How To Pair Wine & Pie For Thanksgiving

The food pairing guide you actually need

As Thanksgiving approaches, you're thinking about a lot of things. Do I really have to brine my turkey? Do I have enough chairs for everyone? Do I know how to make a cornucopia centerpiece? Probably the last thing on your mind is which wine you should all drink with dessert.

No, we don't mean the sticky-sweet ones that are dessert in and of themselves; we're talking about wine that's versatile enough to work with the entire meal but also pairs exceptionally well with the sweetest course. We went about determining these pairings in the best way possible: a hands-on experience with pies from Bubby's, the beloved New York spot that's been around for more than 25 years, and a range of French and South African wines from Cape Classics wine importers.

Pumpkin Pie

Try: 2014 Glenelly Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2014
"Chardonnay can be hard to make dance with anything: It can be a diva and like to be on its own," Molly Choi, of Cape Classics, says. But straightforward pumpkin pie (or one that's dressed up with pecans, like Bubby's version) can handle Chardonnay—and vice versa.

Apple Pie

Try: 2012 Vouvray Curvée 'T' or 2016 Indaba Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc is the most prolific grape varietal in South Africa; it's more abundant there than in the Loire Valley. We like the bubbles in a dry, sparkling Chenin, but a still one works just as well with apple pie. The wine's bubbling crispness and high acidity helps offset the pie's rich buttery crust (double crust, if you're doing dessert the right way). Similar to a Gewürztraminer, this wine is good for your entire meal.

Cherry Pie

Try: 2014 Les Hauts de Janeil Syrah-Grenache
Dessert is already sweet, so you don't want a wineglass full of syrup. The tannins and spice in a Syrah blend pair well with a fruit-forward pie, like sour cherry. Wines with high acidity tend to make good pairings with strong fruit notes.

Pecan Pie

Try: Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz
Sweeter reds work well with rich, nutty pecan pie (especially when spiked with chocolate  and bourbon), but this pairing works just fine with standard pecan pie as well. And if you're one of the few who chooses a chocolate pie on Thanksgiving, this one's also your jam.