Elevate Your Turkey Dinner with the Finest Wine Selections

Edited By Maharshi Soni on Jun 11,2024

 

Turkey dinners are a staple for many festive occasions, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas. Pairing your turkey dinner with the right wine is critical to make it unforgettable. The right wine can enhance the flavors of the turkey and its accompaniments, creating a harmonious dining experience. Learn the art of wine pairing with turkey and explore some of the best wine selections to elevate your next turkey dinner.

 

Wine with Turkey Food Pairing

Pairing wine with turkey involves the flavors and textures of the wine and the food. Turkey is a versatile meat with a mild flavor, meaning it can pair well with red and white wines. The ideal wine should have the turkeys flavor without overpowering it. The side dishes served alongside the turkey can influence your wine choice, as they often bring unique flavors.

 

Turkey's mild flavor profile means it can be paired with various wines, making it a versatile centerpiece for your holiday meal. When pairing wine, think about the preparation of the turkey and the flavors of the side dishes. For instance, a roasted turkey with herb stuffing and gravy will pair differently than a smoked turkey with sweet cranberry sauce. The key is to find wines that nicely contrast these flavors.

 

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What Wines Go With Turkey?

 

White Wines with Turkey

 

White Wine and roasted Turkey

 

White wines are a popular choice for turkey because of their acidity and freshness, which can cut through the meat's richness and any creamy or buttery sides. Look for whites with enough body to match the weight of the turkey but not so overpowering that they dominate the meal. Crisp, aromatic whites are often ideal, as they provide a refreshing counterpoint to the savory flavors of the turkey and its accompaniments.

 

Chardonnay

A rich, oaked Chardonnay can the buttery flavors of turkey and its accompaniments, while an unoaked Chardonnay offers a crisper, fresher pairing. The creamy texture and subtle oak notes of an oaked Chardonnay pair well with roasted turkey and creamy sides like mashed potatoes or gravy. An unoaked Chardonnay, with its vibrant acidity and fruit-forward profile, is an excellent match for turkey with lighter sides, such as green beans or salads.

 

Riesling

Whether dry or slightly sweet, Rieslings high acidity and aromatic profile make it an excellent match for turkey, especially with fruit-based side dishes. The wine's floral and citrus notes the flavors of the turkey and its accompaniments, while its acidity cuts through the meal's richness. An off-dry Riesling is well-suited for turkey with sweet sides like cranberry sauce or sweet potatoes.

 

Sauvignon Blanc

With its zesty acidity and herbaceous notes, Sauvignon Blanc can enhance the flavors of turkey and lighten up heavier sides. The wine's crisp and refreshing character makes it an excellent choice for turkey dinners with various sides. Sauvignon Blanc's citrus and green apple flavors pair well with turkey, while its herbaceous notes sides like herb stuffing or green bean casserole.

 

Viognier

This aromatic white wine offers floral and stone fruit notes, providing a unique and delightful pairing with turkey. Viognier's rich and luscious texture pairs well with roasted or grilled turkey, and its exotic fruit flavors add a layer of complexity to the meal. This wine is well-suited for turkey dinners with Mediterranean-inspired sides, such as roasted vegetables or couscous.

 

Gewrztraminer

Known for its spicy and exotic fruit flavors, Gewrztraminer can add an exciting dimension to a turkey dinner, especially if you enjoy bold flavors. The wine's aromatic profile and slightly sweet character make it an excellent match for turkey with sweet sides like cranberry sauce or sweet potatoes. Gewrztraminer's spice notes also include sides like sausage stuffing or gravy.

 

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Red Wines with Turkey

 

Red Wine with Turkey

 

Red wines, particularly those with light to medium body and moderate tannins, can also be excellent with turkey. The tannins in red wine can interact with the protein in the turkey, enhancing the flavors and creating a more complex taste experience. However, it's important to choose reds that aren't too heavy, as overly tannic wines can overpower the delicate flavors of the turkey. Instead, opt for reds with bright fruit flavors and balanced acidity.

 

Pinot Noir

With its light body, bright acidity, and red fruit flavors, Pinot Noir is a classic choice that pairs beautifully with turkey. The subtle tannins and earthy notes of Pinot Noir enhance the flavors of the turkey without overpowering it. This wine is particularly well-suited for roasted turkey with herb stuffing, as its acidity cuts through the dish's richness, and its fruitiness the flavors.

 

Beaujolais

Made from the Gamay grape, Beaujolais is light, fruity, and has low tannins, making it a perfect match for turkey. Its vibrant red fruit flavors and refreshing acidity make it an excellent choice for turkey dinners, especially with various side dishes. This wine is exceptionally versatile and can handle the slightly sweet sides.

