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Best Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is the biggest challenge for wine lovers the world over. All of those different dishes and flavors mixing together! It’s nearly impossible to choose the perfect wines that will compliment the broad array of foods that make up the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The best plan of attack is to select a few wines that will match each course and cater to the different palates of the guests who are attending the dinner. Here are my picks for the best types of wine that can stand up to a variety of dishes.


Gewurztraminer is a spicy white varietal that comes from the slopes of the Alps in northern France. In the United States, Gewurztraminer has garnered something of a bad reputation though because many American wine producers like to make it into a sweet style wine akin to American Rieslings. However, the wines that will work really well with the turkey and stuffing course of dinner are the European Gewurztraminers that are grown at high altitudes. The wines they produce are spicy and exhibits flavors of herbs, citrus and flowers. They can stand up to even the most flavorful stuffing and add a little extra to a piece of dry turkey breast with gravy.

Sauvignon Blanc

Most people have probably heard of this wine in one way or another and with good reason – it’s one of the most versatile white grapes. It has a long history of making great dry, crisp white wines throughout France and northern Italy, but in recent years it has become even more famous in the new world vineyards of New Zealand. The New Zealand climate has infused these wines with bright grapefruit, orange and pear notes, which makes it an excellent accompaniment to some of the more acidic dishes like cranberry sauce or salad. If New Zealand is not your thing and you want to try something new, look for Sauvignon Blancs from South Africa. They tend to subdue a little bit of the fruit quality and pump up the crisp acidity and they’re pretty cheap, so it’s a win all around.

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is one of the most complicated and most famous grapes in the world. It originated in central France in a place called Burgundy and since then, people have used it to make some awesome red wines. However, for Thanksgiving pairings with Pinot, you’ve got two options. One, try to find a good Burgundy Pinot Noir from Beaune or Pommard. Burgundy Pinots are going to be significantly more acidic than their Californian counterparts, which makes them great accompaniments to the lighter dishes on the table. The second option is to go for a Californian Pinot. They tend to be much fruitier with lots of bing cherry, strawberry and raspberry notes and a good spiciness. These wines would probably stand up pretty well to the turkey and the stuffing, especially if you like eating the dark meat. Or, if your family is like mine, just grab a few bottles of both.


Probably the most famous grape of California, Zinfandels tend to make incredibly spicy, fruity red wines that are – best of all – super high in alcohol. Take a few bottles of Zin to dinner with the in-laws for an interesting Thanksgiving. Aside from its prowess at getting people rip roaring drunk, Zinfandels are actually great wines for Thanksgiving. The fruitiness makes the wines easy to drink and pretty universally well-liked, while the spiciness can work well with side dishes like sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. Look for styles that advertise their spiciness from places like Mendocino County, Central Coast and Paso Robles in California.

Written by the Marketing Department for Los Angeles car accident lawyer, Paul E. Lee