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Valley Wine & Liquor Thanksgiving Wine Pairings
As the leaves turn and the air chills, Thanksgiving approaches, bringing with it a cornucopia of flavors and the challenge of pairing them with the perfect wines. At Valley Wine & Liquor, we understand that the right wine can elevate your Thanksgiving meal from memorable to unforgettable. This guide is crafted blending foundational knowledge with expert insights to navigate the delightful world of Thanksgiving wine pairings.

Our Recommended Pairings

Roast Turkey and Mirassou Pinot Noir

The centerpiece of most Thanksgiving tables, roast turkey, requires a wine that complements its delicate flavors without overpowering them. Mirassou Pinot Noir, with its Californian heritage, is an ideal match. Its notes of ripe red and black cherry, fresh raspberry, strawberry jam, and a hint of oak and vanilla, harmonize with the turkey's savory profile. This light-bodied, bright wine enhances the turkey's taste without dominating the palate.

Stuffing and Toasted Head Chardonnay

Stuffing, a medley of flavors, finds its match in Toasted Head Chardonnay. This wine, primarily sourced from the Dunnigan Hills and Mendocino County, features aromas of bourbon, butterscotch, white peach, and Asian pear. Its creamy toast and peachy caramelized custard flavors complement the rich and varied ingredients of stuffing. The wine's clean, hot finish cuts through the dish's richness, balancing each bite.

Glazed Ham and Anthony Road Rose Of Cabernet Franc

The sweet and savory glaze of a Thanksgiving ham pairs exquisitely with Anthony Road Rose Rose Of Cabernet Franc. This wine, a blend of Cabernet Franc and Lemberger, offers a balance of fruitiness and acidity. Its process of maceration and cool temperature fermentation brings out aromatics that complement the ham's richness. The wine's accolades, including 92 pts from James Suckling, attest to its quality.

Cranberry Sauce and Dr. Konstantin Frank Semi-Dry Riesling

Cranberry sauce, with its tart and sweet profile, pairs wonderfully with Dr. Konstantin Frank Semi-Dry Riesling. This wine, made from estate vineyard vines dating back to 1958, is tropically ripe with notes of apricot, nectarine, pineapple, lemon citrus, and acacia blossom. It balances the cranberry sauce's sweetness and tartness, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.

Mashed Potatoes and Seaglass Sauvignon Blanc

The creamy, rich texture of mashed potatoes is ideally complemented by Seaglass Sauvignon Blanc. This Central Coast wine, with its aromas of lemon, lime, grapefruit, and fresh cut grass, along with a palate of gooseberry, tangerine, and a touch of minerality cuts through the dish's richness. Its mouthwatering acidity and lightly tart finish cleanse the palate, preparing it for the next bite.

Pumpkin & Apple Pie and Adirondack Winery Sweet Home Apple Pie

For the grand finale, pumpkin and apple pies pair delightfully with Adirondack Winery Sweet Home Apple Pie wine. This semi-sweet, light-bodied wine offers aromas and flavors of freshly baked homemade apple pie and traditional holiday spices. Its cinnamon and apple flavors complement the pies, creating a dessert experience that is both comforting and indulgent.

Thanksgiving Wine Pairing Tips for Beginners

Reading Labels:
  • Terms: 'Dry' means not sweet, 'full-bodied' refers to a richer, heavier feel in the mouth.
  • Light vs. Full: Light-bodied wines like Sauvignon Blanc are refreshing, while full-bodied wines like Cabernet Sauvignon are richer.
Serving Tips:
  • Temperatures: Serve white wines at 45-50°F (7-10°C) and reds at 60-65°F (15-18°C).
  • Glassware: Use fluted glasses for sparkling wines and broader bowls for reds to enhance their aromas.
  • Swirl, Sniff, Sip: Swirling the wine in the glass releases its aromas. Smell before you taste to enhance the flavor experience.
Contrasting vs. Complementary Pairings:
  • Contrasting: Pair a sweet Riesling with spicy stuffing to balance the heat.
  • Complementary: Match a buttery Chardonnay with creamy mashed potatoes.
  • Bold Pairings: Try a Shiraz with a spicy Cajun turkey.

Cooking Tips for Thanksgiving Meals: For Beginners and Pros

For Beginners, Start Simple:
Roast Turkey: Begin with a basic roast turkey. Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C). A good rule of thumb is to cook the turkey for 15 minutes per pound. So, a 12-pound turkey would take about 3 hours.
Basic Stuffing: Start with a simple bread stuffing. Mix dried bread cubes with sautéed onions, celery, chicken broth, and basic seasonings like salt, pepper, and sage.

Preparation is Key:
Chop Vegetables: Do this the night before and store them in the fridge.
Make-Ahead Stuffing: Prepare your stuffing a day ahead and refrigerate it. Just pop it in the oven on Thanksgiving Day.
Turkey Temperature: The safe internal temperature for cooked turkey is 165°F (74°C). Use a meat thermometer to check.

Keep It Moist:
Basting: Baste your turkey every 30 minutes with its juices or a mixture of butter and herbs.

Experiment with Flavors:
Herb Butter: Mix butter with unique herbs like tarragon or smoked paprika. Rub it under the turkey's skin before roasting.
Spiced Cranberry Sauce: Add star anise or cinnamon to your cranberry sauce for a unique twist.

Balance Your Menu:
Texture and Flavor: Include a mix of creamy (mashed potatoes), crunchy (green bean almondine), and tangy (cranberry sauce) dishes.

Cooking with Wine: Integrating Wine into Thanksgiving Recipes

Deglazing with Wine:
Turkey Gravy: After roasting, use Pinot Noir to deglaze the pan. Add flour, butter, and stock for a rich gravy.

Wine-Marinated Turkey: Combine white wine, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and herbs. Marinate the turkey overnight.

Wine in Sauces:
Cranberry Sauce: Add a splash of Riesling to your cranberry sauce for a hint of sweetness.

Wine-Infused Desserts:
Apple Pie with Wine: Incorporate Sweet Home Apple Pie wine into your apple pie filling for an extra layer of flavor.


At Valley Wine & Liquor, located at 326 South Caroline Street, Herkimer, NY, with a phone number of (315) 867-5800, we are here to help you make this Thanksgiving the most memorable yet with our expertly curated wine selections. Whether you are a novice or a seasoned wine enthusiast, our selections are sure to delight your palate and enhance your meal. Visit us in-store or call to reserve your Thanksgiving wines today!