Holiday Turkey Wine Pairings

The holiday season is among us. Get ready for some chilly winds, but also the most heartwarming meals on the calendar. Getting together with friends and family is what the holiday season is all about, and you know a dinner party means great food and the wine served with it.

Turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes and Brussel sprouts are guaranteed, but because food and wine are two sides of the same coin, it’s useful to know which are the best wines for the season. Especially to pair with the most emblematic seasonal dish: Turkey. Here’s all you need to know about it.

How to pair wine with turkey?

Roast turkey is more than food; it’s a symbol of unity and community. It’s also a wholesome meal no one can say no to. As with all poultry, turkey is white meat, but unlike chicken, turkey is incredibly lean. This is why overcooking it renders dry, chewy meat. When done right, though, turkey is just succulent.

White meat is better paired with either full-bodied white wines or light-bodied reds. The good news? There are plenty of labels to choose from, all perfect pairings for the delicious bird and its golden skin.

Holiday Turkey Wine Pairings

White wines to pair with turkey

If you’re looking for a white wine for your holiday dinner party, then you want to find a nice bottle of Chardonnay. The queen of white grapes is one of the few varietals fermented in oak barrels, meaning the wine has a full-body and a coating mouthfeel.

Chardonnays are also buttery and creamy, which makes them compatible with the unctuous turkey. Big, bold Chardonnays from California, Burgundy, Chile and even Australia are ideal choices. They’ll not only make Turkey stand out but also every buttery and starchy side dish you serve with it.

Wine to try: Kendall Jackson Reserve Chardonnay


Red wines to pair with turkey

Structured red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz or Malbec are better paired with fatty meat, mainly red meat and decadent steaks. For turkey, you don’t need as many tannins, the gritty particles that dry your mouth. You need smooth, velvety wines instead. The best of them all? Pinot Noir.

Pinot Noir will pair with turkey’s white meat beautifully and will mirror the cranberry sauce’s fruitiness.

The Burgundian grape is successful in coastal California, Oregon, Australia’s Yarra Valley, and Fresh Chilean regions. All of them are as smooth as silk and fruity. They’re just celebratory wines.


Find your perfect pairing

Although, indeed, some wines go better with certain foods, there’s no reason you shouldn’t experiment a bit and find your own perfect pairings.

Food and wine pairings are all about experimentation, and there’s lots of room for creativity. We all like different things, so it’s easy to see why a wine pairing might work for some, but not others.

Become a food and wine pairing expert and choose your own wines for the bountiful holiday dinner parties. The most important thing, though, is sharing your discoveries with your loved ones. Food and wine are meant to be shared, after all.


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