Something to Wine About: Red & White Wines to Pair with Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving white wines: Unánime Chardonnay, Bridge Lane Sauvignon Blanc, Peconic Bay Vineyards Riesling
Thanksgiving whites: Unánime Chardonnay, Bridge Lane Sauvignon Blanc, Peconic Bay Vineyards Riesling

As Thanksgiving fast approaches, many wine columnists will write about what wine pairs best with turkey.

Often, pinot noir will come up as the big winner. But keep in mind these factors: turkey is both white meat and dark meat, and it’s usually not the only dish served on Thanksgiving.

And, finally, there are white wine drinkers who prefer to stick with whites regardless of the menu. Here are three crowd-pleasing white wines that complement turkey and all its fixings, and two red wines to consider this Thanksgiving.

White Wines for Thanksgiving

The first wine is the 2020 Unánime Chardonnay. This Argentinian wine is a delightful chardonnay. If you are accustomed to heavy, over-oaked, buttery chardonnays that are common in California, this wine is an extremely pleasant surprise.

Notes on the nose and palate include spiced-apple, ripe-mango, banana and nutmeg. It is medium-bodied with a lovely, lush mouth feel without being heavy. Not being heavy is important when the food is the star. It has wonderful, crisp acidity throughout.

Interestingly, 50% of this wine is fermented in oak, and 50% is fermented in concrete eggs. Concrete eggs do not impart any flavors to the wine as oak does, but they are slightly porous letting in a very small amount of oxygen, and they soften the texture of the wine.

This lovely wine retails for $25.

Next is the 2021 Bridge Lane Sauvignon Blanc. This is a very agreeable sauvignon blanc. It is citrusy and fruit forward without being aggressive, and it will complement, not compete with, your meal. It’s smooth, a trait often missing in many sauvignon blancs, and has low minerality, plus a very pleasing finish.

This wine retails for $16.

Finally, the 2020 Peconic Bay Vineyards Riesling is a higher end, off-dry and supremely balanced Riesling. Usually when Rieslings come to mind people think of sweet, one note, starter wines that white wine drinkers may have began drinking, but grew away from as time went on.

This appealing wine however might change that school of thought. Its flavors are fresh, and it is not at all cloying. The finish is crisp, clean, and evocative of a lemon drop.

This wine retails for $30.

If you inquire in your local wine store about which reds would go best with your Thanksgiving dinner, you will likely be directed to pinot noirs or possibly Chiantis as they are both supremely food friendly wines. Many of those wines are light- to medium-bodied, and most have long, dry, often bright and fresh finishes that enhance foods by cutting through fat and heaviness.

But pinot noirs and Chiantis are not your only options.

Thanksgiving red wines McCall Ben’s Blend, Pindar Cabernet Port
Thanksgiving reds: McCall Ben’s Blend, Pindar Cabernet Port

Thanksgiving Red Wines

A Long Island wine that can easily rival any pinot noir or Chianti in the area of food friendliness is the 2014 Ben’s Blend from McCall Wines.

Winemaker Gilles Martin crafts this Bordeaux-style blend with cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot. The wine is aged for 18 months in French oak and this dry, flavorful blend is only produced during excellent vintages, that is years where the grapes are at their best.

The flavors are an artful blend of fresh cherry, coffee, earth and very light notes of bittersweet chocolate. This wine complements, not competes, with food.

It retails for $62 and drinks like an old-world wine worth every penny.

If you’d like to have some wine with your dessert, or wine instead of dessert, the 2015 Cabernet Port from Pindar is an excellent choice. Made from cabernet grapes that have been aged in small oak barrels for two years, this Port wine has flavors off toffee, chocolate and ripe cherry.

The ripe cherry flavor actually keeps this sweet wine from being too sweet. Enjoy it with coffee, dessert, cheesecake and cannoli.

This wine retails for $29.

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