What Kind of Wine Pairs Best With Holiday Turkey?

Wine tasting is a skill that's somewhere between an art and a science. It's an ability that can take some time to master, but there are certain occasions—like the holidays—when it can come in particularly handy. If you're at the beginning of your wine tasting journey, or you're just looking for some expert advice on how you can make your holiday turkey extra special this year, then this is the guide for you.

Holiday dinners are usually delicious, and good wine pairings have the ability to make them even better. Food and wine should work in tandem with one another, complementing the different tastes and textures in a meal.

Today, we're going to be talking about some of the best wines you can serve to those eating turkey this holiday season. Read on for everything you need to know.

Let's Talk Turkey

Before we start talking about wine pairings, let's discuss the star of the show: the holiday turkey. In order to determine what type of wine will pair best with a meal, we first need to examine the meal itself.

Like chicken, turkey is a predominantly white meat that has a low fat content. Because of this, many people may be tempted to pair it exclusively with white wines, as this is what chicken tends to pair well with.

However, when we look a little deeper, we can see that when it comes to a holiday dinner, there's room for all sorts of creative wine choices. It should also be said that the way in which you prepare your turkey can also have an effect on which wine it will pair best with.

Traditionally, holiday turkey tends to be roasted with some herbs and other accouterments. It's often served with rich accompaniments such as gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, baked ham, and roasted vegetables.

When we look at the meal as a whole, we can see that there are several reds that can also pair nicely. With that in mind, we've come up with several wines we think could be amazing pairings with your festive dinner this year.

1. Chardonnay

Chardonnay is a classic pairing for holiday turkey, for several reasons. First, it's got a bright, acidic flavor that will cut through the richness of the meal. The taste complements the herbaceousness that's usually a prominent feature of any holiday dinner.

A fruity and crisp Chardonnay would be perfect to bring out some of the underlying flavors (and textures) of your turkey. Try one from the Burgundy region of France or even California

2. Pinot Noir

Another popular pairing for turkey, Pinot Noir has just enough acidity to bring out the flavors of the meal, while also being fruity and rich enough to pair well with the indulgent nature of your holiday spread. It's a versatile and drinkable wine that works hard on the table.

If you do decide to go for a Pinot Noir, try a New World kind that has a less heavy, fruit-forward profile. Something from Argentina or California could work well here.

3. Barolo

If you're a red wine lover, another great variety to try will be Barolo. Barolo is known by some as "the king of wines" so you're already off to a good start if you do choose this full-bodied red. This wine hails from Italy, and it's certainly not shy and retiring.

A bottle of Barolo has the complex and strong aromas to not be overpowered by the food. Its tannins, fruit, and acidity will pair well with turkey, especially the darker cuts of meat.

4. Dry Riesling

Riesling is, to many, a divisive wine. Upon hearing the name, your mind likely instantly goes to a wine that's cloyingly sweet, and polarizing to say the least. But don't worry, we're talking about a totally different type of wine.

Dry riesling, unlike its much sweeter sister, is an acidic wine with tonnes of complexity and flavor. If you're serving up a smoked turkey, then this pairing will go especially well. The acidity is also great with herbs, so will be a perfect match for your mashed potatoes and stuffing.

5. Champagne

The holidays are a time to celebrate and spend time with the ones we love most. What could be more fitting for said celebration than a bubbly and crisp bottle of champagne or other sparkling wine?

Not only is it perfectly on theme for a festive feast, it also pairs well with many of the flavors you're likely to have on offer. For example, its high acidity means it's great with herby foods and smoked turkey. You can also serve it with starters, dessert, or any time at all!

6. Malbec

Malbec is another fruity wine that's as versatile as it is delicious. Although it's now known as an Argentinian wine, the grape actually originated in France.

Malbec is a rich and fruity wine that will bring out the flavors of cranberry sauce if you have it. It will also pair well with your gravy and your turkey—especially if it's smoked.

What Kind of Wine Will You Choose?

When it comes to the question of what kind of wine pairs best with turkey, it's clear the answers are diverse. The wines you end up choosing will depend on how you've cooked your turkey, as well as the tastes of everyone present. A good rule of thumb is to pick something that has some acidity, and that's versatile so that everyone can enjoy it.

No matter what type of wine you prefer, Denver's favorite wine shop got something for you. To find the perfect wine, you can browse our wide range now. If you have any burning questions about wine or pairing tips, you can visit us in-store, or get in touch with us now.