Because Thanksgiving is the American holiday, we always serve American wines.

If pour just one white wine and one red wine at Thanksgiving, that’s O.K.

But for those who want to up their wine-pairing game, the folks at Cameron Hughes Wine (photo #3) have put together a Thanksgiving food and wine pairing guide and an explanation of their choices.

Cameron Hughes focuses on value wines: good wines for $ 12 to $ 18 a bottle. He does it by not owning his own vineyards, but instead purchasing grapes directly from growers.

Check out all the wines from Cameron Hughes.

If you think the following amount of wine is “too much” for one Thanksgiving meal…well, it depends on how much of a foodaholic you are. We’ve been serving six different types of wine with big dinners for decades.
1. Apéritif & All-Purpose White: Chardonnay

For those who want a white wine aperitif, Chardonnay is a popular choice. At the table, it pairs with all the traditional dishes. It really shines with green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, which is why it’s also the go-to for vegetarian meals.

2. Turkey: Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is the go-to wine for the main course. It is the perfect pairing for turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. If you choose one wine for the dinner table, make it Pinot Noir.

3. Beef: Cabernet Sauvignon

If your Thanksgiving dinner includes prime rib, Cabernet Sauvignon is a heartier wine that stands up to beef, and more substantial dishes and sides like stuffing with especially with sausage or dishes with spicy ingredients like chiles.

4. Beef, Ham & Turkey: Zinfandel

Zinfandel is the happy medium when serving turkey or a roast, and is also a perfect pairing with ham. Its spiciness complements ham’s cloves and a sweet or savory glaze.

5. Seafood & All-Purpose White: Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris (pee-no gree) can be your white wine aperitif, or wine of choice for anyone who only drinks whites. But it shines with shellfish dishes, especially those with olive oil. Its acidity cuts through the rich fats and enhances the crustacean flavors.

6. Apéritif & All-Purpose White: Albariño

This grape from Spain is not as well-known in the U.S., but is is now being planted by more American growers. It is an excellent aperitif, a touch more aromatic than Pinot Gris. It’s an excellent alternative to Pinot Gris for seafood.

7. Dessert

There are fewer dessert wines made in the U.S., but your wine store’s clerk can help you here. If not, look for a Late Harvest Riesling, Ice Wine, Orange Muscat, or one of our favorites, Bonny Doon’s Viognier Vin de Glacière.

In Vino Veritas, and for Thanksgiving, In Vino American Veritas.


[1] So much to eat, so many wines to pair (photo © Aldi).

[2] There’s even a wine for pumpkin pie and other Thanksgiving desserts (photo © Williams Sonoma).

[3] If your crowd are wine enthusiasts, treat them to wine pairings for Thanksgiving (photo © Cameron Hughes).



THE NIBBLE Blog – Adventures In The World Of Fine Food

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