Even though Thanksgiving is mostly an American (and Canadian) holiday, turkey is enjoyed by many. Now, it’s not so easy to find a wine pairing for turkey because of all the different side dishes. But I will do my very best. Over the years we’ve tried a wide variety of wines with turkey, and almost always one wine gets out on top.
The different options
But before I reveal which wine that is, let’s go over the different options. If you google it, a lot of different suggestions pop up: Chardonnay, Riesling, Champagne, Pinot Noir, Barolo. Keep in mind, the recommendations will depend a little bit on who is doing the recommending. This is not surprising, as each country has different tastes, but I thought I should mention it anyways.
Before we get into the different wines, it’s important to know what we are looking for. The wine should have good acidity. Turkey and its accompanying side dishes can be quite fatty, and the acidity will help “combat” that. The wine should also be low in tannin. A wine with high tannin can take too much focus away from the food, and in a Thanksgiving meal there are not that many things to help soften the tannins. Lastly, it should be a wine you enjoy.
White wines for Thanksgiving
Now, let’s start with Chardonnay. There are so many different expressions of this grape, but in theory, any Chardonnay will do. Whether it’s the creamy, full bodied, toasty wines or the more mineral and crips wines. I tend to prefer the more mineral expressions, so I guess personal taste plays a huge part in selecting the perfect Chardonnay with your turkey! If you’re looking for a more mineral, fresh Chardonnay, try the one from Diego Morra. And if you’re leaning more toward a full bodied, creamy Chardonnay, try the Matrot Mersault. A bit pricier, but hey, it’s a holiday celebration after all!
Staying with the white wines, next up is Riesling. I have to be upfront and say that I generally don’t drink a lot of Riesling. My favorite is actually the Ettore Germano Herzu from Piemonte,so not your stereotypical Riesling at all. But Riseling definitely goes with turkey. The main reason for this is the high acidity. You should try and stay on the drier side, but again, personal taste will play a role in your selection. The Kruger-Rumpf Schiefer Riesling Trocken is an affordable, quite fresh option.
Before we move on to the reds, let’s dive into Champagne. Honestly, I think Champagne goes with everything. I mean, have you ever found a dish that absolutely does not go with Champagne? Unfortunately, it’s definitely one of the more pricier options, but not all of them will break the bank. Try the Pierre Brocard Tradition Brut or the Oudiette x Filles Uni Terre II. There are probably other white or sparkling wines that go with turkey, but it’s time to dive into the red wines. Here’s where it get’s tricky, because quite a few red wines have tannin. And as I mentioned above, we want to avoid a wine with too much tannin. What we want is to find red wines with good acidity. Pinot Noir is a suggestion, and this one from Joseph Voillot might be a good fit. Or this one from Domaine Joillot.
Red wines for Thanksgiving
Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Piemontegirl’s go-to wine for Thanksgiving. And you might be thinking that it’s probably a Barolo. But it’s not. In my opinion, Barolo is generally too tannic, and so my suggestion would be a Barbera! I am honestly surprised that Barbera didn’t appear in a single one of my google search results. Maybe I’m just bad at googling. In any case, I always have Barbera for Thanksgiving! Either the very classic, fresh, steel tank Barbera, like the one from Francesco Borgogno. Or you could opt for the Barbera Superiore, which is aged in oak, like the one from Cavallotto. The options are endless here, and as I’ve mention a few times, personal taste plays a huge role in which wine to choose! But now you’ve got some of my suggestions.
Before I let you go, I have one more suggestions: order your wines NOW. And yes, I said order, especially if you live in Norway, because few to none of the wines for Thanksgiving that I’ve mentioned are on the shelves at Vinmonopolet.
PS: these wines pair just as well with the turkey you have for Christmas 😉