Thanksgiving is a time reserved for merriment, food and drink, and special thanks for the passing year and the year ahead. While Thanksgiving menus vary somewhat from region to region and house to house, there is generally a standard selection of dishes on tables far and wide. What’s not standard is the wine selection for the great November feast. Some households prefer a BYOB option for wines for Thanksgiving, while others will have a few options on hand of red, white, and sparkling choices for guests to choose from. If you decide to go the latter route, be sure to buy your premium wine selection at reasonable prices from a liquor store near you, so you don’t break the bank while ensuring that each tasty dish has a fantastic option for pairing.
One Hit Wonder Wines
No matter what the menu looks like, Champagne is a solid choice for any Thanksgiving meal. Not only will your guests or hosts thank you for your fancy choice of beverage, but your tastebuds will appreciate the crisp acidity that bubbly brings to the table from start to finish. When in doubt, Champagne it out.
A pro-tip for party goers is to remember that even the most experienced hosts may not have enough wine chillers for all the bottles at the party; bring one along as a host’s gift, and you’ll surely be on the invite list again for next year.
Amazing Appetizer Wine Options
Popular Thanksgiving appetizers are sometimes served at the table but can also be found buffet style while the turkey is finishing up in the oven and the big table is being set. You can usually count on bacon-wrapped dates or corn muffins with pepper jam, mini quiches, and stuffed mushrooms.
Finger foods with small plates make it easy to mingle and stretch your legs rather than make the meal a multi-hour affair. The cooks in the kitchen will appreciate the space, and you’ll have the opportunity to catch up on lost time with folks you haven’t seen in a while.
With a small plate in one hand, which wine goes best with appetizers in the other? Since appetizers are usually a one-bite delight, they pack a lot of flavor in. To complement that strong flavor profile power, a dry Riesling is a beautiful choice for pairing.
Both sweet and dry varieties, Rieslings are regularly picked as the best wines for Thanksgiving dinner at Dry Comal Creek Winery and Vineyards, so you can’t go wrong either way. Fruity but light flavors in the drier option will cut through flavors and cleanse the palate while bringing out the complexity in ingredients.
Sparkling Wine Salad Accents
It’s true that not every Thanksgiving has a salad option on the table. However, a reprieve from the dense flavors of a long meal is refreshing. Fall flavors and crisp, crunchy foliage are a welcome textural switch from the mainstays of the traditional table. New salad favorites are beautiful and complex. Mixed greens with pears, candied walnuts, goat cheese, and a balsamic vinaigrette are becoming staples. Waldorf salad, a more traditional option, includes chilled fruits and nuts tossed in mayonnaise and citrus.
Sparkling Rosé is an ideal accent for the salad course of the meal. Not only will the Rosé look beautiful, but the drier choices will help complement the rich flavors of goat cheese or mayonnaise in either salad. The pear and fruit ingredients will be singing in both salads thanks to Rosé as a willing partner.
Main Course Wine Classics
For main courses like turkey, ham, or vegetarian options, Thanksgiving wines honestly vary according to personal preference. Some people enjoy lighter, effervescent flavors to help cut through the in-depth profiles and intense spices. Others enjoy equally spiced wines that combat strong flavors with juicy fruits and solid tannins for a more robust experience.
A traditional red choice for your November feast is a Zinfandel blend. Zinfandels are more medium-bodied, so they can hold their own against the intense tastes of the main course while complementing but not overpowering. Zinfandel offers a light spice with smoke and jammy fruit to help bring out all the different ingredients in the meal.
Side Dish Wine Sips
Some people love sides, and some people live for the side dishes of Thanksgiving. In fact, there are entire message boards and groups of people who share side recipes only. Green bean casserole and mashed potatoes and gravy are reigning crowd favorites, and other popular choices are sweet potato casserole and stuffing. Rolls and cast-iron cornbread are in the top five side items for Thanksgiving, too.
Merlot is the wine you can count on to complement different flavors, textures, and ingredients while making the main dishless meal still feel decadent and complete for all the side lovers out there. Messina Hof Winery produces an award-winning Paulo Merlot that’s both spiced and fruity for a balanced mouthfeel.
Delicious Dessert Wine Darlings
Port wine is the obvious choice for dessert pairings. It’s sweet, nutty, caramelly, and warming. The flavors pair well with homemade pie, cake, candies, and fruits. This versatile selection is a no-brainer for guests and hosts alike, though it is often curiously left off the menu. Many tables save Champagne or sparkling wine for the dessert course to toast their thanks and gratitude.
Take it upon yourself to bring the Port wine and count on someone else to have the sparkling already in order. With this plan, you can be sure that you’ll have a Port for your pie and bubbly in your hand for the customary giving of thanks cheers.
To find the best wine picks for your own Thanksgiving dinner or for a feast you’re attending, head to a nearby Zipps Liquor to find ideal wine pairings. Remember that you don’t have to spend a ton to get great flavors that complement great food and good company.