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While you may think turkey is only reserved for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, think again! Typically, turkey is reserved for major holidays each year, so when you make a turkey, you’re likely prepping for a feast of some sort. If you’re dressing a turkey for a large meal, you’ll want the right wines to complement your meal and please all of your guests. Check out the best wines to pair with turkey below.
With turkey, you’ve usually got a variety of sides and sweet treats to enjoy alongside the bird. There aren’t any hard and fast rules about what specifically you should pair with turkey, but as a more general rule, the lighter and lower-alcohol wines would go best with your turkey feast. Below, check out suggestions on what types of wines you and your guests might enjoy with your turkey dinners.
- Prosecco: This is one of the most flexible sparkling wines that you can serve with turkey or really any large feast. It’s clean, crisp, and very easy to drink. Make sure it’s chilled and that it’s not extra dry! Get a standard dry prosecco to balance the bold flavors and rich fats of your meal.
- Cava: Serving a Cava alongside your turkey is perfect – especially if your turkey has been deep-fried or prepared with a lot of salt. Cava is crisp and helps cut through the flavors of salt and fat.
- Champagne: Honestly, champagne is appropriate before, during, and after any meal that includes turkey! If you’re celebrating a holiday, it won’t be complete until you’ve popped a cork. Plus, it’s high in acidity and friendly to pair with most foods.
- Gewurztraminer: Similar to Moscato, but higher in alcohol content, you’ll find that Gewurztraminer is a perfect addition to a large turkey dinner. Perfect for lean cuts of meat (and seafood), this wine is especially delicious when paired with spicier turkey and side dish options. Flavors from any dish with cinnamon, clove, onions, squash, and even carrots would be greatly enhanced with a pour of Gewurztraminer.
- Viognier: This white wine has bright notes of peach, tangerine, and honeysuckle that are perfect for the rich foods and spices that often accompany any turkey dinner. Aside from roasted turkey dinners, Viogniers are also a perfect match for the tofurkey lovers! It’s a bold wine that matches up with rich foods and spices that you would have at a traditional turkey dinner.
- Riesling: Does your turkey dinner have lots of herbed or spicier dishes? Then a Riesling should definitely be on your table. Dry Rieslings pair nicely with sweet items (like sweet potatoes or butternut squash dishes). Sweet Rieslings are a great counterpoint to the rich gravies and juices from the turkey. Rieslings are incredibly versatile – serve it before or with your feast.
More White Wine Turkey Pairings
- Chenin Blanc: You can find this versatile white in dry, off-dry, sweet, and sparkling varieties. Almost always crisp and highly acidic, the lightness of this white wine is a great way to start a heavy meal. It’s also great for balancing robust meats and cheeses as you refresh your palate!
- Sauvignon Blanc: Always flavorful, always dry, and not oaky, the crisp, citrus-based flavors of Sauvignon Blanc blend well with almost any dish at a turkey feast. As a frequent complement to white meats (ahem, turkey), it’s also herbaceous and it pairs well with vegetable-based dishes at your meal. It’s food and budget-friendly too!
- Chardonnay: Some may find it too buttery, but the oaky and herb notes are perfect for bringing out the flavors and texture from your turkey. Not only can you drink Chardonnay with your turkey feast, but it is often used to create glazes and gravies that are perfect with your turkey! Oaked Chardonnays are a great match for your starchy side dishes.
- Syrah/Shiraz: If you’re looking to add a spicier edge to your wine offerings with turkey, consider a Syrah/Shiraz. Full of peppery notes, enjoy this wine with your stuffing and turkey meat, light or dark. Enjoy it still or sparkling and you’ll have a full-bodied wine that is perfect for a variety of palates.
- Beaujolais: Made from Gamay grapes, a Beaujolais would be a welcome addition to your turkey dinner spread. Refreshing and fruity, this easy-drinking wine won’t compete with all of the flavors on your table. The red berry flavors of cranberries, red cherries, and red currants are excellent complements to roasted meats. On the other hand, its high acidity is a great pairing for your creamy and starchy sides.
- Pinot Noir: With bright acidity and soft tannins, Pinot Noir is a very versatile red wine. As a light-bodied red wine with a fruit-forward profile, this is a classic option to pair with a traditional turkey and gravy dinner.
- Zinfandel: Almost any Zinfandel will pair very well with turkey – dark or light cuts. It’s a perfect match if you expect your meal to be more heavy and hearty. The rich and bold flavors of Zinfandel accommodate spicy, bitter, and sweet tastes in almost any type of dinner offering.
- Fortified wines are a sweet option for AFTER the turkey! Their sweet flavors are perfect by themselves for dessert, or they’ll match nicely with some of your favorite desserts. Plus, port wine is a great additive to turkey gravy!
No matter what type of turkey feast you’re preparing, there is definitely a wine to complement your menu. If you remember your wine pairing basics, you’ll do just fine. Keep it simple and drink what you like! If you’re considering others and what they’ll enjoy, consider the richness of the food you’re preparing and the wines you wish to serve! Are they complementary? Think about matching your wines to the seasoning or sauces of your turkey dishes, rather than just the meat itself. Don’t get stuck on just a simple red or white, a little variety is good for everyone!
What are some of your favorite wines to pair with turkey or other large and hearty meals?