Wine for Your Turkey Dinner

It’s Holiday Season. Friends and family gather, laughter, good food and wine…

“Wait! Wine? What wine?!?”

Take a deep breath.

“Exactly! Did you smell that? Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, rich gravy, Aunt Jane’s sweet potatoes… and then there’s the stuffing with seasonings of sage and rosemary…”

Choosing wine for your turkey feast can seem daunting. It would be easy to simply grab the same Pinot Grigio you always buy. This, however, may not be your best choice.
I sat down recently with sommelier Ric Rutherford to ask his advice on selecting wines for your holiday meal; particularly turkey with all the trimmings.
“Nobody puts lemon on their turkey,” he said simply. “You want to select a wine that is not real citrusy.”
He went on to explain that since turkey is not a strong flavored meat, it is important to select wines that are not overpowering while keeping in mind that many of the dishes served with turkey do have strong, distinct and well-seasoned flavors.
When considering whites, Sauvignon Blanc is frequently recommended with turkey, but many of them have strong citrus notes. If you do want to choose Sauvignon Blanc, Ric suggests that you look to France. French Sauvignon Blanc like Domaine de Villalin “Quincy Grandes” does not have a strong citrus flavor. The old oak aging also helps to avoid the “oaky” flavors; another tip to look for when choosing wine for turkey.


“Stepping away from wine for a moment, what does go with your whole turkey dinner?” Ric asked to encourage my thinking. “Cranberries. The dark rich fruit pairs well with the whole meal.”
With that in mind, reds like Garnacha Bodegas Borsao Tres Picos Campo de Borja would work exceptionally well. Ric describes it as “cherry pie in a glass.”
Although generally reserved for richer meats, Côtes du Rhône Domaine de Beaurenard “Rasteau” Rhône would also be an interesting selection with it’s dark plum flavors.

As always, the most important part of enjoying wine is to drink what you like!