Top 5: Best Wine for Thanksgiving Dinner

When hunting for the best wine for Thanksgiving it’s important to remember: Thanksgiving really isn’t about the food (as much as we think it is), it’s really about people gathering together to enjoy each other around the table–idiosyncrasies and all–and be thankful…

What’s the best wine for Thanksgiving Dinner?

Top 5 Best Wine for Thanksgiving Dinner
Top 5 best Thanksgiving wines… er.. the last one isn’t wine?
The Top 5 Thanksgiving Wines (because one is not enough)

Hopefully, you survive “Blackout Wednesday” (The night before Thanksgiving at a local bar with your hometown pals) and can handle another day of drinking. While there are a few ideal turkey pairing wines, there’s more to selecting the best wine for Thanksgiving dinner than the bird. Consider the following:

  • Dinner also includes yams, green bean casserole, and cranberry sauce.
  • Your house will smell redolent of turkey and pumpkin pie spice.
  • You may be on a tight budget after buying dinner fixings.
  • Ideally, you’ll be tasting wine all day. (what else is there to do with a bird in the oven?)
  • wine for thanksgiving dinner
    So what’s it going to be?

1. The Wine to Pair with Turkey

Zinfandel is America’s sweetheart. It’s the ideal turkey pairing wine because its lower tannin helps moisten even the driest turkey. Also, Zinfandel’s secondary flavors of cinnamon, clove and vanilla will put you in the mood for fall.

Zinfandel wine infographic tasting notes - Wine Folly


These are our favorite turkey-wine Zinfandels that are ready to be guzzled now.

  • Vanilla and spice: Cline “Ancient Vines” Contra Costa County Zinfandel – $15 – Info
  • Sweet smoke: Sobon Estate “Rocky Top” Amador County Zinfandel – $15
  • Velvety richness: Kokomo “Pauline’s Vineyard” Zinfandel – $36 – Info
  • Geek approved: Ridge Vineyards “Pagani Ranch” Sonoma Valley Zinfandel – $37 – Info

2. The Perfect Ice-Breaker Wine

The worst moments at a party are right when everyone arrives and they’re all standing around. Awkward. To alleviate superficial weather-talk and bullshit, just truncate it… with the sound of a pressurized cork being removed from a bottle of Champagne. Nothing says ‘let’s get this party started!’ better than the sound of bottles popping.

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Champagne bottle gold label illustration by Wine Folly


Instead of classic Champagne for Thanksgiving, check out these amazing American sparkling wines that are fruity enough to stand up to yams.

  • Taittinger Brut Reserve $Price Info
  • Gruet Blanc de Noirs NV – $17 – Info
  • Treveri Cellars Blanc de Blancs Brut Zero – $15- Info

3. The Wine to Match with Ham

While everyone is gawking at the turkey, you’re the one filling your plate up with baked ham. You might as well all admit that, for you, Thanksgiving is about pork products. You’re going to need some Pinot Noir.

Flavors in Pinot Noir by Wine Folly

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir, a light-bodied red wine, is a great choice for ham wine pairing because the high acidity cuts through the rich flavors. Red fruit flavors like cherry and cranberry work well with a juicy slice of ham.

  • Broadley Vineyards “Estate Pinot Noir” Willamette Valley $30 – Info
  • Calera Pinot Noir Central Coast, CA – $30 – Info

4. The Best White Wine for Thanksgiving Dinner

When it comes to the best wine for Thanksgiving dinner, nothing beats a glass of dry Riesling. Bright acidity tingles through all the fat in the gravy, stuffing, potatos, yams and the richness of spice in cranberry sauce. Every sip feels like hitting the reset button on your palate so you can stand to take another bite of dark meat. Disagree? They’re so cheap, I dare you to buy one and try it just to prove me wrong.

Dry Riesling

  • Must be US-Based

5. The Best Wine with Pumpkin Pie

The best wine to pair with pumpkin pie is beer. A Belgian style beer with the essence of coriander and lots of tiny bubbles. The lightness of the beer will help scrape all that gooey pumpkin pie from the insides of your mouth. It will also offer a pleasing compliment of bitter and sweet. Trust me, after all that wine, turkey and stuffing there’s not a better way to end the dinner.

Pretty Things Fluffy White Rabbits American Triple Ale

Belgian-Style Beer

  • Ommegang Brewery “Hennepin” Farmhouse Saison with citrus & coriander – Info
  • Huyghe “Delirium Tremens” Strong Blond Ale – Info

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About Madeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly