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You carefully selected the menu for Thanksgiving, keeping in mind the varied palates of your friends and family. You have perfected the gravy and stuffing, and have a winning recipe for sweet potato casserole. You even have a plan in place for how you'll roast both the turkey and the Brussels sprouts. And now it's time to think about the wine. But can one single wine pair with the myriad textures and flavors of all of these dishes, or should you opt for several different bottles?
“The food and gathering with friends and family are really the stars of the Thanksgiving day, so the wine should come along for the ride and intermingle with the meal,” says Chris Chisholm, Certified Specialist of Wine and a consultant for Snug Harbor Wine. “Focus on the strongest flavors in the meal and pick at least a couple of different types of wines that will please everyone, or almost everyone."
Here, we share some of the best wines for Thanksgiving to help you make a selection.
Best Sparkling: La Marca Prosecco 187ml
Every gathering needs a bubbly to match the sheer joy and excitement of getting together. And if you have guests who want a cocktail or two, this prosecco is game for that too. On the nose, La Marca Prosecco is citrusy, and the flavor is juicy apples and pears and some minerality. Bubbles are full textured and persistent making this a very approachable thirst quencher.
Serve as a classy pre-dinner sip—but you don’t have to stop there. La Marca provides that refreshing sip to cut through what is usually a rich and heavy meal. So, this wine can be brought to the dinner table as well.
Best White: Ravines Argetsinger Vineyard Dry Riesling
“One of the most food-friendly white wines is Riesling. The styles can vary between very dry to very sweet, but for Thanksgiving, I focus on the very dry to dry styles. One area, in particular, I love for Riesling is the Finger Lake region of New York," says Chris.
“Ravines Argetsinger Vineyard Dry Riesling with its notes of apple skin, a stiff acidity, and medium body lends itself to the creamy textures and varied flavors of the Thanksgiving table and the autumn season.”
Best Rosé: Gerard Bertrand Cote Des Roses Rose
A delicious rosé is a good choice for a Thanksgiving meal, although it may not look like an obvious one. A Rosé can vary from light to full-bodied, making it a versatile wine that makes it food-friendly. The Gerard Bertand Cote des Roses Rosé is a blend of Cinsaut, Grenache, and Syrah from the Languedoc region in France. It’s a dry and crisp wine with red currants, strawberry, watermelon, and floral notes with a citrusy finish.
It is easy to drink and makes for a good wine to get the conversation going at the beginning of the meal. And for those guests who may not want a red wine, this is wine they can keep going back for.
Best Red: Antoine Sunier Régnié
Eating and drinking all day with family and friends warrants a cru Beaujolais in copious amounts. Régnié is the youngest of the Beaujolais crus and the wines from this region stylistically have lively fruit flavors and distinctive structure. The Antoine Sunier Régnié has high tones of violets and black cherry on the nose. The bright fruit flavors of cherries and raspberries are almost edgy—but in a good way. The wine has a warm spiced long finish. It’s medium to full-bodied with delicious acidity, which invites you to drink.
Best Sweet: Jackson Triggs Vidal Ice Wine
Wine Educator and Certified Specialist of Wine Cindy Eger is partial to the Jackson Triggs Vidal Ice wine. “It pleases people of all ages and makes everyone smile," she says. “When you select a sweet wine, it should be as sweet or sweeter than the desserts that you are going to serve it with."
Best Dessert (Fortified): Alvear Solera Cream
Hints of toffee, nuts, figs, and raisins with a salty and smooth finish, the Alvear solera has a velvety yet layered texture. It's sort of like a dessert you can sip to satisfy your sweet craving until you are up to the task of getting back to the pie, or pies as the case may be. Made in the Oloroso style with PX for fortification and sweetness, this nuanced sherry from the Andalucía region is a great sipping wine for the sherry lover. With its deep notes of caramel and nuts, it also makes a great companion to desserts.
Best Splurge: Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin
From the ancestral home of pinot noir, Burgundy, comes this beautiful wine bursting with red fruit, spice, and black tea flavors. Medium acidity and medium-bodied with an extended finish, the fruit flavors are ripe red berry and cherry notes. The Louis Jadot Gevrey-Chambertin is a versatile wine that would pair perfectly with a variety of food. If you are having an intimate gathering, this is a quality wine to splurge on for the holiday. It’s easy to fall in love with this wine.
Best Inexpensive: Erath Pinot Noir
Delicious notes of purple berry fruits and hints of baking spices with modest tannins make this a very drinkable wine that doesn’t need food to go along. But when you do bring the food along, it goes on merrily with the fattiness, sweetness, spices, or anything else that you bring to the table. It features a lot of acidity to keep people coming back for more and it appeals to red and white wine lovers equally. It is an excellent choice when you need more than a few bottles for your gathering.
What to Look for When Buying Wine for Thanksgiving
Before you head to the wine store, you should have an idea of which type or types of wine you'd like to serve—sparkling, white, red, dry, or sweet—and if you'd like to offer more than one choice. If you decide to start with something bubbly and then have both a red and a white during dinner, just be sure your selections work well together.
Before you invest in a few bottles, It's best you know your audience. If the family members and friends that will be sitting at your Thanksgiving table have sophisticated palates and love to try new things, then a wine that is more unique or off the beaten path will be welcomed, but if your guests are more comfortable with something familiar, choose a wine that is more approachable.
Wines vary greatly in price, so before you grab that bottle from the shelf, you should estimate your Thanksgiving budget and how many bottles of wine you will need. If you are hosting an intimate gathering, a pricer bottle may be a fine choice, but if there will be several guests at the table or big drinkers, looking for a more affordable wine might be the way to go.
How many bottles do I need?
Each bottle of wine should fill four to five glasses, so you need to guesstimate how many glasses of wine each guest will drink (including yourself). Don't forget to count pre-dinner wine and even wine with dessert; once you have the total number of glasses, divide that number by four; that is how many bottles to buy.
Should wine be chilled before serving?
Whether or not the wine needs to be refrigerated or put on ice before bringing to the table will depend on the type of wine. Sparkling, white, and rosé wines are better served chilled to 50 F to 60 F (Champagne on the colder side), while reds are best at slightly chilled or room temperature.
Do I need to decant the wine?
If the bottle of wine you're serving is aged over 10 years, it will benefit from decanting so it can open up and any sediment can settle. For younger bottles, opening right before serving and pouring from straight from the bottle is just fine.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Renu Dhar has been pairing food with wine for personal clients and private events for years. She loves to travel to wine regions across the globe to find her next new wine love.