Paul Grand's Thanksgiving Wine Suggestions



By: Paul Grand

The holidays are a busy time of the year for many of us.  There are travel arrangements to be made, shopping to be done, along with preparing our homes for visiting friends and family.  If all these tasks were not enough to keep us engaged, there is still the holiday meal to plan and prepare. During this flurry of activity you may not have found the time to consider which wine would work best with your holiday feast. In fact, this is the time of the year when we receive the most inquires about “What wine should I serve for Thanksgiving?” The best answer is of course, to serve a wine that you like. We do, however, have a few solid suggestions to assist you with your selection and will pair well and add to the enjoyment of your holiday meal.

If you prefer a white wine, a light to medium-bodied one will enhance the flavor and match up with the texture of the turkey along with the varied assortment of side dishes. One of our favorites is Gewurztraminer, spicy and floral in character with a crisp finish.  Fetzer Vineyards Gewurztraminer has long been a favorite of ours and is sure to please the guests at your table. The spicy flavors of this wine pair very nicely with the traditional Thanksgiving turkey and the accompanying side dishes.  Riesling is also an outstanding match with your holiday meal. There are a wide array of excellent Rieslings available from dry to very sweet, and one that we are particularly fond of is the Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling from Washington State’s Columbia Valley.  Chardonnay, already one of the most popular varietals also works nicely with turkey and all the trimmings. There are many excellent wines to choose from, however if you don’t have a favorite, may we suggest the Sonoma Cutrer Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. Another white wine pairing option would be a white wine blend such as Conundrum, an innovative blend of several varietals that offers crisp acidity, floral aromas and finishes with a balanced touch of sweetness that you and your guests will enjoy.

For those preferring a red wine on this occasion, our “go to” red varietal is Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir with its berry fruit (think cranberries) profile will not overwhelm the turkey (or Country Ham) and these flavors enhance many of the accompanying side dishes such as sweet potato and wild rice casseroles and cranberry relish. The Meiomi from California is one of our favorites. Oregon produces outstanding Pinot Noir and the Willamette Valley Vineyards “Whole Cluster” Pinot Noir with its “berrylicious” (We made that up) flavor profile is sure to please everyone. While Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, we do like to reach across the ocean and suggest a Beaujolais Nouveau from France as an outstanding option. The 2017 vintage of Beaujolais Nouveau wines have just been released and should be easy to find in your favorite retail shop as they feature bright, colorful labels. The Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau is one of the best examples of “Nouveau” and is widely available.   If you are looking for a red wine with a little more structure, Zinfandel (red that is) is your go to varietal.  The 1000 Stories Zinfandel is one of our favorites as it is finished in used Bourbon Barrels for added complexity. This wine will go oh so well with sausage stuffing!   

So whether you’re preferred method of preparing your “guest of honor” is brining, basting, broiling, or grilling baking, smoking or frying, these suggestions should make your holiday meal more memorable and provide lively conversation to the occasion.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Lipman Brothers and the R.S. Lipman Company