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Go-To Wines for Thanksgiving

This holiday season, why stick with one type of wine for an entire dinner when you can mix and match for all the flavors on the table? We asked sommeliers, wine directors, and wine shop owners for their top bottle recs (including no-alcohol options) to pair with seasonal fare, from Brussels sprouts to turkey to pumpkin pie.



Dr. Hermann Mosel Riesling Trocken“Dr. Hermann Mosel Riesling Trocken specializes in farming Riesling on the steep slopes of Germany’s Mosel Valley. Coming from 20- to 40-year-old vines, their Trocken Riesling is thrillingly aromatic and complex, with notes of peach and tangerine. The wine is dry and relatively low alcohol, making it an easy drinker both before and during the meal. I’d pair it with green fall vegetables like Brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving. And when I say Brussels sprouts, I mean roasted to crisp perfection, with a pop of acidity, and a salty component. The Riesling has a super-expressive fruit character, which contrasts the funky veggie quality of the sprouts, and the wine’s bright, linear acidity echoes the crunch of those singed outer leaves.”—Alex Ring, wine director, Michelin-starred Sepia and Proxi, Chicago | $18.99, wine.com

Beans and Rice

Espelt Garnacha Old Vines“I always bring a bottle of Spanish Garnacha to Thanksgiving dinner. I love pairing Garnacha with rice and beans and other flavorful dishes full of spices. Its ripe, lush, fruit-forward flavor profile lends this grape to being food-friendly and extremely versatile, with notes of strawberry, plum, and raspberry, as well as dried herbs. Garnacha’s tannins tend to be soft to moderate, so pairing it with spicy or acidic dishes generally works really well.”—Sarah Pierre, owner, 3 Parks Wine Shop, Atlanta | $12.99, bevmo.com


2020 Julien Cecillon, Saint-Peray, Gemini“I particularly love Rhône Whites with stuffing, but don’t be shy to play around with the other Thanksgiving classics on the table. I love Rhône Whites with Thanksgiving, as they are super versatile with a lot of different food on the table, and the warm, savory, rich, and herbal flavors we think of with Thanksgiving are present in the glass with Rhône Whites. Julien Cecillon is one of the new-guard winemakers in the Rhône and has been putting out some awesome wines recently—whites with texture and a brightness.”—Courtney Wieland, director of private clients, Thatcher’s Wine, Hayward, California | $30, thatcherswine.com

Cranberry Sauce

Domaine Germain Pere Et Fils Pommard La Chaniere 2019“This wine is tart with a crunchy acid similar to that of fresh cranberry. There’s also a little earthiness and minerality that lend a lot of complexity to the wine. One of my favorites!”—Amy Racine, beverage director, JF Restaurants, New York City | $53.99, costplusliquors.com

Prima Pavé Rosé Brut (no-alcohol)Like most meals, sparkling wine is a great pairing for Thanksgiving and will play well with everything on the table from salad to vegetables to turkey. Light enough not to overpower anything, but with the right bubbly texture to cut through gravy or fried turkey, Prima Pavé Rosé Brut is a stunning de-alcoholized sparkler made in Northern Italy from Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Pinot Grigio.”—Ian Blessing, former French Laundry sommelier and co-founder of All the Bitter | $24, primapave.com

Turkey With Gravy

Broc Cellars Vine Starr Zinfandel“A few years ago I started spatchcocking and smoking my turkey, and I’ll never go back. The turkey cooks fast so the meat doesn’t dry out and the influence of smoke is light but noticeable. A playful interpretation of a traditionally fuller-bodied red always works well here. Turkey is not a high-fat protein so you don’t need a wine with a lot of tannins. The smoke that you’ll get from the couple hours it takes to cook your bird will need some bold flavors though. A lighter, brighter approach to Zinfandel works well here; something with a lower alcohol content and without the use of new oak. This will bring plenty of flavors but still keep things refreshing.”—Matt Hensel, owner, 45th Parallel Wines, Portland, Oregon | $39.96, astorwines.com

Leitz Zero Point Five Pinot Noir (no-alcohol)Reds should also be on the lighter side with bright, tart fruit and without too much oak—like Pinot Noir—so as not to overpower turkey, which is fairly light in flavor. Germany’s Leitz produces a fantastic range of nonalcoholic wines, including a Pinot Noir that is wonderfully balanced and delivers all the same charm, despite being sweeter than the alcoholic version.”Ian Blessing | $20, thezeroproof.com


Henriot Blanc de Blancs“I love to buy Henriot Blanc de Blancs if I’m just showing up to a holiday dinner or party late. I always feel like bubbles can do no harm. It is welcoming and a great way to pop conversational bubbles. I love this bottle as it isn’t a high-acid champagne, the bubbles are reserved and the chardonnay grape gives it a nutty note that will pair with almost any starter and also has enough body to hold up to pie and ice cream.”—Tia Barrett, wine director, Esme, Chicago | $64.99, binnys.com

Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco“I’m a stickler for the classics, and Cleto Chiarli is a producer that put the Lambrusco grape on the map for Emilia-Romagna. Lambrusco is a sparkling wine that can be sweet or dry and typically sees a bit more skin contact causing it to taste like perfectly ripe red and black fruits. I think an off-dry Lambrusco is great with desserts like pumpkin and apple pie, lending some acidity and effervescence and complementing with raspberry and strawberry flavors.”—Michael Branton, sommelier, Tercet, Portland, Oregon | $15.99, wine.com

2022 Gewürztraminer Grape Juice (no-alcohol)
“Gewürztraminer is a natural choice with its flavors of ginger and baking spice. Navarro Vineyards in Mendocino makes a spectacular verjus from the first picking of their estate Gewürz grapes. Sweet enough to go with dessert, it’s got enough acid to prevent it from ever becoming cloying. It’s available now but sells out fast!”—Ian Blessing | $17, navarrowine.com

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