The Best Wines to Pair with Your Next Turkey Dinner
Mastering a perfect roasted turkey is an accomplishment—now master the art of choosing which wine to toast with come dinner.
When it comes to roasted meats, pinot noir is one of your safest bets. These wines are lighter and more acidic, meaning they won’t overpower your food, or your appetite. They’re versatile enough to match a variety of side dishes (like these Brussels sprouts with bacon), and are generally friendly, appealing to guests who run the gamut of wine lovers to beer drinkers.
Use your turkey dinner to treat guests, and to educate them: A riesling does not have to be sweet. Opt for one on the drier side. Then, the white wine will be crisp and refreshing, and its mild sweetness will help complement the savory dishes.
Though light in color, a red zinfandel is bold in flavor and intensity. The jammy, sometimes spicy, wines are high in alcohol content but not overly tannic, meaning they shine when paired with lighter meats like turkey or chicken, or roasted vegetables.
White zinfandels are another popular style. They’re much sweeter, have a lower alcohol content and can be paired with a range of dishes.
Whether or not you know how to pronounce it, you can be assured that the French red will perfectly enhance your turkey. (You can enhance the wine with our super easy trick to make all bottles taste even better.) It is light with berry flavors, although some bottles may be smokier and spicier. Like pinot noir, Beaujolais is versatile, and can accommodate a wide range of side dishes without being overshadowed.
Known as one of Italy’s most food-friendly wines, with notes of red fruit and pepper. If the tannins are too strong, chill the wine for a few minutes to mellow it out. (This can make your wine taste better, too.) Trouble finding it at the store? Sangiovese is the name of the grape, but bottles are often distinguished by region—look for the name “Chianti” instead.
Bubbles aren’t just for special occasions: Champagne and sparkling wine are crisp and low in tannins, helping balance the richness of your turkey, whether roasted or smoked (or basted in bubbly). For a drier drink, look for a Brut, with Dry and Douxover becoming gradually sweeter.
Save the Chardonnay for a rainy day. Pinot gris is a lively, crisp white to refresh the palate while eating roasted turkey. Expect aromatic notes of fruit—from peach to apple to guava—and a richness that’s balanced by acidity. Widely grown, pinot gris from Oregon or Alsace, France, are generally well regarded.
Vibrant in color and flavor, these wines come from the Chinon appellation in France and are primarily composed of cabernet franc grapes. The wine is structured, fruity and acidic, and often has a peppery aroma that can balance out a variety of meat and seafood dishes (like our fresh salmon salad) at the table.