• Molly Jean

Food and Wine Pairings: Thanksgiving Wine List

Tomorrow we will be dining on the most anticipated meal of the year: Thanksgiving. This year I will be attending with several wines in my arsenal. I have been researching for the perfect pairings and I am ready to make my family the test subjects. From what I have learned, Thanksgiving can be a very challenging meal with which to pair wines. The food that compliments the passive aggressive comments from your aunt, challenges your taste buds with assertiveness. The vast amounts of butter, cream of mushroom filled casseroles, thyme, cranberry sauce, stuffing, fruit salad, gravy and Grandma's Jello, all compete for dominance on your palate.


Finding wines to pair with the boisterous melody of flavors that are soon to be rolling around in your mouth, can be dangerous. Drinker beware! Picking up your go-to Pinot Grigio will fall on deaf tongues. Congratulations on your lemon water. Wait! Do not grab that Cabernet Sauvignon either! The tannin in the wine will make Grandma's Jello taste and feel like kitty litter in your mouth. Also, maybe check on who is making the jello this year...


How do you begin to pair wines with the most flavor filled meal of the year? Thanksgiving is the annual potluck you are required to attend, and you need to find wines that can dance through the tablescape of champions. You need the perfect wine, because the only thing worse than flavors clashing on your tongue, is your sister in-law slamming the door to the bathroom she will be locking herself in for the rest of the night. Wines that are fruit forward, a little dry and higher in acid are perfect. What grows together, goes together: acid, tums, and turkey.


With this challenge accepted, I have carefully curated six wines for the Thanksgiving dinner this year. In the past, wine at Thanksgiving was just another item on the table of which I was happy to take a bit more than a manner's helping. As you can imagine wine is a little different for me this year and I can't wait to try out the pairings I have so excitedly researched. I am recommending some wines from regions I have not tried before, to go with food I have never attempted to pair with before. But, we can go through this experience together.


All of the wines I have chosen (aside from the Port Style) should pair delightfully well with the meal. Is it too much to ask my mother-in-law for five wine glasses to be set at my spot at the table? I mean, my now father-in-law did tie my fork to the table leg when Blake and I first started dating because he thought I was stealing. Of all things...stealing their forks. Have you been to their house? They have nice stuff, I wouldn't go for the forks.


That is neither her nor wine, so lets get to it. The THANKSGIVING WINE LIST!!!


1. Exception Riesling

We will be starting off our pre-dinner appetizers with a Reisling from Alsace France. I have had many Rieslings in the past and they can sometimes be a sweet surprise. A lot of people stay from this wine for that reason. Unfortunately, it is hard to overcome apprehensions with a varietal that has a bit of a reputation. Wines from this area tend to be a bit more dry so you should be safe. Give it a try.


2. Pardon & Fils Morgon Cote du Py


3. Domaines des Maisons Neuves Brouilly Vielles Vignes

The next two I have selected to pair with our dinner are, drumroll... Beaujolais. It is currently my favorite wine and favorite song by The Alan Parsons Project. It you have not heard it you must listen, it has notes of Tears for Fears hair, Molly Ringwald fashion, with a hint of The Police. These wines go down easy like the song, but have lower alcohol content so you will not be too honest at dinner. To read more about these wine varietals check out my Grape Highlight posted earlier this month.

4. La Celestiere Tradition Chat du Pape, 2011


France is really here for the win this Thanksgiving. My next recommendation is a wine from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, in the Rhone region of France. This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre,(GSM) and Cinsault. I have had GSM blends before and I have quite enjoyed them. I am anticipating this to be softer than those I have had from Washington and perhaps more floral. This is a wine we do not recommend sharing, unless it is with a fellow Oenophile. It is nearly twice the price of the other recommended bottles, so don't share with your uncle who will likely be unable to taste the wine's nuances between the swigs of tequila.


5. Mosquito Fleet, Grenache 2017


Our hometown winery! This is a new release from Mosquito Fleet winery and it could not have better timing. For me this wine has heavy pepper notes on the first few sips and as it opens up in the glass - strawberry fields forever. This is a lovely wine that will fit in nicely on the table with his Gamay buddies. You can pick up a bottle at their tasting room and they also ship!

6. Port Style Wine


I do not have a specific wine listed here because I am currently polling my Instagram followers to determine which Port Style wine I should bring to the festivities. I am stuck between wines from Mosquito Fleet and Hard Row to Hoe . The beauty of these wines are how they were made. They do not have too much residual sugar, so they are not overbearingly sweet like most Port Style Wines. Making them the perfect pairing with all of the festive desserts.




The majority of these wines came from Total Wine, however you can find comparable wines at your local grocery store. Look for medium to light bodied reds or stay safe and buy yourself some bubbly. You cannot go wrong with Cava or Prosecco. I hope you have as much fun choosing your wines for Thanksgiving as I have. I cannot wait to crack these babies open.


Comment below, DM me or send me an email with your pairings this year. I would love to hear all about them. I hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving, I know I will. Cheers!


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