What Wine Goes Good With Turkey

When it comes to matching wine with turkey, I have constantly found it to be an enjoyable task. Being a wine lover, I am convinced that the correct wine can bring out the best in …

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When it comes to matching wine with turkey, I have constantly found it to be an enjoyable task. Being a wine lover, I am convinced that the correct wine can bring out the best in a dish and elevate the dining experience to a whole new level. Therefore, let us delve into the realm of wine and uncover what makes the ideal accompaniment for turkey.

Understanding the Flavor Profile

Turkey, as a lean and versatile meat, offers a blank canvas for flavors. Its mild taste blends well with a wide range of flavors, from savory herbs to sweet and tangy sauces. This opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to wine pairing.

The Classic Pairing: Pinot Noir

One wine that often comes to mind when pairing with turkey is Pinot Noir. This medium-bodied red wine offers a perfect balance of acidity, fruitiness, and earthiness. The subtle flavors of berries, cherries, and spices in Pinot Noir complement the delicate flavors of turkey without overpowering them. It acts as a palate cleanser, preparing your taste buds for another delightful bite.

Personally, I love the way a well-rounded Pinot Noir brings out the herbaceous notes in the turkey stuffing. It adds a touch of elegance to the meal and creates a harmonious experience with each sip and bite.

Exploring White Wine Options

While red wine is a popular choice, white wine also has its place on the Thanksgiving table. For those who prefer white wine or want to provide a range of options, there are a few fantastic choices to consider.

Chardonnay: The Creamy Companion

A buttery and oaked Chardonnay can be a delightful pairing with turkey. The richness of the wine complements the moistness of the meat, creating a luscious and indulgent combination. Some Chardonnays offer flavors of vanilla, caramel, and tropical fruits, which beautifully enhance the savory and slightly sweet flavors of the turkey.

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I’ve always enjoyed the interplay of the creamy texture of Chardonnay with the juicy turkey. It’s like having a mini feast for the senses with every sip and bite.

Riesling: The Refreshing Surprise

For those who prefer a lighter and more refreshing option, Riesling can be an unexpected but excellent choice. The natural acidity of Riesling cuts through the richness of the turkey’s flavors, providing a palate-cleansing effect. The wine’s vibrant citrus and stone fruit flavors add a bright and zesty component to the meal, creating a refreshing contrast.

I’ve found that a slightly off-dry Riesling, with just a touch of sweetness, works particularly well to balance the savory and slightly sweet notes of the turkey. It adds a layer of complexity that keeps the taste buds engaged throughout the meal.

Other Considerations

While Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling are excellent choices, there are many other wines that can complement turkey beautifully. Some other red wine options include Beaujolais, Zinfandel, and Grenache. On the white wine side, you can also explore Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, and Viognier.

Ultimately, the perfect wine pairing with turkey depends on personal preference. The key is to experiment, have fun, and trust your own taste buds. Consider the flavors of the other dishes on your Thanksgiving table, and don’t be afraid to mix and match. Wine pairing is a subjective and enjoyable journey that allows you to discover new flavors and enhance your dining experience.


Pairing wine with turkey is an art that offers endless possibilities. Whether you choose a classic Pinot Noir, a creamy Chardonnay, or a refreshing Riesling, the right wine can elevate your Thanksgiving feast to new heights. So, go ahead and explore the world of wine, embrace your personal preferences, and savor every sip and bite.

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John has been a hobbyist winemaker for several years, with a few friends who are winery owners. He writes mostly about winemaking topics for newer home vintners.
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