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Thanksgiving is a holiday with a lot of traditions—the family, the decor, and of course, the food. Whether you're a strict adherent to the classics—turkey and all the fixings—or you prefer to mix things up with a less common protein or a multicultural feast, there's no denying that the iconic meal is a centerpiece of the holiday. And with so much focus on your palate, naturally, you want to accent all of those delicious bites with a wine that brings out the most in your food's flavors.
Of course, that's where things get tricky. Between the plethora of different tastes on the table and the varying preferences of all of your diners, choosing a wine that complements everything can feel a little overwhelming. To help you pull off a sommelier-quality pairing, we've assembled some of the best bottles with Thanksgiving friendly flavor profiles to make everything on your holiday plate shine.
Thanksgiving is a marathon, not a sprint, so warm up your palate European-style with a light aperitif. This French classic, made with with carefully selected white wine macerated with citrus fruits, zest, and aromatic barks is designed to wake up the palate with a blend of sweetness and faintly floral notes. Serve it over ice for an easy pre-dinner sip.
G.H.Mumm Grand Cordon
Champagne might feel like a pre-dinner libation, but the crisp taste of a brut cuvee deserves a spot at the table too. This bottle boasts nuances of autumnal fruit and honey, with a hint of perfectly baked pastry and fine, vibrant bubbles that get your tastebuds in the mood for food.
Tania et Vincent Careme Terre Brulee Chenin Blanc
South African chenin blancs have been all the rage in recent years of their bold flavor profiles and brilliant value. The most widely produced grape in South Africa, it provides a complex fruitiness offset by white florals, like the flavors found in this citrus-and-honeysuckle forward bottle.
Foxen Winery Chardonnay
Give the oaky chardonnay lovers at your table something to remember with this under-the-radar bottle that gives the requisite notes of caramel and toasted bread, along with a satiny character that allows it to stand up tot he richer options on the plate.
Villa Maria Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
New Zealand sauvignon blancs are famous for their herbaceous, vegetal notes, which make for a perfect accompaniment for the green options on your table, from green bean casserole to brussels sprouts.
Endless Crush Rosé Of Pinot Noir
Rosé is beloved by fans, not only for its easy drinking quality, but also for its ability to pair with a wide variety of flavors. This crisp version has notes of fresh berries with a mineral backbone and a palate-cleansing acidity that will make it an all-around crowd pleaser for the Thanksgiving table. (The charming label also makes it an ever-welcome hostess gift.)
Labrusca Lambrusco Rosso
Lambrusco is a tried-and-true Thanksgiving pairing, and for good reason. A happy medium with the benefits of bubbly refreshment, the acidic bite of a good white, and the tannic body of a red, this off-dry varietal is astonishingly versatile—perfect for a meal where you're piling your plate high.
Jean-Paul Brun Domaine des Terres Dorees Beaujolais L'Ancien Vieilles
"I know it may seem a little played out but beaujolais still remains a great Thanksgiving wine, especially one like Jean-Paul Brun’s 'L’Ancien,' says sommelier Jason Wagner. "This wine is juicy and refreshing, goes with a wide range of foods like you will likely have at Thanksgiving and most importantly, comes in right around $20. Remember, you’re going to be enjoying wine all day long so you’re going to want something that won’t weigh down your palate and isn’t so expensive that it feels like a waste when your aunt puts ice cubes in it."
Michael Pozzan Pinot Noir
"Pinot Noir is turkey with cranberry sauce’s best friend," says sommelier Jeff Taylor. A supple dark cherry palate with earthy hints of spice make this bottle a great pick that will play well with the main attraction—your turkey, of course—as well as all the sides.
Duckhorn Napa Merlot
The word "merlot" might inspire instant Sideways flashbacks, but there's a reason that Bordeaux wines (merlot is one of the region's most common varietals) are famous for their pairing power. With a fruit-forward palate and lightness on the tongue, merlot is incredibly food-friendly, especially with duck, lean beef, or, yes, turkey.
Sling & Spear Cabernet Sauvignon
Prefer a bigger red with your meal? This cab, whose pedigree would normally call for a much higher price tag, provides a nice body and smooth tannins layered with dark fruit and hints of chocolate. It pairs perfectly with richer flavors like a classic baked ham or even prime rib, for those who want to create their own Thanksgiving traditions.
Capel Vale Riesling Whispering Hill
Sweet-savory sides like sweet potatoes, roasted squash, and cranberry sauce can be tricky to pair with because of their duality. Lean into the mix with a bright riesling with a hint of sweetness that will simultaneously offset and complement those sugars.
Sandeman 10 YO Aged Tawny
If you prefer to pair your dessert smorgasbord with a sweeter tipple, a tawny port is the way to go. Filled with dried fruit notes that are ideal with any dessert selection as well as a hint of warm toastiness, it's a taste of fall in a glass.
Dom Pérignon Plénitude 2
We can't think of a better way to finish a celebratory meal or day than with an exceptional champagne. On rare occasions, Dom Pérignon lets their wines continue the aging process, developing in a way that takes the champagne to new heights years later in their ultra-rare Plénitude 2 program.
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