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Which Wine Pairs Best with Thanksgiving Dinner?

Which Wine Pairs Best With Your Thanksgiving Dinner

If you’re serving wine with Thanksgiving dinner, or have offered to bring a bottle and aren’t sure what to choose, you’ve come to the right place. Before you’ve finished this article, you’ll be armed with the information you need to pick the best wine for Thanksgiving to complement this very special meal.

Wine Basics

Before we discuss which type of wine to pair with Thanksgiving dinner, let’s go over some basics. Chill red wines briefly - approximately 30 minutes ahead of time - and serve at roughly 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit. White wines are typically chilled for longer and served at approximately 45 degrees. If the refrigerator you’re using on Thanksgiving is packed full – and it usually is on Turkey Day – it’s perfectly acceptable to chill your wine in an ice bucket or bring a pre-chilled wine in an insulated bag to the party.

Don’t be afraid to abandon the idea that white wines are exclusively for serving with fish and lighter meats, and reds are just reserved for red meats. This is your holiday so serve what you like best. You can serve a lighter style red wine with your meal or a full-bodied, buttery Chardonnay. When in doubt, just ask your local wine merchant for a recommendation based on what you know you’ll be serving and the style and varietals of wine you like most.

If it Grows Together, It Goes Together

This is a bit of an oversimplification, but the idea here is that regional wines and foods usually evolve together. For example, Italian foods tend to go well with Italian wines. You’re more likely to find crisp white wines in warmer coastal climates, which also happen to pair well with the leaner fish you find in warmer coastal regions. If you would prefer to organize your wine bottles by region, storing the bottles in stackable wine racks takes the guesswork out when mealtime comes.

Pairing Wine and Cheese

Wine and cheese are great friends at any time of the year and they’re just as friendly and delicious together on Thanksgiving. Some great pairings include goat’s cheese and Sauvignon Blanc, cheddar and Cabernet Sauvignon, and brie and Chardonnay. Create an elegant presentation by serving your cheese on a silver serving tray.

Sure-Bet Wines

If you want to just stick with surefire winners, here’s your list: dry white wines are versatile and pair well with just about any food. These include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Rieslings and unoaked Chardonnay. As for reds, stick to a selection of crowd-pleasers like lighter-bodied Pinot Noir and Grenaches, balanced out by distinctive Syrah, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Other Great Pairings

Since turkey is almost always on the menu, here’s your ultimate Thanksgiving advice when it comes to choosing the best wine: if you prefer red wines, a lighter wine like a Pinot Noir pairs well with this poultry. It’s softer on the palate than say a Merlot or a Cabernet. Look for Pinot Noirs from California and Oregon and show a little love for the region on this thankful day.

Non-turkey Pairings

If you’re not a turkey fan and are having prime rib for dinner (lucky you), pair it with a heavier red wine with more tannins, such as a Cabernet, rich Bordeaux or a Merlot. The rich protein in the prime rib softens the tannins of the wine, providing you a mouthwatering meal you’re sure to remember.

Wine Gear

In addition to picking out the wine, choose some accessories to ensure your wine looks attractive and stays fresh. A wine decanter is a lovely way to present your wine once the bottle is open. If you want to skip the wine decanter, consider a decorative bottle stopper to preserve the wine throughout the feast once the bottle is opened.


While it’s not absolutely necessary, red wines and white wines are usually served in different styles of glasses. Red wines are frequently served in taller glasses with a wider base. The larger glass allows the red wines’ bold flavors and aromas to come as it mixes with oxygen in the air to be fully appreciated. White wine glasses are usually narrower since it does not need to be oxygenated to allow the flavors and aromas to be fully appreciated. Glasses with long stems help maintain the cooler temperature of the wine as warm hands are kept at a distance. Serving your wine in monogrammed wine glasses is a great way to personalize the evening.

Presentation Is Everything

There’s something about beautifully wrapped gifts that makes them feel extra special. If you’re bringing a bottle of wine to someone’s home, placing the bottle in a luxurious wine bag makes a great impression and lets your host know haw thankful you are to be included in the day.

A Thoughtful Personalized Gift

Show your hosts how much you appreciate their hospitality on Thanksgiving with a monogrammed gift. Consider giving them monogrammed coasters or a monogrammed cutting board to go along with your perfectly picked bottle of vino.