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Pair These Wines With Your Turkey This Thanksgiving

Raise a glass to the holiday season.
By Hayley Hamilton Cogill |

Thanksgiving is days away, and as you plan your Thursday feast, you should also consider these wine pairing tips. Red, white, and rosé are all appropriate with the meal, keeping these points in mind.

Thanksgiving wines should be fresh, have a balanced acidity, be low alcohol, and have a light to medium body. Thanksgiving isn’t the holiday to enjoy a 16 percent alcohol Zinfandel or heavily oaked Chardonnay. Your palate will be exhausted before you carve the turkey.

Consider one of these options this holiday. (Some were sent for editorial consideration.)

Always start with sparkling wine, as a day of giving thanks deserves a toast. I detailed an ideal selection in my last post, linked here.

For white wines, sip Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc, dry or off-dry Riesling, Chenin Blanc, Albarino, or unoaked Chardonnay, allowing the purity of fruit to shine.

Robert Sinskey Pinot Blanc ($22 per 375ml) layers honeydew, honeysuckle, and a touch of briny saltiness. Alexana Terroir Series Pinot Gris ($32) brings the mineral earthiness of their Oregon vineyards to the forefront. Panther Creek Pinot Gris ($20) reveals lemon peel and tart apple. Golden apple lingers on the palate of Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris ($17), with a crisp, dry finish.


From Monterey, Wrath EX Unoaked Chardonnay ($19) reveals the essence of the variety, allowing orchard fruit and citrus to shine. From 45-year-old Edna Valley vines, Chamisal Stainless Chardonnay ($18) is complex and sophisticated, layering pineapple and crushed stone.

I’m a Vouvray fan, and its signature variety, Chenin Blanc. From France’s Loire Valley, Camplou Vouvray ($25) balances honeyed orchard fruit with limestone influenced minerality. The 2017 vintage marks the 50th anniversary for Napa’s Chappellet Winery, with their Signature Chenin Blanc ($38) delivering mango, lychee, and ginger. Expressive Mulderbosch Chenin Blanc Block A ($33) a single vineyard from South Africa’s Stellenbosch, marries wildflowers, lemon zest, and marmalade. Aromatic Dry Creek Chenin Blanc ($15) layers quince with Meyer lemon.

Pinot Noir is the perfect Thanksgiving wine. As much of California is fighting devastating wildfires, support the state this holiday by sipping their premium Pinot Noir wines.

Morning fog at Cuvaison Vineyards

Early morning fog leads to whistling afternoon winds creating bright, luscious Cuvaison Estate Pinot Noir ($42) from their Carneros estate, with berry, wild rose, and spice. Similarly, Ram’s Gate Carneros Estate Pinot Noir ($88) captures freshness in the fruit, with notes of black tea, and violet.

Vibrant Benovia Russian River Pinot Noir ($42) leads with dominant notes of cherry, plum, and blackberry. Benovia is also making pairing easy this year by creating a gift of their golden apple and melon filled Benovia Three Sister Chardonnay, with their Russian River Pinot Noir, packaged together for gifting or simply enjoying. Available here.

Influenced by the Sonoma Coast, Sonoma-Loeb Fedrick Ranch Pinot Noir ($60) highlights the freshness the Pacific gives, melding with woody herb and raspberry. Elegant, elevated Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($48) reveals wild strawberry and spiced pomegranate. 

The Calling Russian River Pinot Noir ($37) delivers layers of red cherry, cranberry, and hints of pepper. J Winery & Vineyards Russian River Pinot Noir ($40) melds red licorice, cola, and warm baking spice.

Sustainably farmed Sonoma Pinot Noir from Cline Cellars delivers wildflower, blackberry, and an incredible price, $20.

Pinot Noir

Santa Lucia Highlands, with cool breezes off the Monterey Bay, brings freshness to delicate Scheid Vineyards Pinot Noir ($75). The resulting wine reveals red fruit with spiced vanilla from 18 months of oak aging.

Rustic Anderson Valley is becoming a destination for terroir-driven Pinot Noir. Goldeneye Pinot Noir ($60), blends fruit from cold to hot parts of the rugged region creating a harmonious wine. FEL Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($38) showcases dark fruit, chocolate, and toasted cedar. On the cool side of the region, Smith-Story Helluva Vineyard Pinot Noir ($40) delivers cranberry, crushed cherry, and truffle.

As California wildfires continue, Napa Vintners Ryan and Crystal Waugh have developed Relief Wines to help with rebuilding efforts. Newly released 2017 Firestorm North Coast Chardonnay ($20) and 2017 Firestorm Rosé ($20) will donate 100 percent of profits to Habitat for Humanity Sonoma County. Available here. 

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