Thanksgiving might look a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t experiment and try something new when it comes to wine pairings. I briefly worked as a Customer Relations Manager at a wine store, and my absolute favorite day of work was the day before Thanksgiving. I loved it because I got to help the poor souls that were asked to “just bring wine” to dinner and had no idea what to bring. What pairs well with turkey? What about pumpkin pie?
Wine and food pairings are now just a hobby, but why not share some budget-friendly wines to pair with your Thanksgiving dinner? Do you like red or white or sparkling? Why not try one of each?
- Firesteed Pinot Noir ($14.84) – This pinot noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon is a crowd favorite. It has hints of cherry but also a slight maple note which reminds me of a perfectly crisp fall day. This will pair well with the turkey’s dark meat, and also with a charcuterie board appetizer.
- Hahn GSM Blend ($10.19) – What is a GSM? It’s a red wine blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. That means it’s reminiscent of the French Rhone style of red blends and is dry and will pair well with Thanksgiving dinner because it’s got hints of cherry and stone fruits with a dry finish with warm cinnamon notes.
- Seghesio Zinfandel ($19.97) – Similar to the GSM, this Zinfandel will amplify the clove, cinnamon, and allspice used in sweet potato dishes, desserts, and also will highlight the turkey for those that don’t like cranberry sauce. The wine can replace the jammy fruit flavor but also add a little spice to an otherwise plain meat dish.
- Halos de Jupiter Cotes du Rhone ($17.99) – A French classic red blend, like a GSM, is very versatile and will pair with just about any dish that is roasted, grilled, or stewed. Thanksgiving dinner, with all the variety of flavors, calls for a well-rounded wine that won’t compete with the comforts of tradition but will also open minds to some interesting flavor pairings. See if you can taste the notes of raspberry and vanilla in this dry surprising red wine.
- Kung Fu Girl Reisling ($10.99) – Reisling has a sweet subtle apricot and pineapple flavor yet the acidic lemony flavor also shines through. I don’t usually like sweet wines with sweet food, but I’ll make an exception when it comes to Thanksgiving. Why? Because for some strange reason, I like Reisling with turkey and cranberry sauce.
- Lucien Albrecht Gewurztraminer ($19.79) – Slightly sweet with notes of cinnamon, rose, and grapefruit, this wine will amp up the slight sweetness of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Even better if you like a little spice with your meals (red chile gravy?), the sweetness helps cut through spicy notes.
- Governors Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($12.99) – Sauvignon Blanc, while not as sweet as Gewurztraminer and Reisling, will still pair well with turkey and the herbaceous flavors of stuffing/dressing and vegetables. See if you can taste the peach or tropical fruit notes after your nose notes the grassy aroma.
- A to Z Oregon Pinot Gris ($12.97) – A crisp Oregon Pinot Gris will pair well with the earthy flavors of a mushroom stuffing, a savory turkey dinner, and just about any vegetable. Notes of lemon zest, peach, and melons will offset those deep umami flavors in the food.
- Borrasca Rose Cava ($9.99) – Pairs well with chocolate, cheese, and if you happen to have a smoked turkey instead of roasted, the bubbles will cut through the richness and taste refreshingly light. The traditional Cava has notes of almond, smoke, and bread.
- Gruet Sauvage ($19.49) – Similar to the Cava, this sparkling wine will pair well with creamy desserts and creamy sauces. Try it with the pumpkin pie! It’s produced in New Mexico and is one of my favorites on this list! The Blancs de Blancs has bright acidity and a hint of apple notes.
Wine pairing is fun and it makes discovering new foods and wines exciting. Like my favorite Peloton instructor says, “I make suggestions, you make decisions,” which is how I also look at wine pairings. Drink what you like, explore, and enjoy!