What Wines Go With Turkey? 9 Picks of Amazing Pairings - Wine Turtle

What Wines Go With Turkey? 9 Picks of Amazing Pairings

This post was updated on: December 1, 2018

What Wines Go With Turkey? 9 Picks of Amazing Pairings

What Wines Go With Turkey? 9 Picks of Amazing Pairings

Thanksgiving, the Christmas dinner, or any other special occasion that requires a turkey also requires a special wine. But what wines go with turkey?

Picking the right wine for your dinner that can impress even a connoisseur is far from easy. Luckily, turkey pairs well with both reds and whites, and even with sparkling wines. Here are my favorite six picks to inspire your choices.

What Wines Go With Turkey? The Reds

Turkey feels like poultry to many, but the fattier meat pairs wonderfully with a variety of red wines. The secret is in choosing a wine with little tannins. Although fattier than poultry, turkey is still lean meat and the lack of sufficient fat can easily accentuate the bitter flavor of the tannins.

A robust Pinot Noir, for example, is a great wine to pair with roasted turkey accompanied by a rich sauce, perhaps with hints of cranberries. The strong character of the wine but its lack of strong tannins will make you feel like an expert.

Another great red that works wonders with turkey is Burgundy. This elegant beverage shows a full body with hints of black currant, plum, and white tobacco enhances the flavors of your dinner and goes well with roasted or fried turkey, lighter vegetable sides, and even with entrees. Burgundy’s fresh minerality and acidity will give a light note to your dinner.

Going along with our red wine selection, turkey also pairs well with Rioja. This wine is richer in tannins, but its vintage flair adds personality to your turkey dinner, whether it’s roasted or fried turkey and whether you decide to serve it as a main or in a sandwich.

If Rioja is not quite your style, you can choose another similar type, such as Chianti or Bordeaux. Both these wines pair wonderfully with all turkey dishes and even with the sides.

What Wines Go With Turkey? The Whites

Some white wines could be too light for turkey. If the secret to choosing reds is in limiting the amount of tannins, the secret to choosing a white is in pairing your dinner with a full-body white wine.

The first name that pops into mind is Chardonnay. This straw yellow beverage comes in dry and sweeter variants, and both types make for a great accompanying beverage for turkey dinner. The spicy notes of the wine, in fact, work well with the milky aftertaste of the meat; this wine even pairs wonderfully with the traditional sauces served with turkey, such as bread sauce.

Even if it seems weird, turkey also pairs wonderfully with sweeter wine. One of your best bets is Riesling, a sweet white wine that amazes when accompanied by spicy dishes. Season your turkey with Asian spices or opt for an alternative recipe, such as turkey meatloaf. There are literally dozens of combinations to think of, and you can pick either a sweet or a less sweet Riesling to pair with your dish.

White Burgundy makes for another inspired option. This slightly oaked aged white complements a smoked turkey dinner. Prepare the meat on a slow cooking option to ensure its delicacy and to make sure all flavors and spices are perfectly absorbed.

Besides my three choices, there are many alternative white wines you could pair with turkey, including the German Gewürztraminer.

Sparkling Wines To Pair With Turkey

As odd as it may seem, sparkling wine also pairs wonderfully with turkey. Depending on how the meat is cooked, you can choose from a variety of bubbly wines.

Brachetto d’Acqui, for example, is an excellent choice. This fine wine resembles an apple cider and has elegant hints of raspberry, candied citrus, and cherry blossoms. It pairs wonderfully with an overly dry turkey, thanks to its fizzy texture that adds softness to each bite.

Sparkling Rosé Malbec from Argentina is another inspired choice for fried turkey. The texture of this wine cuts off the greasiness of deep fried turkey and on salt, giving the meat a unique tenderness.

Alternatively, you can also opt for a Spanish Cava, a sparkling rosé from France or a strawberry-flavored sparkling rosé from America. Despite the rather unusual combination, this type of wine works wonders with almost all turkey dishes.

Final Thoughts

Pairing turkey with wine is simpler than it would seem. This delicious meat pairs well with a variety of reds, whites, rosés and even sparkling wines. Finding the one that works best for you is obviously a matter of taste, but don’t forget to consider the type of dish you’re serving.

Some wines are better off with smoked turkey, others pair with roasts, while others still are ideal for fried turkey or sandwiches.

I hope the tips above can help you understand which wines go with turkey and that my suggestions inspired your choice. Now, all you have to do is give it a try and see which wines go best with turkey for you.

About the Author

Although not having any formal training in wine, Tim has developed an irrefutable love wine and interest in anything related to it ever since he was a little kid. Coming from a family of wine lovers, it was from a young age that he got exposed to wine and the culture that goes with it and has been addicted ever since. Having traveled to dozens of wine regions across the world including those in France, Italy, California, Australia, and South Africa and tasted a large selection of their wines, it is with great joy that he hopes to share those experiences here and take you along on the journey.

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