The Best (Affordable) Wine Pairings for Holiday Dinner

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Series on modern Thansgiving or alternative Halloween table decor

What pairs well with a Thanksgiving turkey? Whether you’re making an herb roasted, spice-rubbed or deep fried bird, it’s easy to find a wine that will match the savory flavors of your holiday meal, plus all of the trimmings.

From the second your guests walk in the door until it’s time to dig into the dessert course, we have fantastic wines for Thanksgiving dinner.

All of our selections are $30 and under…so you can impress your guests or your dinner host with a decent bottle that doesn’t cut into your Christmas shopping budget.

“With such a variety of dishes and flavors on the table there is no single wine that is the “perfect” wine when it comes to the Thanksgiving feast. Generally speaking, I like to recommend an assortment of white and red wines on the table,” said Paul Lapsley, Winemaker, Hardys Australia.

“I also look to the hallmark flavors in each dish to inform my wine decisions.

For a classic roast turkey with all the trimmings, for example, a fruit forward Chardonnay or an elegant Pinot Noir are reliably delicious pairings.

However, if the stuffing includes sausage or other spicy elements, a full-bodied Aussie Shiraz with its hallmark notes of black pepper and spice is a great match up.”

Though we’re never without a pouch or two of our client’s Bonfire Wines on hand, the holidays are a nice excuse to switch up your usual wine repertoire and play with a few pairings that you might not experience on a standard Saturday night.

Photo: Sparkle and Dine

Photo: Sparkle and Dine

First-Course Pairings

Hors d’oeuvres Course

Pair your pumpkin walnut crostini or warm brie with wild mushrooms with the delicate bubbles and creamy texture of Mionetto Prestige Organic Prosecco ($16) The perfect sparkling wine to serve at the beginning of your fête,  you can also let your guests enjoy it throughout their meal as the crisp, bright acidity will pair well with any flavorful spread.
Salad Course

Salad Course

Whether your holiday menu includes a simple green salad, like arugula with pear and blue cheese, or a heartier salad like kale with carrots and cranberries, Livio Felluga Pinot Grigio ($25) is a classic white wine with wonderful minerality and notes of golden apple, perfect for pairing with your choice of dressed greens.

Soup Course

Thanksgiving is the perfect day to start your meal with a bowl of luscious, creamy soup, like butternut squash and apple soup or curried pumpkin soup with creme fraiche. Serve the soup course with J. Lohr Estates Riverstone Chardonnay ($14), where the aromas of ripe pear, melon, Meyer lemon and brioche mingle with notes of roasted hazelnut, flint, 412spice and toasty oak.

Roast Turkey on White Background

Turkey Course Pairings

Herb Roasted Turkey

If you like your turkey straight up — based with herbs and maybe fresh citrus or olive oil, Eagle Glen Cabernet ($25) is a classic Napa Valley Cab that boasts a rich garnet color and flavors of ripe, juicy blackberries and plum. Notes of vanilla and oak balance out the wine nicely and will pair perfectly with your savory main course.

Spice Rubbed Turkey

If you like your turkey rubbed with zesty blend of spices (we love Martha Stewart’s version), look for a wine that boasts a zesty blend of grapes, to match. Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva ($25) is a food-friendly blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Colorino. With ripe fruit aromas and an earthy finish, it’s a versatile wine perfectly suitable for a bold turkey and any of your favorite side dishes.

Deep Fried Turkey

Deep frying is a preferable turkey preparation method because it greatly reduces cooking time (and creates valuable oven space).  Pair the bird with a wine that is light on the nose with layers of cherry, strawberry and spicy oak. Josh Cellars’ Pinot Noir ($17) is plush and subtle yet has a firm texture. The earthiness and spice of the Pinot Noir compliments your turkey — and will stand up to all of the trimmings, too.

pumpkin cheesecake

Pie Pairings

Apple Pie

It’s hard to resist a great slice of apple pie on a regular day, but even harder when it’s paired with a crisp glass of Alsatian Riseling. Helfrich Riesling ($15) is known for its fresh, well-structured taste and unlike traditional German Rieslings, a drier finish.

It’s crisp, fruity palate lingers with a hint of minerals and its orange and citrus aromas pair perfectly with sweet apples. Ala mode optional.

Pecan Pie

As there are different preparations of pecan pie, the perfect wine pairing will vary depending on the  pie’s sweetness. In most cases, pecan pie pairs well with a medium-bodied Chardonnay versatile enough to stand up to some of the richer flavors and sweetness in the pie.

William Hardy Chardonnay ($20) features tropical fruits and citrus beautifully married with harmonious notes of oak. The lemon zest and peach undertones are a perfect match for the classic holiday dessert

Pumpkin Pie

If you’re someone who likes to finish a meal with a wine that sparkles, Helfrich Cremant d’Alsace ($22) offers a fresh, crisp aroma and fine bubbles to pair with your creamy pumpkin pie or even pumpkin cheesecake pie.

The classic Alsatian bubbly – aromatic, crisp and refreshing — is great with your dessert or on its own as an after dinner indulgence.


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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Jersey Girl Cooks
    December 8, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    I love getting new wine recommendations. Thanks!

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