciness, pronounced fruit and a soft round finish. With Whites, you want well-balanced acidity and flavors ranging from crisp and dry to delicately sweet to floral. Here are some of my favorites this season.

Festive Reds

Just the thought of Georges DuBoeuf Nouveau Beaujolais 2013 gets me in a merry mood! Bursting with fresh red berries and a youthful brightness, this early harvest Red is my number one pick for your Thanksgiving meal. Soft fruits and a clean finish cozy up nicely to turkey, and there is just enough structure and body to perfectly complement sweet potatoes, green beans and vinaigrette tossed salads. The timing is perfect too. By French law, this celebratory Red can be released no earlier than the 3rd Thursday in November. Grab a few bottles — it’s a Thanksgiving natural!

The black cherries and floral notes in Allan Scott’s Marlborough Pinot Noir gracefully support and enhance crisply roasted turkey and spicy savory sweet sides. The smooth velvet finish of this New Zealand Red makes it a holiday meal favorite.

Another Red that fits comfortably on your holiday table is Tablao Navarra from Spain. Juicy and ripe, it brings a little more oomph than some lighter Reds, but pronounced cherry and raspberry notes and a sublime lingering finish add complexity and a touch of the exotic to your gathering.

Charming Whites

A trend that I fervently subscribe to has been taking hold during the past few years: pairing sparkling wines with the holiday meal. With forward aromas of apple and pear, subtly dry, briskly effervescent Spain’s Roger d’Anoia Cava pairs well with anything. And nothing says “Celebrate!” like bubbly.

A well-suited White from Greece, Skouras Anássa, blends brisk notes of apricot and orange with a clean crisp finish. Fruity enough to make its presence known, subtly supportive of the flavors on your table, this approachable white wine adds an out-of-the-ordinary touch to your meal.

Sauvignon Blanc, known for crisp, enticing minerality and earthy complexity, is always a strong choice for Thanksgiving. Simonnet-Febvre’s Saint-Bris Sauvignon, with its notes of freshly cut herbs and fruit-driven finish is perfect, not just for roasted turkey, but also for roasted Brussels sprouts, butternut squash and strawberry or citrus tossed salads.

Chardonnays can often overdo the buttery, honey tones they are famous for, but Novellum’s Chardonnay hits a pitch-perfect note of honeysuckle and peach, the slightest touch of oak and a sleek lengthy finish. This Chardonnay supports your favorite fall dishes without stealing the show.

Great Rieslings for Thanksgiving should carefully display delicate sweetness with balanced acidity. Grace Lane Yakima Valley Riesling does just that. Fresh green apple and delicate peach flavors add clarity to Thanksgiving flavors and create a lovely counterpoint to the warm savory dishes on your dinner table.

The experts in our wine departments love talking wine pairings—just ask! If you already know the wines you want, you can reserve them here.

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving wines? Leave a comment below.

From carving with confidence to pouring with pride, our online Holiday Cheat Sheet means more of your best for less stress. Order holiday meals online too; we'll do the work, you'll take the credit.