The 6 Best Wines for Thanksgiving (and How To Pair Them)

Thanksgiving Wine Cover

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Thanksgiving Wine Cover
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Pairing Perfection

It's well known that certain red wines pair well with steak and white wines pair well with fish. But what's the best wine for Thanksgiving? Should you aim for something with high acidity or a bottle that's a little more mellow? 

You may think red wine varieties, like Cabernet Franc, make sense for Thanksgiving — but not always. Different courses of a Thanksgiving meal each need something specific to complement the various dishes. Here are some ideas for Thanksgiving wine pairings you should embrace at your next holiday dinner.

Brie Cheese on Crackers with Wine

1. Hors D'oeuvres: Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon blanc is a perfect white wine for Thanksgiving. Sip it with guests before sitting down for the main meal. "The crisp acidity and concentrated flavor complements lighter cuisine," says John Killebrew, winemaker for Z. Alexander Brown. He recommends pairing the wine with foods such as seafood salad, goat cheese with green herbs, and even turkey.

Lettuce and beatroot sala

2. Salad: Pinot Grigio

Turn to pinot grigio for the first course. "The wine’s acidity and lively, lingering finish perfectly complement salad or seafood," says Ashley Larson, brand manager for Noble Vines. Larson suggests the brand's 152 Pinot Grigio.

toasting with wine glasses in front of chicken dinner

3. Turkey: Gamay

Ready for the main attraction? Alissa Abica, tastings coordinator at Wine & Spirits, recommends a gamay as one of the best wines for a Thanksgiving feast. The red grape hails from southern Burgundy, and is responsible for Beaujolais wines, which boast strong fruit flavors and high acidity.

"This wine pairs perfectly with turkey, gravy, and all the sides — especially cranberry sauce. It's low in tannin and has a nice acidity to complement a lot of rich food. Plus, the cherry and cranberry fruit notes naturally complement the holiday flavors," Abica says. She recommends Louis Jadot, because you can find it in most supermarkets.

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Freeze motion of red wine pouring into glass.

4. Turkey: Pinot Noir

This red-fruited wine varietal is another good option to sip with bites of turkey. "Both styles of wine have the perfect balance of fruit, earth, and spice to pair with a holiday meal. They will complement instead of overpower the food," Abica says.

Related: We Tried the Walmart and Target Wines, and These Are the Best

A green bowl of herbed mashed potatoes
Pumpkin Pie With Whipped Cream

6. Pumpkin Pie: Port

Traditional Thanksgiving desserts, such as pumpkin pie and apple pie, call for a port. Abica particularly likes Fonseca 20.  "All the caramel notes from the wine complement the pumpkin spice," she says. 

Related: 30 Thanksgiving Desserts That Aren't Pies