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Thanksgiving Wine and Food Pairing Ideas

Local farm fresh eggs, cooking with friends - capturing the moment.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It's the holiday about family, friends and sharing time and good food together. Of course wine is involved. 

This is the time of year I remember fondly when our family went driving through the woods, over Snoqualmie pass across the Cascade mountains, down I5 to Aberdeen, Washington and my grandmothers historic 1906 home. Fireplace roaring, full table setting with delicious turkey and all the fixings. Pumpkin pie with ice cream for dessert. Thanksgiving was family time. Being together was important. My grandmother wanted us to have wonderful experiences; perhaps she was thinking that these would be memories to cherish. They are. I think of my grandmother Claudia as the archetypal grandmother, for me she is the very definition of "grandmother."

On our Second Annual Thanksgiving #WineMuse wine podcast on Minstrel and Muse Audio Art Magazine, we spent some time talking about Thanksgiving wine pairings. I rambled and reminisced a little while sharing some of my favorite beverages to enjoy at table.

Go Local

The best beverage advice I can give you is to look for something local. Every state in the United States makes wine, many make craft beer and some are now making craft hard cider. Do a little digging and I'm confident you can find something local or regional to pair with your Thanksgiving gatherings.

All the best wishes to you this Thanksgiving. Create fond memories for your family and friends to cherish. Cheers!

Some Wine and Food Pairing Suggestions


Start the Party

Sparkling wines are a great way to start the party and to accompany each course.

Brotherhood Winery NV Brut Sparkling Chardonnay - Hudson Valley, New York $12
A thoroughly delightful sparkling Chardonnay from America's oldest winery. It pleased the tongue and stirred romantic feelings. Serve before, during or after meals. An amazing value at $12 and worthy of celebratory occasions or just because.

Treveri Cellars Sparkling Wines - Washington $12 - $20
Treveri wines have quality, varietal variety, and they are affordable sparkling Washington wines. At my home I've enjoyed Treveri sparkling Pinot Gris and Treveri sparkling Gewurztraminer with dinner. My friends, go find some Treveri sparkling wine and make any occasion a celebration at home. Strongly recommended. Really like these wines. Can you tell? Yes, I'm a fan.

Valdo Rose' Brut Vino Spumante Marca Oro - Italy $15
As pretty as this wine looks, it is also one of the more serious affordable sparklers. Buy it when you see it. Pair with just about anything. Strongly Recommended.

Pairing with Vegetables

Chateau Ste. Michelle Dry Riesling - Washington $6
A versatile wine, with air it delivered floral + citrus on the nose, it drank dry with a fuller expression. Great price and perfect for vegetables, chicken and turkey.

Syncline Cellars Gruener Veltliner - Washington $20
White pepper honey, and some funk to the nose. Savory, creamy, dry, tart spike, lime, unripe melon, herbal, acid. Dry acid on tongue, teeth and gums. Buzz-ow! Intriguing wine. Paired well with green vegetables. Best with food. Strongly recommended.

2012 Biohof Pratsch Grüner Veltliner Rotenpullen Organic - Austria $20
 Enjoyable food worthy wine. Classic pairing is Wiener Schnitzel (Viennese schnitzel). A little bit of fat to balance the acidity, like salmon, Thai food with spice and fat. Pizza and seafood perfect. Also pairs well with foods that are usually difficult to with wine, like asparagus and artichoke

Whitecliff Vineyard 2013 White Rose - Hudson Valley, NY $18
Floral perfume, orange blossom, spicy mineral, October rain. Nice weight, river rock, steely round, white peach, bite of unripe nectarine, fresh orange, acid front palate, peach honey slide into the finish.

Mercer Wine Estates 2012 Chardonnay - Washington $17
gentle oak treatment combined with stainless fermentation added to the versatility of this wine. It is ready to start the party, was enjoyable with food and a good palate cleanser after dinner.

Palate Cleansers

Lucille by Stottle Winery 2012 Late Harvest Viognier - Washington $20
Not heavy, refreshing. Balanced sugar and acidity. As it warmed it seemed sweeter with fig. I think it would be a good palate cleanser for a multi-course dinner; best after heavy, fatty food. I would pair Lucille with Crème brûléee and an espresso. Strongly Recommended.


