How to Choose the Best Thanksgiving Wines

How to Choose the Best Thanksgiving Wines

Oct 18, 2023Dedalus Staff

If you haven’t already, you’re about to get inundated with articles and ads telling you what wines to drink this Thanksgiving. How to navigate the endless options, how difficult it is to find the right wine. Here’s the thing: it’s a lie. Finding great wine for Thanksgiving is easy. 

Read on to get match-made-in-heaven advice from our sommeliers, or skip straight to the good stuff and shop our collection of bottles handpicked by our team.

Go Light or Go Home

Now is not the time for high-velocity reds with alcohol levels reaching for the heavens. Now is the time for light-as-a-feather wines that slip smoothly between courses. That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice texture or power. Just think: elegance over brute force.

Look for wines made from Pinot Noir, Gamay, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, to start. We look to Piedmont for Langhe Nebbiolo and Barbaresco, Provence and Bandol for juicy, palate cleansing rosés, and the Loire Valley for a goldmine of thirst-quenching red and white wines. Of course, we always hit up Beaujolais for epic wines from the 10 crus and featherweight Beaujolais Villages. 

This Nouveau from Domaine Dupeuble with Kermit Lynch is a great option under $20, and this organically farmed $25 bottle from Domaine Saint Cyr offers easy-drinking delight. That said, you can't beat a bottle from one of the masters, like this Chiroubles from Guy Breton. 

Acidity is Your Friend

Thanksgiving isn't known for lean flavors. It's a meal of rich and epic proportions. Wines with high acidity will act like a light saber cutting through the fat and richness to cleanse your palate and ready you for that next bite. If you're not sure if a wine is high acid, you have two choices. Ask us, and we'll tell you. Or if you're down to get nerdy, consider the geography and climate. Wines from cooler regions or higher elevations will generally be higher acid than wines from warmer regions and lower elevations.

Try a dry Riesling, like this outstanding one under $30 from Emrich Schonleber.

Classic, Naturally

If you’re like us, your house is the party house. You host family and friends of all ages and tastes. At functions like this, we tend to steer the wine selection toward more classic profiles. If you're still learning your way around a wine label, here's a trick: You'll generally know that a wine is more "classic" if it is labeled with an appellation name. This means that it conforms to standards set by a regional governing body.

  • For French wines, you'll see "Appellation d'Origen Contrôlée."
  • In Italy you'll see a paper band on the neck of the bottle labeled "DOCG" or "DOC," which stand for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita and Denominazione di Origine Controllata respectively.
  • For Spanish wines, the appellation status will read "Denominación de Origen Protegida" or "Indicacién Geográfica Protegida."


 Try our exclusive Chianti, a classic and well-priced option that shines with a variety of dishes.

Variety is Your Friend

The Thanksgiving table is a groaning board of epic proportions. A collage of family traditions, recipes, and courses. Roasted veggies, juicy turkey, crisp citrusy salads, and 10 kinds of stuffing. You don't need to go on a gargantuan quest to pair every single dish with its own wine. Instead, provide your guests with varied options: refreshing red, white, rosé, and sparkling wines.

This quaffable Italian rosato is a thirst-quenching option. For bubbles, we're recommending our exclusive Gardette Champagne for a classic option or an airy, juicy Lambrusco like this one from Rolfshark.

When Bigger is Better

Nothing keeps a party going quite like a magnum. Or 3...The equivelant of 2 bottles of wine, a magnum isn't just a great way to get more bang for your buck. It's a showstopper. Big bottles just make people happy — what can we say.

Here's a magnum of Gamay from rising stars Bonnet-Cotton.

Phone a Friend

We’re here for you. You better believe our friends and family call us every single year to ask what to bring to the table. When in doubt, ask your local wine shop what they recommend — they’ll be more than happy to help you put together the perfect lineup of Thanksgiving wines. Or, you can shop our top picks right here.

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