The Best Wine Varietals for Your Thanksgiving Feast

A guide to Thanksgiving food and wine pairings.

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November 08, 2019

Struggling to find the perfect wine for Friendsgiving or Thanksgiving? Stop searching, because we've selected eight varietals and that will pair well with just about everything at your fall spread.

Remember, these are just suggestions. Don't stress over wine pairings too much. Thanksgiving is a holiday after all, which means, first and foremost, you should relax, converse and drink whatever you want.


If you only buy one kind of wine for Thanksgiving, make it a sparkling one. Not only does it put guests in the celebratory, holiday spirit, but it pairs perfectly with every dish. Champagne, cava, prosecco - you can't go wrong. Sparkling wine's effervescence and crisp, dry taste cut through creamy, salty dishes while enhancing acidic, fruity flavors in light appetizers or salads.

OUR PICK: Castellroig's Cava Brut Nature Fine - Boasting fruity and floral aromas with hints of jasmine, apple and grapefruit, it's fresh, light, and very dry.

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The champion of holiday wines, pinot noir plays nice with most white meats, umami-flavored casseroles and stuffing. It's light-bodied yet silky, warm and earthy with notes of juicy berries and plum. Pinot noirs also taste lovely with chocolatey desserts.

OUR PICK: Gaspard Pinot Noir - Organically grown in the Loire Valley of France, this pinot was fermented with indigenous yeasts for a uniquely textured wine that's very easy to drink.

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You thought rosé went away when summer ended? Think again. Rosé is the unsung hero of Thanksgiving food-and-wine pairings. Its bright minerality cuts through creamy macaroni and cheese while perfectly complementing cranberries' sweet tartness. Rosé's light-bodied, fruit-forward, floral aromas make it extremely versatile and easy to drink. Try it with turkey, too!

OUR PICK: Miraval Rosé 2018 - This ever-popular pick will win over every guest at your gathering with its delicate strawberry flavor and crisp, refreshing finish.

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Hailing from the Beaujolais region of France, Gamay is often overlooked in favor of a more popular but similar grape, pinot noir. However, I urge you to give this underdog a try this Thanksgiving. (It's one of my favorite varieties!) Refreshingly light-bodied and delicate, Gamay pairs well with pretty much everything, from turkey and ham to potatoes and cranberry relish.

OUR PICK: Marcel Lapierre Vin de France Raisins Gaulois 2018 - Low tannins and lovely fruity aromas make this Gamay scary easy to drink. It's sustainably grown and harvested in Beaujolais, France.

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Another versatile Thanksgiving wine, riesling pairs well with sweet potato casserole, turkey, ham or glazed carrots. Its minerality, acidity and stone fruit notes make it highly adaptable. Riesling is also a safe pairing with most desserts, like pumpkin pie or a spice cake. Just make sure you opt for a German one which tends to be less cloyingly sweet. Truly good rieslings won't leave your mouth feeling like its covered in syrup.

OUR PICK: Wittmann Riesling Estate Trocken 2017 - With a stony aroma and an elegant structure, bright citrus flavors lead to a lingering, zesty finish.

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Another white wine for your Thanksgiving table, sauvignon blanc is a great companion to Brussels sprouts, raw vegetables, green beans, salads, cheese and crispy, salty dishes. Sauvignon blanc boasts citrus and herbaceous aromas with clean, lively acidity.

OUR PICK: Greywacke Wild Sauvignon Blanc 2014 - Fermented entirely with naturally occurring yeast, this sauvignon blanc boasts fresh lemon and apricot flavors with a textural mouthfeel and crisp, dry finish.

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One of the lesser-known white varietals, Gewurztraminer features spicy, zesty notes, rose aromas and bold citrus flavors like lychee and grapefruit. While usually paired with spicy Asian dishes, try a late-harvest Gewurztraminer with pumpkin pie for an unexpected duo. Allspice, clove and nutmeg flavors in the wine enhance pumpkin pie's spicy, warm flavors.

OUR PICK: Willm Gewurztraminer - Giving off aromas of honey, rose and exotic fruits, this Gewurztraminer is medium-sweet with warm spice tasting notes balanced with citrus flavors.

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Ports are traditionally drunk after the meal as a digestif alongside desserts. Ruby ports pair well with dark chocolate desserts, apple pie and cheesecake. Tawny ports, which are usually drier, pair better with creme brulee, pumpkin pie and hard cheeses. Be careful though, these sweet, nutty, berry-flavored wines have a much higher alcohol content at 20 percent.

OUR PICK: Taylor Fladgate 10 Year Tawny Port - Bursting with red fruit and caramel flavors, spicy kicks of ginger and pepper balance the medium-sweetness leading to a clean, smooth finish.

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