What Wine Goes With Turkey? Christmas & Thanksgiving Wine Pairing Guide
A frequently asked question for many during the holiday period is: what wine goes with turkey? With so many options to choose from, we’ve curated a list of the perfect wine options to partner your holiday meal.
Millesima has helped us put together an innovative, knowledgeable selection of fine wines to suit your holiday table. A French family company headquartered in the sublime wine region of Bordeaux, Millesima has built lasting relationships with some of the world’s top wine producers so they can bring quality wine to you via their online shop and NYC shopfront.
The following list of red, white and sparkling wine will make your wine pairing easier, allowing you to carve the perfect turkey dinner and focus on family and friends.
Pinot Noir and Burgundy
The versatility and high acidity of many pinot noir varieties make it a fantastic complement to your thanksgiving feast or Christmas roast turkey. Pinot is a wine made for camouflage, the softer tannins and taste offering a medium body that works with everything, from classic cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes, to heavier fried turkey, and even pecan pie.
1. Hanzell Vineyards: Pinot Noir (2015)
This medium bodied pinot noir teams offers the great flavor of sweet red fruit coupled with fine grained tannins and the scents of floral tea.
2. Joseph Drouhin Pommard Village (2016)
While some demure burgundies can be overpowered by the sheer variety of holiday tastes, this bold Pommard (or a similar Gevrey – Chambertin) will provide an exotic option for pairing.
3. Kosta Browne Winery Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (2017)
An earthy tasting yet light medium tasting California wine, this pinot carries a great hint of brush amongst red berry fruit flavor, black cherry, and the lightest touch of spice.
A nouveau Beaujolais works fantastically with turkey, it’s dryness and soft tannins contrast sides such as sweet potato or greens beans with simplicity, and cut through the heaviness of quality holiday gravy. It’s a low-calorie and low alcohol option that offers the juicy flavor that can appeal to occasional wine drinkers.
Should you wish to go up a notch or two in pricing, the Cru Beaujolais is also a terrific option for Christmas and thanksgiving wine.
4. Jean Foillard Cote du Py 2018
This medium bodied Beaujolais offers the sweetness of raspberries and plums, mingled with hints of orange rind, violet and cardamom. Its well-balanced acidity makes a great counterpoint to some of your turkey’s more vibrant side dishes.
Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon
Ah, yes, the popular wines. While these full-bodied red wine options are recognizable and pair well with thanksgiving turkey itself, the heavier tannins and robust flavors need to be tamped down somewhat for a better overall table wine pair. I recommend going for older bottles that have had time to soften and grow more rounded with maturity. Of the three types, merlot offers a fruitier sweetness and syrah more power, while the richest is cabernet sauvignon. These wines are best matched by more experienced wine enthusiasts looking to augment their holiday with more oomph.
5. Ferraton Pere & Fils Le Meal (2014)
Tremendous with roast and smoked turkey, this full-bodied red is softening nicely as it ages, containing licorice notes, black raspberries and a hint of toast. You can open this one straight away, or let it sit for a while, and the fine tannins will only be improved.
6. Tenuta di Trinoro Le Cupole 2017
This Tuscan blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot, is a richly colored, velvet smooth sweeter wine. It’s palate of fleshy bright fruit and slightly softened tannins pairs well with white meat.
7. Chateau Lafon-Rochet 2000
This reasonably priced Bordeaux wine offers dense ruby/purple-color wine and a complex nose of earth, underbrush, creosote, creme de cassis, and dried herbs. With a medium to full body and moderate tannin in the finish it offers the right type of balance to contrast well with your holiday dinner and sides.
Zinfandel offers a great fruit component that marries well with dark and white meat turkey, while not letting itself be overpowered in flavor by sides, sauces, and gravy. Another type great for any level of red wine drinker, Zinfandel offers an occasional smoky flavor that matches with bacon, and the berry fruits can really bring out cranberry flavors and enhance mashed potatoes or squash.
8. Turley Wine Cellars Dusi Vineyard Zinfandel (2018)
A fine Napa Valley Zinfandel, the palate of this sweeter wine is medium bodied with pretty layers of fruit – softly framed and juicy – and a hint of lavender. This is a nice bottle to open and drink, or you can lay it down for a few years.
Dry Riesling is a great palate cleansing and taste option when crisply chilled – it helps the flavor of any turkey dish and refreshes for your next forkful of food. It’s a brilliant pairing with the table of sides (especially when contrasted against sweet potatoes, or the magic of pumpkin pie) and at no stage does it get overwhelmed.
9. Weingut Donnhoff Riesling Kreuznacher Kahlenberg Trocken (2016)
This German dry Riesling comes in a magnum. Featuring vineyard peach with citrus, floral, and herb notes it’s refreshing and clean winded. It’s a sweet, yet striking riesling to enjoy at any stage of Christmas or thanksgiving dinner.
A wooded chardonnay with vanilla flavors works brilliantly to complement roasted turkey breast or a rolled, smoked turkey loaf. The depth of acidity in a premier chardonnay contrasts the rich, fruity flavor and blasts away powerful tastes from the thanksgiving dinner sides and Christmas vegetables.
While not a left field choice of wine, a good chardonnay offers certainty with wine pairing and allows you the opportunity to focus on food.
10. HDV Chardonnay (2015)
A polished, intense California wine from Los Carneros with weight and depth, the palate features lemon peel, white flowers, white orchard fruit and mint. Its flavor intensity and the high acidity suits roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, and luscious gravy.
11. Moorooduc Estate The Moorooduc McIntyre Chardonnay (2011)
A quality Australian Chardonnay, Moorooduc offers zesty citrus notes throughout a medium bodied white wine. It’s a perfect complement to turkey breast and chicken, soaking up the flavor of the bird. The clean finish gives ample preparation for your next mouthful of dinner.
A classic match for succulent turkey meat, the fruit flavor of viognier offers a great counterpoint to the bird’s tenderness, especially the notes of stone fruits and honey. Anyone wanting a versatile yet interesting alternative to Chardonnay or Riesling is unlikely to be disappointed by a quality Viognier.
12. Domaine Rene Rostaing Les Lézardes Viognier (2018)
The broad stone fruit flavor is well placed for Christmas turkey, and can bring up even the driest bird. This viognier is a sweet wine from the Rhone Valley and offers a firm, clean taste and high acidity to balance out the more extreme plate flavor during thanksgiving dinner or Christmas.
Champagne and Sparkling Wine
I come from a family that firmly believes that if the wine has bubbles in it, then you’re bound to have a great holiday dinner (not sure about the morning after). The perfect wine as a pre-cursor to Christmas dinner and turkey day, sparkling wine and champagne offers versatility with flair for every household looking to create a convivial atmosphere.
13. Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2008
You should know the drill by now – the bottle must come from the Champagne region of France to get the name. This killer bottle of Taittinger offers prestige and taste for your holiday celebration, just make sure that if you’re popping bottles you catch all the liquid you can before it goes to waste.
14. Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose
The Laurent-Perrier Rose is characterized by raspberry color transforming to salmon-pink. The pinot noir grapes and bubbles provide a beautiful light red wine flavor, with enough acidity to move past the heaviest dinner tastes to provide refreshment and vibrancy.