The Best Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner

My advice is to forget pairing when it comes to choosing what to serve at Thanksgiving. Don’t worry about what wine pairs with Turkey. Seriously, turkey goes with any wine in the world. You can forget, “My stuffing contains rutabagas, will a Vermentino wine from Italy work?” What strange planet do you hail from? There’s only one thing you should consider when it comes to wine and Thanksgiving: You will eat too much and end up in a food coma for the majority of the day.


Why would you choose to drink a wine that is rich and heavy? Why would you drink the 15.5% alcohol Napa Cabernets or the buttery, oaky Chardonnays if they are so different? Too much muchness, I say. My suggestion would be to go lighter. You want to drink wines with a moderate alcohol content that are bright and crisp but also transparent. Avoid those that make your taste buds feel like a fullback is smashing them at an NFL game. Think of a cool climate, minimal oak, modest alcohol, and vibrant flavors. You may make it through the evening on Thanksgiving Day, fully aware and even hungry for leftovers. Here are 14 delicious options.

The reds

2021 Rebellious Pinot Noir ($20)

This new California Pinot has a lot of berry fruit but is also light and refreshing. This is likely due to the addition of Sangiovese, as well as Chardonnay.

2021 Luis Seabra Xisto Ilimitado ($28)

Luis Seabra creates this peppery, red wine from a jigsaw of native Portuguese grape varieties, including Touriga Franca, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Roriz, Rufete, and more. This wine is darkly fruity, yet it’s so bright and fresh that you won’t even notice its intensity.

2015 Paraschos Merlot ($28)

This Merlot from northern Italy is more supple and fruity than Californian versions due to the cool Friulian climate. This is a natural wine made from organic grapes. It has no sulfur and no new oak.

2021 Lang & Reed California Cabernet Franc ($29)

This vibrant red is a great choice for Thanksgiving. Cabernet Franc, the lighter, more savory cousin of Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker John Skupny has long been a fan.

2021 Dial Tone Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir (30 $)

This finely focused red is the work of Moret Brealynn, a winemaker and entrepreneur. The next step up, Busy Signal Pinot Noir, is better if you’re looking to spend a lot.

2021 Calera Central Coast Pinot Noir ($32)

Calera’s Pinot Noirs from single vineyards are benchmarks in California, but they are expensive. This regional bottling is a vibrant cherry-strawberry wine that comes through because it was aged in neutral oak.

2021 Thacher Cinsault (45 $)

Sherman Thacher is a winemaker who specializes in lighter reds. He’s from Paso Robles, which is known for its oomphy Zinfandel. This wine is fermented using whole clusters: “We get a nice white-pepper flavor from the stems,” says Thacher.


The whites

2021 Soalheiro Alvarinho ($22)

Soalheiro, a leading winery in Portugal’s Vinho Verde, is known for its top-notch wines. This stony and bright Alvarinho (Albarino, in Spain) shows just why. The entire estate has been organically farmed since the mid-2000s and biodynamically from 2021.

2020 Edouard Delaunay Septembre Bourgogne Chardonnay ($25)

It’s refreshing, as Burgundy prices are on the rise, to find a white Burgundy that is appealing for a modest fee. The fair amount of French oak that this wine was aged in lifts the lemon-pear flavor.

2022 J. Hofstatter Pinot Bianco (23 dollars)

Martin Foradori Hofstatter produces brilliant wines in Italy’s mountainous Alto Adige area, including this apple-scented wine. Pinot Bianco is a wine that has a bit more savoriness to it than its cousin, Pinot Grigio. The best versions are great for dinner parties.

2021 Feudi di San Gregorio Greco di Tufo ($26)

This Campanian white is a cool, stony wine that’s perfect for the hot summers in Southern Italy. This wine is named after the town of Tufo but also for the volcanic soil in which it grows.

2022 Sokol Blosser Willamette Valley Pinot Gris ($28)

Consider Oregon Pinot Gris for Thanksgiving instead of Chardonnay. It is crisper and less oaky but still has the same fruity character. Sokol Blosser’s vibrant, peachy version is one of the best.

2022 St. Supery Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($28)

The Napa Valley’s long-time producer made Cabernet Sauvignon in the same way. This estate bottling is full of melon flavor and avoids the green pepperiness that Sauvignon Blanc can have.

2022 Dutton Goldfield Shop Block Pinot Noir ($33)

Dan Goldfield, a Pinot Noir expert, also produces this secret weapon white using Pinot Blanc from the Russian River Valley. This wine is made without oak and has a balance of pear and citrus flavors.


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