Kerloo Cellars 2013 Grenache Rose' - Washington $24
Kerloo Cellars treated the Grenache grapes as a white wine and picked early. This maximized bright, pure flavors and higher acids while keeping alcohol content lower. Picked Grenache late in the evening to maximize freshness. The tasting notes I found don't indicate unfined and unfiltered, but I suspect so. This bottle went fast, so my tasting notes are first impressions. It was fantastic. Pair with anything.

Lauren Ashton Cellars 2013 Rose' - $18
The color of this wine was elegant, formal and classy. Vibrant on the palate yet with an austere technical quality. Pair with chicken, turkey, crab salad and grilled lamb. Rocked it on day two as the wine unwound a little and showed a softer side. It was a wonderful sipping wine.

Bouchaine Pinot Noir - California $35 - $60
Perhaps a blended Pinot Noir is more my speed. Blending allows the winemaker to showcase and express greater complexity in a wine. However, if you want to understand a place and the winemaker, then single vineyard bottlings like the 2012 Mariafeld and 2012 Gee Vineyard are essential experiences. My impression is that the 2012 vintages are still young and will undoubtedly benefit from time in bottle. I would drink the 2010 now and hold the 2012 for at least another year. Suitable for Turkey and ham.

Lenne Estate Pinot Noir - Oregon $45 - $60
It seems to me that Lenné is all about terroir. It's possible you have never experienced such concentrated expressions of Pinot Noir.  Grilled Turkey, Lamb and Beef.

Ankida Ridge Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir - Virginia $42
This was an impressive Pinot Noir on its own. Beautiful fluid quality, shiny. Strawberry galore! Deep finish of ripe red fruit. Glorious fine tannin on the gums and tongue. A world-class wine you should experience.

Creekside Cellars 2011 Cabernet Franc - Colorado $35
I was deeply impressed by the quality of this Colorado Cabernet Franc. You are strongly encouraged to visit Colorado wine country and seek out the wines of Creekside Cellars. Winemaker Michelle Cleveland is truly talented. I hope you appreciate the following tasting notes.

Millbrook 2012 Proprietors Special Reserve Cabernet Franc - Hudson Valley, New York $30
Smooth, creamy, dry, cherry, spice. Nose and palate more dominant, medium finish after 30 minutes. After 3.5 hours it began to show deeper flavors and aromas.

Eszterbauer, Kadarka Nagyapám 2011 - Hungary $18
Very smooth, gentle tannin backed with friendly acid, felt texture on the throat. It was peppery with some celery on the nose and drank almost like a Pinot Noir, but different. Dry finish. Happy tongue. Lovely expression of terroir. Nice texture, fine tannin.

Holman Ranch 2010 Hunters' Cuvee Pinot Noir - California, Carmel Valley $40
Superior Pinot Noir that will delight with meals and with cherished company. A true pleasure with spinach salad with bacon crumbs and honey mustard dressing, side of olive oil toasted bread and fried pork chops.

La Petite Perrier 2013 Pinot Noir - Saget La Perriere - France $13.99
Pretty, light with good medium weight, just bright with fresh cherry, almost creamy, delightful on the palate. Playful wine. Light finish with dash of spice. Pretty, delicate, feminine wine. Like.

Wind Rose Cellars 2012 Sangio - Yakima Valley, Lonesome Spring Ranch - Washington $19.99
Big like for this wine. Food friendly and sip worthy. The label is striking and will present well at table.


2013 Barnard Griffin Syrah Port - Washington $17
Decidedly masculine, the sweetness did not overwhelm, flavors of lilacs, dark chocolate, blueberry, blackberry, tar and tarragon. After a few days it was fuller in the mouth, violets and green tea added to the profile.Wow.

Lucille by Stottle Winery 2012 Late Harvest Viognier - Washington $20
Not heavy, refreshing. Balanced sugar and acidity. As it warmed it seemed sweeter with fig. I think it would be a good palate cleanser for a multi-course dinner; best after heavy, fatty food. I would pair Lucille with Crème brûléee and an espresso. Strongly Recommended.

Patterson Cellars Late Harvest Roussanne - Washington $22
This wine was epic. Worthy of an "OMG is that good." I'm not a big sweet wine drinker, but the Patterson Cellars Late Harvest Roussanne was nectar of the gods, with a stunning long finish. You are strongly encouraged to seek out this wine.

Whew, I was all over the place.

Listen to our Thanksgiving podcast where we go into more detail about favorite wines for Thanksgiving as well as several hard ciders.

Be safe and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.


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