How to Choose the Perfect Thanksgiving Wine

Thanksgiving is almost here and it’s time to start planning your feast! Whether you’re attending a big family dinner, a potluck with friends, celebrating at a restaurant or just throwing a frozen dinner into the oven, pairing wines on Thanksgiving can get tricky. When people ask for my recommendation for the best Thanksgiving wine, my advice is simple: grab the 3 R’s.

Remember the Riesling

The first R is Riesling. Riesling is the varietal that everyone seems to forget about. They think if they grab a bottle, they’re going to be stuck drinking some fruity sweet wine. However, all through Germany, as well as up and down the West Coast, there are producers making quality Riesling with little or no sugar left over. These wines are low in alcohol and pair well with the lighter fare you’ll most likely be snacking on early in the day while awaiting the feast. Riesling is your breakfast wine.

Here are my recommended Rieslings

  • Poet’s Leap by Long Shadows out of Columbia Valley Washington
  • Hans Lang Charta from the Rheingau, Germany

NOTE: The above Rieslings, as well as the majority of recommended wines mentioned, are available here at George’s by the glass or bottle. Come in and try them for yourself while prepping for the big day. View our complete wine list here.

Rosé for Mid-day

The next R is a summertime flashback. For lunch, it is time for Rosé. I prefer ones from Bandol or Provence. These move you into something a little heavier to go with the richer foods you’ll be stealing when you sneak into the kitchen and run away with something you’re not supposed to have yet.

Here are my recommended Rosés

  • Domaine de La Mordoree, Tavel, France (Grenache dominant blend)
  • Domaine Terrebrune or Domaine Tempier, Bandol France (Mourvedre dominant blend)


Set the Tone with Rhone

And finally, dinner is served. This is where things can be the most difficult. For the perfect pairing on Thanksgiving, you have to ask many questions. How was the turkey prepared? What kind of gravy is being served? Is that actually ham and not turkey? What is the secret ingredient in grandma’s stuffing? Why do the yams and cranberries make you feel like you’ve had too much espresso? It can get confusing to find a wine that will play nicely with everything offered. So I always recommend to go Rhone. Grabbing a good bottle of Cotes du Rhone, or deciding you really like the people you are with and opening up a good Chateauneuf du Pape, is my favorite call. Rhones have the spice and enough character to stand up to the traditional Thanksgiving food on the table, and although it may not be best friends with the cranberries, it will work.

Here are my recommended Rhones

  • Domestic: Tablas Creek, ‘Esprit de Beaucastel’ or Long Shadows ‘Sequel’ from Columbia Valley
  • True Rhones, anything from producers such as Guigal, Chapoutier, Domaine de Vieux Telegraphe, Chateau de Beaucastel or Paul Autard are great

Remember the 3 R’s this Thanksgiving and you’ll have all your bases covered for a perfect family meal. Better yet, join us for a special Thanksgiving feast at George’s and let us serve you the best of the best. We will be open all day.

Reserve your spot now!