9 Best Wines to Pair with Holiday Turkey Dinner (Video)

The holidays are right around the corner. So here with her tips to make your holiday entertaining a breeze is Natalie MacLean who offers Canada’s most popular online wine classes at nataliemaclean.com.


What’s your first tip?

Keep it simple.

I’m not sure why many of us turn into frantic mini-Martha Stewarts at this time of this year, wanting everything to be perfectly matching, preparing everyone’s side dish, stocking our cellars with more wine than we could possibly drink in a month, but we do.

So take a breath, relax and start with bubbly. Sparkling wine is a great aperitif to sip while you wait for the turkey to finish cooking. It adds a celebratory note to the meal and goes well with starters like soup and salad. It’s also terrific for more casual cocktail gatherings.

I’d recommend these two sparkling wines:





Colli Vicentini Romeo Prosecco
Veneto D.O.C., Italy









Colli Vicentini Juliet Prosecco Rosé
Veneto D.O.C., Italy






What do you suggest when it comes to the big meal?

Consider the turkey.

Unlike most poultry and game birds, turkey meat is very dry in texture. So you need a mouth-watering wine to complement it.

Good options are crisp whites like riesling and pinot grigio, like these two wines:







Gray Monk Estate Winery Pinot Auxerrois
Okanagan Valley, British Columbia BC V.Q.A., Canada










Wakefield Riesling
Clare Valley, South Australia, Australia





They have mouth-watering notes of lemon zest that would moisten the bird.



What about a red wine?

Yes, you can drink red wine with white meat: pinot noir, beaujolais and zinfandel all have juicy, berry-ripe flavors that go well with turkey.

Pinot noir from the New World, such as Canada, California, Oregon and New Zealand, tend to be fruitier than those from the Old World, such as Burgundy and Germany, which tend to be earthier.

I have two fabulous Pinot Noirs from California – Sea Sun and Longshot, both are bursting with aromas of ripe strawberries, raspberries and cherries. The bonus is that they’ll also pair well with your cranberry sauce, and let’s face it, that’s why many of us eat turkey – to double down on the cranberry sauce.





Sea Sun Pinot Noir
California, United States










Longshot Pinot Noir
California, United States







How about something more full-bodied?

The range of side dishes means that you don’t have to match your wine just to the turkey. Since this holiday dinner is often a banquet-style meal, with everyone choosing the trimmings, why not do the same with your wines? Then you won’t be running around like a chicken (turkey) with your head cut off, trying to top up everyone’s glasses.

If you want something a bit more full-bodied, with a bit of spice, try a California zinfandel like this 7 Deadly Zins. It’s juicy and smooth yet has more heft than the Pinot.






7 Deadly Zins Old Vine Zinfandel
Lodi, California, United States





You could also go with Calamus Appassimento from Niagara.







Calamus Estate Winery Appassimento
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada





Both would also pair well with turducken, that weird concoction of a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck, stuffed into a deboned turkey.



How about dessert?

End on a sweet note.

This Niagara Icewine from Reif Estates  and Peller Estates Icewine will pair perfectly with sugarplums dancing in your head.






Reif Estate Winery Vidal Icewine
Niagara River, Ontario V.Q.A., Canada











Peller Estates Riesling Icewine
Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, V.Q.A., Canada





How about those who don’t drink alcohol?

For children and guests who won’t be drinking, offer non-alcoholic beverages such as plain and flavoured sparkling waters, fruit punch and apple cider.

Even for those drinking alcohol, be sure to also serve them water so they don’t have to slake their thirst on wine alone.


How many wines should we have on hand?

Count on one bottle of wine for every two people drinking wine at a sit-down dinner.


Are there any wines we should avoid pairing with turkey?

You’d want to avoid reds with big tannins, like cabernet sauvignon, as they’ll taste too dry with turkey. The nuances of complex and well-aged wines, such as Bordeaux, which is a cabernet blend, tend to get lost under the welter of flavours.





Posted with permission from CTV.







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