What Wines to Serve With the Year’s Most Anticipated Meal
You’ve spent days, maybe even weeks, making sure every dish is ready to shine. But, Thanksgiving dinner prep doesn’t end there. If you’re stumped—or just plain too exhausted—to deliberate over the wine component, our certified sommeliers are here to assist. You’ll notice some versatile wines that can be used for more than one dish, which makes pairing even more of a breeze.
Food and Wine
- Turkey: Dry or off-dry Riesling
“Whether you go German, Alsatian, Oregon or Australian, this wine will carry any dish with its verbose acidity and ability to change, depending on region and production methods,” says Austin Shaw, Certified Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS) and Supervisor and Floor Sommelier for Kai restaurant at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass. “This limey and tree fruit driven wine, with notes of petrol and slate, provides an extra complexity to any turkey.”
- Roasted fall vegetables or green bean casserole: Sauvignon Blanc
“I like the tartness of Sauvignon Blanc with green beans,” says Chris Jeffers, sommelier at Cuisine & Wine Bistro in Chandler and Certified Sommelier with CMS. “For a milder example, try one from Sancerre in France.”
- Sweet potatoes or candied yams: Sauvignon Blanc
“When I look at these foods to pair with wines I think about what often goes on top— butter. A nice Sauvignon Blanc would pair well by keeping the palate and food fresh,” says Andrew McCreery, owner of d’Vine Gourmet and Certified Sommelier from the Guild of Master Sommeliers. “For a twist, I would try a New Zealand Sauv Blanc.”
- Mashed potatoes and gravy: Merlot
“Going for the smoother red will not fight with the flavors and provide good refreshment versus the thickness of the potatoes,” says McCreery, who also suggests your favorite smooth red blend.
- Stuffing/dressing: Dry Riesling or white wine
“If you’re doing a sausage stuffing, pick a dry Riesling from Germany. This is a big meal, so keep the sweetness and residual sugar to a minimum,” Jeffers says. “If you’re making a vegetarian stuffing, experiment with an Arizona white wine. Page Springs Cellars makes some great dry whites at a great value.”
- Pumpkin Pie: Madeira
For the finale, Shaw likes this wine that hails from Portugal done either in a Bual or Malmsey style. “This oxidized style of wine gives off wonderful aromas of walnut oil, burnt caramel and slight orange peel. Both of these wines will stand up to the equally savory and sweet taste of pumpkin pie.”
The Host(ess) Gift
If you’re going to be a dinner guest, we asked our somms to weigh in on what you should bring to your Thanksgiving host.
Jeffers: Make it personal. “Presenting a wine with a story is always great. For example, if you know they’ve traveled to Italy, bring them an Italian wine and mention how you remember that they loved their trip.”
McCreery: The Arizona-grown Merkin Vineyards Chupacabra Red, a versatile red blend that carries a $20-ish price tag. “The goal in bringing a wine with you is to make sure it could appeal to the broadest amount of fellow diners and be a nice offering to the hosts.”
Shaw: Belle Glos, a California Pinot Noir, that’s neither too expensive nor cheap. “It is a beautiful looking bottle, which will make a great first impression, and for roughly $50 you will be in good standing with any host who enjoys fantastic wines.”