Five wine recommendations to impress your family this Thanksgiving

5 Thanksgiving wine recommendations that will impress

Let’s be honest: a true college education also includes an alcohol education.

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Thanksgiving may be largely food-centric, but between the turkey, stuffing and five different styles of potatoes, one key player often gets lost in the (cranberry) sauce: the wine. Since the holiday can be chaotic despite how many people gather around the dinner table, don’t stress over which wine is perfect enough to suit all of your relatives’ preferences. Instead, try these budget-friendly options that are sure to be crowd-pleasers. 

First, consider your menu: after all, a food and drink pairing should complement each other. Because most wines we buy off the shelf are younger, meaning they have a more recent vintage, they’re typically a safe option to work for most people’s palates, as well as with foods that vary in texture and flavor. Lighter wines—like sauvignon blanc, riesling and pinot noir—pair well with lighter dishes, which cover most of the stereotypical Thanksgiving fare—turkey, mashed potatoes and green beans, for example. Unless you’ve got some heavier mains like steak on the table, it’s safer to shy away from heavier wines, like cabernet, or dark reds, like barolo or chianti.

Dr. Konstantin Frank Semi-Dry Riesling, 2021

Hailing from the Finger Lakes,  this riesling is described by Dr. Frank’s Wine Cellars as “delicate at first, then tropically ripe,” featuring notes of lemon, apricot and nectarine. The ‘semi-dry’ qualifier in the name reflects its offering as a not-so-sweet white wine that will work well with a bite of salty food, like cheese, roasted vegetables or a green bean casserole. Cost: $18.99

Domaines Schlumberger Les Princes Abbes Riesling, 2020

This riesling, from Alsace, France, is on the dryer side as well—no need to be concerned about any overbearing sweetness here. Domaines Schlumberger Cellars note “candied fruit scents,” as well as tastes of apricot—a light, fruity wine that will match up to the density of turkey or chicken. Cost: $28.99

Résonance Pinot Noir, 2021

For red wine lovers, this pinot noir is a standout, ranking at #9 on the Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2023. From Willamette Valley, Ore., Résonance Wines describes tasting notes of “wild strawberry, mulberry, rose and cedar.” Still, it’s light enough not to overwhelm the flavor of your roast turkey or buttery sweet potatoes. Cost: $40

Domaines Ott, BY.OTT Rosé

While drinking rosé in the late fall may seem a bit rogue, it can be a complimentary choice for a menu that strays from turkey, as it pairs well with ham. Made in Provence, France, this pink wine is described by Domaines Ott as crisp in taste, “amplified by citrus zest and sweet spices (cinnamon and cardamom).” Cost: $28

Matua Sauvignon Blanc, 2020

Standing out as the most affordable recommendation on this list, this white wine from Marlborough, New Zealand, tastes of lemon with “a hint of vibrant passionfruit and basil,” Matua describes, working well with green veggies, poultry and seafood. Plus, its bonus feature—a thermal-sensitive snowflake sticker on the front of the bottle—indicates when the wine has reached its ideal chilling temperature. Cost: $13.

With these wine suggestions, you’re primed to serve as the family sommelier. Now, prepare to impress your friends and relatives this Thanksgiving—and get asked to choose the wines again next year.