What To Consider When Pairing Wine With Your Thanksgiving Turkey

Thanksgiving's traditional centerpiece, the turkey, surprisingly takes a backseat when you're orchestrating the perfect wine pairings. In an exclusive conversation with Tasting Table, Catherine Fallis, the Master Sommelier at Bright Cellars, sheds light on a common misconception. She reveals, "The turkey itself is delicious with almost any type of wine." The complexity arises from the sides and what you've stuffed the turkey with, and it's those myriad flavors and textures that defy the singularity of a perfect wine match.

Navigating the festive labyrinth of a traditional Thanksgiving menu, Fallis offers an inclusive strategy. "There is no right or wrong choice here with the classic Thanksgiving menu, so offer a selection of wines your guests can choose from," she advises. This diversity in wine selection is as bountiful as the spread itself, allowing guests to tailor their sips to their individual plates. Whether the turkey is stuffed with herbaceous vegetables or savory meats and sausages can guide the wine's direction, suggesting lighter whites or robust reds, respectively. Likewise, the choice of wine should resonate with the sides served, from the earthiness of Brussels sprouts to the sweetness of glazed carrots and marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes. By offering wines as varied as the sides, every guest can find a harmonious match for their holiday feast.

From main course to final toast: Curating the perfect holiday wine pairings

With Catherine Fallis' expert advice, you can master Thanksgiving and holiday wine pairings, starting with the succulent main course and ending at the dessert finale. You'll delight and engage your guests with a memorable and curated journey that enhances the turkey, the undisputed centerpiece. Then, the classic pies of Thanksgiving and the holidays — pumpkin, pecan, apple, ube — beckon for wines like a late harvest Riesling or a silky Port, which, with their layered complexity, serve to amplify the desserts' rich and decadent flavors.

But why stop at pies? Dessert wines stand splendidly on their own — a bubbly sparkling red, a sweetly intense Canadian ice wine, or an aromatic delight from the Muscat family can be the perfect after-dinner treat. By embracing Fallis's sage advice, you, as the host, can orchestrate a wine experience that enhances the Thanksgiving and holiday meal into a culinary adventure that would earn an oenophile's hearty approval. The wines become more than just a pairing for the turkey, stuffing, sides, and desserts. They'll celebrate the holiday's rich flavors and a testament to your thoughtful preparation as the host/

Finally, let's not forget the youngest guests. Offer a variety of sparkling waters, seltzers, sodas, or even kiddie mocktails to mirror the adult experience.