Everyone looks forward to moist and juicy turkey every holiday season. However, most people overlook the wine pairing.
Turkey does not pair well with all wines, so you must choose the right pairing, or your masterpiece will be destroyed.
What Wine Goes With Turkey, Red or White?
You can pair red or white wines with turkey. However, due to turkey’s low-fat profile, you must choose a red or white wine that amplifies its flavors. Wines that overpower the turkey flavors will ruin the entire meal.
Full-bodied red wines or medium-bodied red wines with medium to low tannic activity and high acidity are best for turkey.
What Wine Pairs With Turkey?
Turkey has white and dark meat. As most people have experienced dry white meat at least once in their life, we know that it is easy to overcook turkey. Therefore, the wine pairing has to be on point.
Pinot Noir is a versatile wine that works well with many foods, including turkey. Pinot Noir pairs beautifully with roasted turkey and rich gravy.
Try these with turkey:
Oregon, Argentinian, or Californian Pinot Noirs have a light fruity flavor that elevates the turkey and provides a beautiful contrast.
In contrast, French Pinot Noir has more pronounced earthy, spicy, and herbal flavors. This style of Pinot Noir works well with turkey served with savory stuffing.
Viognier is a less popular white wine. However, when it comes to turkey, Viognier is one of the best wine pairings.
Viognier is round with robust fruity flavors. The wine also has subtle floral honey notes that pair perfectly with turkey.
Australian, South African, and Northern Rhone wines work best with turkey.
Chardonnay is the most popular pairing for roasted turkey.
Chardonnay has many complex flavors, including citrus and herbal notes. The herbal tones pair perfectly with the herbs in the roasted turkey.
However, an oaked Chardonnay like Californian Chardonnay will bring out more of the turkey’s flavor. Fruit-forward French Chardonnay, like Burgundy, has a smoother viscosity.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter which Chardonnay you choose; the fruity flavor and acidity will elevate your turkey.
Gewürztraminer is an aromatic, crisp white wine that pairs perfectly with turkey sandwiches. If you got leftovers from the big day, a turkey sandwich is a perfect way to use them.
Since Gewürztraminer is aromatic and has notes of rose petals, black pepper, apricot, lychee, and peach, it pairs perfectly with a turkey sandwich.
The wine’s smooth viscosity pairs perfectly with the mayonnaise on the sandwich. However, Gewürztraminer has high alcohol levels, so it’s best to stick to one glass, especially if you have to go back to work.
Since turkey is served during the holiday, why not break out a bottle of Champagne to make the holiday even better?
Champagne pairs well with turkey. The acidity gives Champagne the versatility to be served throughout the meal, so you do not have to buy different wines to go with appetizers, main courses, or desserts.
Champagne is the perfect wine pairing if you love to deep fry your turkey. The Champagne will cut through the greasy fried turkey and amplify the herbal flavors used to season the turkey.
Gamay is one of the most popular wines served on Thanksgiving Day. Gamay wine has high acidity and low tannic activity. It has a smooth mouthfeel that leaves your mouth refreshed, making it one of the best wines to serve with turkey and gravy.
Cariñena is for all the turkey dark meat lovers. Cariñena is a rich Spanish red wine that fruit-forward cranberry notes making it the perfect option for dark-meat turkey. Cariñena’s earthy tone makes it an excellent pairing for turkey’s earthy dark meat.
However, do not serve Cariñena with white meat. The wine’s bold flavors will ruin the flavor of the delicate white meat. So, it’s best to have another type of wine for white meat lovers.
Additionally, Cariñena can also be labeled Carignan, Carignano, or Carignane. Do not serve these wines with turkey, as they are full-bodied and will overpower the bird’s natural flavor.
Riesling is a dry German wine that is perfect for turkey day. Riesling works especially well with smoked turkey or turkey heavily seasoned with herbs and spices.
If one of your side dishes is candied yams, Riesling will also pair well with the sweet flavor of the sweet potatoes.
Nevertheless, the rich acidity and minerality of Riesling will enhance the turkey’s flavor while keeping your palette nice and clean.
Beaujolais is a popular pairing for Turkey Day.
There are many types of Beaujolais wines. However, Cru Beaujolais is a popular choice. Cru Beaujolais is a young light-bodied wine with high acidity that leaves the palate refreshed.
Another classic pairing is Beaujolais Nouveau. This style of Beaujolais is light-bodied with a fruity flavor. Furthermore, since the wine has lower levels of tannins give the wine a sweeter flavor that will easily enhance the flavor of the turkey.
Rioja Crianza is another delicious Spanish red wine perfect for grilled turkey sausages. The term Crianza indicates the wine has been aged in oak barrels for a short time.
The short aging time creates a tart yet refreshing flavor loaded with cherry, spice, blackberry, and plums. Since turkey sausage has lower levels of fat than other sausages, it’s best to avoid robust wines with high tannins.
The grilled turkey will pair perfectly with the soft tannins of Rioja Crianza.
Sangiovese is not the most popular choice for turkey. However, Sangiovese is an excellent pairing for Sangiovese.
Sangiovese has a subtle spicy note that amplifies the turkey’s savory flavor. Choose a young, fruity Sangiovese to pair with turkey. The subtle flavors of young Sangiovese will not overpower the turkey’s flavor like aged Sangiovese wine.
Zinfandel is a great pairing that enhances the turkey’s flavor. Zinfandel has a fruity profile that pairs with light and dark turkey meat. It is one of the best choices if you want a red wine with a little more kick.
Additionally, it’s the best wine if you are serving heavy side dishes like mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and yams.
Turkey has a mild, delicate flavor that is enhanced by the right wine. Luckily, we’ve got a list of wines that pair perfectly with turkey.
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