Thanksgiving would not be complete without turkey and wine. This combination has been a staple during the holiday, and people are finding ways to bring their dinner up a notch. To do this, you need to know what wine goes with turkey and elevate anything else you want to improve on the table.
Turkey sounds all special and holiday-ish but really, they taste like chicken. In other words, they resemble the taste of chicken. Chicken meat is usually light, while turkey meat is a bit darker and richer when it comes to flavor.
Of course, the taste can vary depending on the dish you are preparing because you must consider the ingredients involved in the meal.
Chicken lollipops would not taste the same as grilled turkey because of the different ingredients and processes. But if you have not eaten turkey before, you can imagine how chicken tastes as they are closely similar.
Because turkey is bigger meat, it needs more seasoning, and if you want the flavor to seep deep into the meat, it would also need more time. There are particular time durations if you want to achieve a specific texture for your turkey. Some people want it soft and flakey, while others like it chewy and firm.
Many types of wine are available in the market, so there is no permanent description. So, there is no one type of wine to fit all types of turkey dinners. These different types of wine share common categories of characteristics, although varying in intensity.
- Acidity – Acid is an essential element in wines. White wines, in particular, rely heavily on it. It infuses the wine with zest and energy.
- Aroma – Occasionally referred to as the “bouquet.” This refers to the aroma of a wine and is typically utilized when describing wines that have been aged for a more extended period.
- Body – This describes how the wine feels in your mouth, how it lands and lingers on your palate, and its viscosity and thickness.
- Complex – Wines with various flavors that seem to alter from the minute you taste them until you swallow them are “complex” wines.
- Flavor intensity – This describes the degree to which its flavors are pronounced or subdued. This is an essential consideration when putting up a meal that goes well with wine.
- Tannic – Tannins give the wine its distinctive flavor. They can have a bitter flavor when consumed when combined with other components; this can provide very distinct flavors and aromas.
The conventional wine matches with turkey are easy reds. However, there is always a potential for more imaginative combinations.
White Wine Choices With Turkey
People enjoy changes, especially the good ones. As so, combining food and drinks during events, holidays, or even a regular meal is constantly explored. Turkey is more delicate meat than people take them to be.
This white meat is lean and contains a relatively low amount of fat. These features add to fragile meat with the risk of drying out when prepared carelessly. This makes turkey meat compatible with wines with relatively high acidity and low tannin levels like white wines.
Chardonnay pairs well with turkey because of its expressive and flavorful nature. It adds a refreshing and delicious fruity flavor and nicely complements the turkey’s weight. Chardonnay with oak aging livens up the bland flavors of turkey with the nutty, sweet butterscotch and toasty vanilla notes.
The bright acidity of the wine, combined with its mineral undertones and fruity character, helps bring out the turkey’s taste. It also goes well with several different flavors, including the herb tones involved in basting, which makes it an enticing addition to your meal.
Serving Chardonnay on Thanksgiving is also an excellent choice because it will pair nicely with the other foods, mainly traditional side dishes like bread sauce.
Champagne, a staple party beverage, is a beautiful choice for a turkey meal. Champagne has high acidity content, which goes particularly well with the traditional flavors on your Thanksgiving table. This wine can also be consumed anytime during the meal or gathering and can even complement dessert.
Riesling is one of the ideal bottles of wine to serve at a Turkey Dinner because it pairs well with a diverse assortment of meals. It highlights the rich tastes that were meticulously added and enhanced in detail to your turkey.
While many other types of wine pair well with turkey, Riesling pairs well with the side dishes you prepare. The high minerality and acidity of the beverage lend a delightful finishing touch while soothing your taste buds, making room for more types of food to taste.
Red Wine and Turkey Pairings
Some people may prefer white wine, and some like red wine more. If you are part of the latter group, there’s also a good selection lineup.
When it comes to pairing red wine and turkey, Pinot Noir is an excellent option that’s preferred by many. This type of wine is high in acid levels, light, and sprinkled with hints of raspberry, strawberry, and cherry flavors, making it a lovely match for your turkey.
It is also easy to drink, making room for other flavors like your favorite side dish or dessert. Pinot Noir is very flexible, and you can choose either a new or an older one.
Beaujolais is a light-bodied red wine made from Gamay Noir. This red wine offers both mild and rich flavors and is high in acidity. Beaujolais is among the young types of wine, providing a distinctive and pleasurable wine and turkey duo.
This wine emphasizes the sweet flavors of the turkey more effortlessly because of its low alcohol content. It’s the best choice if you want to keep your meal light.
While this wine is not a go-to red wine and can be considered a rare pair for turkey, it has a unique flair to offer, making it a good choice for turkey pairings. The mildly spicy flavor brings out more distinct and delicious flavors in the turkey. Sangiovese highlights lively fruit tastes without overtaking other notes and flavors.
Zinfandel is one of the most planted grape varieties in California. It is an excellent complement to turkey and works very well with the entirety of the meat, both the dark and light cuts.
This type of wine has more alcohol content than other red wines. It is served at its peak when accompanied by heartier fare and dishes. So, if you want to get drunk or intoxicated after eating and socializing, this is a good choice.
Carinena is perhaps most famous for its production of single-varietal red wines. When combined with turkey, this rich, fruit-forward wine adds flavors reminiscent of cranberry sauce. If you prefer darker cuts of meat, this wine is the ideal accompaniment to these cuts.
Wine, Turkey Dishes, and Others
It is essential to remember that turkey dinners can never be always perfectly alike or created with the same level of quality. There are days when the recipe might change, or the cook may decide to change the flavor combinations.
The wine you choose to serve with your turkey will depend on how you prepared the meat. And so, there is no specific wine to match every type of turkey dish. Every turkey dinner has a perfect wine pairing to match the main dish, the side dishes, the dessert, and the event itself.
Garnacha + Turkey and Gravy
Garnacha may be one of the most underrated wines to pair with your turkey meal. This wine has a dusty aspect. Garnacha is abundant in your favorite red fruit flavors, such as strawberries. This wine compliments turkey and gravy well and, in a way, fulfills the role of cranberry sauce.
Carignan + Dark meat cuts
Yes, there are wine types that are more perfect for darker cuts than the lighter ones, and one of them is Carignan wine. This wine has a pronounced meaty accent, cinnamon spice, and red fruit flavors.
Champagne + Deep fried turkey
Champagne is a great wine to balance the crispiness of deep-fried turkey, sort of like an introduction to a new meal texture. It does an excellent job of bringing out the green and floral aromas of the turkey meat.
Riesling + Turkey that’s prepared spicier and with more herbs + Dishes with a sweet flavor.
This combination will leave your mouth in awe of how they blend beautifully without overpowering a single meal component.
Gewürztraminer + Turkey sandwiches
This would be the perfect wine for you if you prepared turkey sandwiches for your turkey meal. Gewürztraminer is renowned for its intense fragrance and complex flavor profile, which includes notes of apricot, peach, lychee, rose petals, and black pepper.
Your turkey leftovers will be significantly more tasty and impressive because of the natural infusion of these flavors into the relatively neutral meat.
Preparing for a meal is an enjoyable part of living life, and wine is something many people enjoy. These wine and turkey pairings will help you know what wine goes with turkey. There are still many combinations out there that you can learn through research or trial and error, but here’s a kickstart.