 

Zinfandel

For those who prefer a bolder red, Zinfandel offers ripe fruit flavors and a spicy finish that can stand up to rich turkey dishes. The wine's robust character pairs well with smoked turkey or turkey with flavorful sides like sausage stuffing or spicy cranberry sauce. The wine's peppery notes add more complexity to the meal.

 

Grenache

Grenaches soft tannins and fruity profile make it versatile for turkey's mild flavor. The wine's ripe red fruit flavors and hints of spice pair well with roasted or grilled turkey, enhancing the meat's natural flavors. Grenache is also an excellent match for turkey with Mediterranean-inspired sides, such as roasted vegetables or couscous.

 

Barbera

Known for its high acidity and low tannins, Barbera pairs well with various turkey preparations, from roasted to smoked. The wine's bright cherry and plum flavors and refreshing acidity make it a delightful pairing for turkey dinners. Barbera's acidity cuts through the richness of the turkey and its sides, providing a balanced and enjoyable dining experience.

 

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Turkey Preparations and Types of Wine

To break it down further, let's explore specific types of wines and how they pair with different turkey preparations and side dishes.

 

Roasted Turkey

You can't go wrong with a Chardonnay or Pinot Noir for a classic roasted turkey. The buttery notes of an oaked Chardonnay the rich flavors of the roast, while an unoaked version offers a fresher, more vibrant pairing. With its bright acidity and red fruit flavors, Pinot Noir is versatile enough to handle roasted turkey's varied tastes and side dishes.

 

Smoked Turkey

Smoked turkey, with its rich, savory flavors, pairs well with bolder wines. A Zinfandel or a Grenache can match the smokiness without being overwhelmed. The ripe fruit flavors and spicy notes of these wines enhance the complex taste of the smoked turkey, making for a memorable meal.

 

Turkey with Sweet Sides

If your turkey is served with sweet sides like cranberry sauce or sweet potatoes, a wine with a hint of sweetness. Riesling, particularly an off-dry version, can balance the sweetness of the sides and the savory turkey. Similarly, a Gewrztraminer, with its exotic fruit and spice notes, can both the turkey and the sweet accompaniments.

 

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Rules for Wine Pairing with Turkey

Ensure the intensity of the wine matches the intensity of the turkey and its side dishes. Light wines with lighter dishes and more robust wines with more decadent dishes. Wines with good acidity can cut through the richness of the turkey and its sides, refreshing the palate. Choose wines that have the flavors of the turkey and enhance the overall dining experience. Ultimately, the best wine is one you enjoy. Feel free to experiment and choose what pleases your palate.

 

The Side Dishes

Side dishes play a significant role in the overall flavor profile of the meal. If your sides are rich and delicious, like stuffing or gravy, you'll want a wine that can match those flavors. A wine with good acidity, like a Sauvignon Blanc or a Barbera, can provide a refreshing contrast. For sweeter sides, like cranberry sauce or sweet potatoes, a wine with a hint of sweetness, like Riesling or Gewrztraminer, can have those flavors.

 

Think About the Sauces

Sauces can also impact your wine choice. A rich, creamy gravy calls for a wine with enough body to match its weight, such as a Chardonnay or a Viognier. On the other hand, a tangy cranberry sauce might pair better with a wine that has a touch of sweetness and good acidity, like a Riesling or Pinot Noir.

 

Dont Forget the Dessert

While dessert wines are often overlooked in holiday meals, they can be a delightful addition. A sweet wine like a late-harvest Riesling or a Sauternes can be a perfect ending to your turkey dinner, primarily if you're serving a decadent dessert like pumpkin pie or pecan pie.

 

Conclusion

Pairing the perfect wine with your turkey dinner can elevate the meal from delicious to extraordinary. The wine and food flavors can create a harmonious dining experience that will delight your guests. Cheers to a memorable turkey dinner!

 

FAQs

What kind of wine goes well with turkey?

Lightto medium-bodied reds like Pinot Noir and fruity whites like Riesling are popular choices. When selecting your wine, the preparation of the turkey and the flavors of the side dishes.

 

Does turkey go with red or white wine?

Light to medium-bodied reds with low tannins and crisp, aromatic whites are generally the best matches. Turkey's versatility allows it to pair well with various wines, so feel free to experiment with different types to find your perfect match.

 

What wine goes best with Thanksgiving dinner?

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are classic choices, but explore options like Beaujolais and Riesling for a festive touch. The key is to find wines that can handle the wide range of flavors typically found in a Thanksgiving meal, from savory stuffing to sweet cranberry sauce.

 

Can you drink Pinot Grigio with turkey?

Yes, Pinot Grigio can be an excellent choice with turkey. Pinot Grigio's clean and straightforward flavors won't overpower the turkey, making it a versatile option for various turkey preparations and sides.

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