Thanksgiving can be a high-pressure event with all of the food prep, guest preferences, wine selections and seating arrangements, but it doesn't have to be. While turkey tends to take the spotlight, it's really the savory sides that demand the perfect pairings from a wine on Thanksgiving Day. The white and dark meat of the roasted bird is pretty easy to please; however, the herb-filled stuffing, cranberry sauce or relish, and roasted veggies can put the pairing pressure on for snagging the most versatile bottle of wine.
If you need some tried and true turkey day pairing partners or are hoping to find some stellar wines that offer an adventurous tasting tour through lesser-known grapes or regions? We've rounded up a stellar group of wines that are sure to please palates and pocketbooks. Check out our favorite Thanksgiving wine picks and pairings at price points ranging from a budget-friendly $6 to a special occasion $40.
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Delivering plenty of ripe raspberry and bright cherry on the nose mixed with earthy undertones and sweet vanilla spice. The palate profile on this Russian River Valley Pinot is brimming with a triple berry blend of raspberry, blackberry, and strawberry. Offering up silky textures and a medium-bodied style and perfect for pairing with a variety of Thanksgiving favorites, the J Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot packs plenty of food pairing diversity.
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A heady blend of blend of 92% Pinot and 8% Chardonnay opens up this delightful Sonoma sparkler. Expect a tinge of rose in the glass and a sweet strawberry medley wrapped in vanilla spice to greet the nose. On the palate, this lighter-bodied wine leans towards a second rendition of strawberry with a fresh squeeze of lemon mid-palate. Carrying considerable value and food-pairing versatility, this particular bubbly promises to bring a fun, festive flair to Thanksgiving Dinner.
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There's a lot to like about the Terra d'Oro Deaver Ranch Zinfandel, and even more to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. From the generous layers of black fruit to the enticing swirl of vanilla mingled with pumpkin pie spice, this Zin has plenty going on inside the glass. Zesty acidity and palate pep, decisive tannic integration and overall balance with a remarkable finish, this particular red wine will handle itself well alongside turkey and all of the favorite fixings on Thanksgiving Day.
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Looking to hop out of the traditional Thanksgiving wine box this turkey day? Look no further. Portugal continues to make waves with their regional red wines, based on traditional Port grapes (Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca). The Pombal do Vesuvio is no exception. Produced by the esteemed Port Family, Symington Estates, the Pombal do Vesuvio brings plenty of dark fruit to the nose along with crushed rose petals and an unmistakable mineral-driven character. The palate shows considerable concentration with black cherry and blackberry dominating then giving way to an engaging invasion of spice all well-supported by capable tannins and seamless structure.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Serving up a tantalizing blend of 71% Syrah, 24% Malbec and 5% Petit Verdot, the Ancient Peaks Renegade from Paso Robles is built on the back of all estate grown fruit. Expect dark fruit aromas, earth and smoky spice on the nose. The palate reveals layers of blackberry-laden fruit, black cherry mingled with a smidge of cocoa, black pepper, and vanilla. The tannins are dense but approachable. The finish endures and wraps up with an exhale of fruit and smoke.
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Hailing from California's Santa Ynez Valley enveloped within the Santa Barbara County AVA, the Kita Syrah showcases remarkable finesse and ongoing elegance. It opens up with distinctly purple-blue hues in the glass and carries forth with dense dark fruit, dried cranberry and smoke on the nose. Blackcurrant dominates the palate along with tasty input from black cherry and black pepper. Well-woven tannins bring the fruit forward and vanilla nuances lace the persistent finish. A natural with grilled, roasted and barbecued meat, the Kita Syrah will handle turkey in all of its glorious forms, whether it's brined and roasted, fried or smoked. The earthy nature of this Syrah also makes for exceptional pairings with mushroom-based side dishes.
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Looking for an out-of-the-box Thanksgiving wine? Then scout for this well-priced, semi-sparkling white wine delight from northern Portugal. Spritzy at first glance, but then the happy little bubbles settle down and this light-bodied, completely dry white wine showers you with a full on lemon-lime citrus infusion. Crafted with a blend of Loureiro (80%) and Alvarinho, expect the plushier profile of peach to follow the lean citrus lines and a mineral-driven finish to prevail. Crisp, fresh and ultra-affordable, the 2014 Aveleda Vinho Verde makes a nice match for poultry, salads, and sides that sneak towards shellfish.
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A classic Pouilly-Fuisse sourced from several vineyards, this Burgundian white shows exceptional freshness on the nose and echoed along the palate profile. Keep in mind, that this wine is crafted from 100% Chardonnay, with minimal oak, so the unmasked character of the fruit presents a lively triage of green apple, ripe stone fruit, a whisper of citrus and just a hint of spice. Solid acidity and a crisp, dry, well-driven finish mark this Cuvee from JJ Vincent. Delicious!Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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A classic Riesling from Germany's steep-sloped Mosel River Valley, carries ample apple, ripe, extroverted peach and concentrated citrus on the nose. Rich, medium-bodied lines with lively, generous acidity and lush forward fruit give way to a slate-laced minerality and elegant, enduring finish. Consider pairing this sweeter-styled Riesling with a variety of Thanksgiving favorites. It can handle the bird, the sides, and the pie.
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The Graham's Six Grapes Reserve Port is a young, dynamic blend of six grape varietals that showcases rich, concentrated aromatics and engaging fruit intensity on the palate. A welcome introduction to the world of fortified wines, this particular entry-level port from Graham's brings layers of flavor including dark cherry and chocolate with an undergirding of warm spice and a nutty nuance. Port is perfect for this time of year with a mix of darker chocolates, nuts, blue cheese and berry-based desserts. Think Thanksgiving pies from pecan to pumpkin and Bourbon chocolate chip pie to cherry tart. Ports deliver a delicious finish to the Thanksgiving meal, whether partnered with dessert or serving as dessert itself.
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Certified sustainable, the Benziger Sauvignon Blanc is a lively, layered white wine that offers up serious citrus nuances ranging from full-flavored grapefruit to a lemon-lime squeeze. Loire-like minerality flows easily and lean, crisp lines of acidity make for an especially food-friendly form. Perfect for pairing with herb-filled stuffing, plenty of poultry, sweet potatoes, and much more.