Wine Pairing Guide for Thanksgiving

By CharlotteChipperfield 
In: Entertaining

Thanksgiving is almost here and if you are hosting the big feast, you may be feeling a little anxiety over which wines to serve. Well, let’s wash that anxiety away like a sip of wine, shall we?

With its many flavors and textures, the Thanksgiving meal can come across as complicated when pairing with wine. Not to mention the one relative who always needs to share their unwelcomed opinions. So let’s break it down with our Thanksgiving wine pairing guide to ensure everyone enjoys the day.

When it comes to pairing wines with yams, stuffing, gravy, potatoes and the turkey, it might seem impossible to find just one wine that can stand up to it all. When it comes to food pairing, it is a game of matching and compliments. The acid in the wine balances or compliments saltiness, cuts through creamy textures and meat proteins. When it comes to the weight of the wine, matching the weight of the food and wine is critical so that neither the wine nor the food will out power the other.


For white wines:

Try a Chardonnay with much less oak such as K-J AVANT. This Chardonnay is light and crisp, making a great pairing for the turkey and mashed potatoes. When it comes to the baked yams and the gravy, the saltiness and weight of the food would be better balanced with an oaked Chardonnay such as Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Chardonnay. Having a rich and more robust structure and body with a bright acidity will better hold up against the saltiness, creamy textures and the myriad of flavors.


For those red wine lovers in the family:

Try Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Merlot. This red wine has a rich body with an acidity framework which will compliment the cranberry sauce, as well as, an herbaceousness quality which will balance all the herbs and fall spices in the meal.


For wine lovers who enjoy both red and white wine:

Try Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Pinot Noir. The bright acidity will cut through the creaminess of the mashed potatoes and yams as well as pair wonderfully with the earthy and nutty flavors in the gravy. The cherry characteristics and earthy tones of the wine are the perfect compliment to both the cranberry sauce and the delicate flavors of the turkey.

For dessert:

The wine should always be sweeter than the dessert itself. Try pairing Kendall-Jackson Grand Reserve Late Harvest Riesling.

In the end, if you can only serve one wine to please the crowd, reach for the Pinot Noir. This wine is the perfect holiday wine with its bright red berry characteristics, baking spices and earthiness.

Wishing you a very happy and delicious Thanksgiving!
Charlotte Chipperfield

For more food and wine pairing tips, visit the Entertaining section of our website.