Thanksgiving Wine Pairings

A great Thanksgiving feast deserves a great wine!  Though selecting a bottle for your holiday dinner may seem a little daunting at first, the many flavors mean you can serve a variety of wines.

I’ve come up with a list of traditional pairings like Pinot Noir and Zinfandel, less common ones like semi-sweet white wines and even included a couple of tasty blends, all for less than $30 a bottle.

Here are wines that will pair well with your Thanksgiving meal:

Ca'Montini Pinot GrigioCa’Montini 2008 Pinot Grigio ($20)
This northern Italian white is my new favorite Pinot Grigio with its rich and creamy taste.  Relatively full-bodied for a Pinot Grigio, the wine has flavors of apple, peach, lemon and white grapefruit, with a hint of almond and hazelnut.  It’s an elegant pairing with turkey and lighter side dishes.

Washington Hills 2007 Gewurztraminer ($9)
This rich and well-balanced Gewurztraminer goes well with turkey and all the fixins.  Slightly sweet but still crisp, this white has flavors of pear, mandarin orange, pineapple and spice.

Heron Hill Ingle Vineyards RieslingHeron Hill 2006 Ingle Vineyards Riesling ($15) & Pinot Noir ($15)
Located in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, Heron Hill makes some delicious wines.  The 2006 Ingle Vineyards Riesling has an elegant bouquet of tropical fruit and jasmine that will add to the flavors from the meat and side dishes, while the wine’s natural acidity will pleasantly contrast with the sweetness of corn, sweet potatoes or gravy.  The Pinot Noir will bring toasty and spicy flavors to the table, while notes of cherry and plum will perfectly complement cranberry sauce.

Codorniu Pinot Noir Rose BrutCodorníu Pinot Noir Rosé Brut NV ($15)
Put a little sparkle into the traditional Pinot pairing with this Brut Cava from Spain.  Deep salmon in color with small and enthusiastic bubbles, this wine will certainly add a celebratory feel to your meal.  With flavors of strawberry and toast that come together in a crisp citrus finish, this sparkling wine goes well with turkey and all the sides.

Chehalem 2006 3 Vineyard Pinot Noir ($28)
This Pinot comes from Oregon’s Willamette Valley and has a great mix of red fruits and spice.  Flavors of spicy cherries and strawberries mix with cherry cola, cocoa, dried herbs and white pepper, with a hint of cedar on the finish.  Silky in texture, this wine is very easy to drink.

Beaujolais NouveauGeorges Duboeuf 2009 Beaujolais Nouveau ($9)
Released each year on the third Thursday in November, this light to medium bodied red from Burgundy is an ideal pairing for Thanksgiving.  Called the best vintage in 50 years, the 2009 has flavors of raspberry, blueberry and cherry with a hint of spice on the finish.  The tannins are intense for Gamay but still soft, balanced out by good acidity.

Gundlach Bundschu 2005 Mountain Cuvée ($24)
This Sonoma Valley red wine is one of my go to wines because it’s delicious and easy to drink.  It’s a medium-bodied blend of Merlot (71%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (21%), with Syrah and Cabernet Spanish QuarterFranc making up the rest.  Soft and round flavors of raspberries and cocoa lead to a spicy and meaty finish with lingering berry and cola notes.  This wine pairs well with turkey but is still elegant enough to go with lighter side dishes.

The Spanish Quarter 2007 Cabernet-Tempranillo ($10)
This red blend is a zesty and satisfying mix of Spain’s native varietal and a grape relatively new to the country.  Aromas of cherry and blackberry introduce full and silky flavors of ripe berries, dark chocolate, exotic spice and a touch of sweet oak on the finish.

Dry Creek Vineyard 2006 Heritage Zinfandel ($17)
Rued ZinfandelFor its bold and sophisticated flavors, this Zinfandel is a great buy.  Inky purple-red in color, this wine has concentrated flavors of blackberry and plum that mingle with dark chocolate, allspice and vanilla.  Firm and supple tannins create a balanced mouthfeel that culminates in a lingering and elegant finish.

Rued 2006 Zinfandel ($25)
This Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel comes from a small, family-owned winery in Sonoma County.  The wine has flavors of fresh baked blackberry pie, with hints of cocoa, licorice and spice.  It’s velvety in texture with well balanced tannins and acidity.  I’m also a big fan of their Russian River Valley Pinot Noir which costs $35 a bottle.

For more wines click on the name of the varietal or the price point you’re looking for in the tag cloud to the right.