Thanksgiving: a time for giving thanks amongst family and friends, gorging yourself on stuffing and pumpkin pie, and drinking delicious wine. And let us guess: that wine being poured at your table is Beaujolais Nouveau.
The first harvest wine from France’s Beaujolais region is an ever-popular guest at Thanksgiving gatherings. Made with Gamay grapes, Beaujolais Nouveau is a young wine that’s on shelves six-to-eight weeks after harvest, and is the most sought-after vin de primeur (a French wine that’s allowed, under AOC regulations, to be sold the same year it was harvested). It’s light-bodied, juicy, and so synonymous with the holiday, that its namesake release date (the third Thursday of November) is a recognized holiday in and of itself.
But picture a Thanksgiving food spread -- it’s vast and eclectic with different flavors coming from all directions. So why do we pigeon-hole ourselves by serving just one type of wine with the meal?
“There are more people than just you at a Thanksgiving table,” says Doug Bell, Whole Foods Market Global Purchasing Director. “You’re feeding and entertaining a big group, which makes it the perfect holiday for opening up a range of wines. It’s fun to taste different things and serve wines your guests likely haven’t tried with a traditional Thanksgiving meal.”
What are the general rules for wine-pairing at Thanksgiving? Rule number one: there are no rules. “Thanksgiving dinner isn’t just about the turkey,” says Devon Broglie, Whole Foods Market Master Sommelier. “There are so many flavors on the table, meaning there are loads of pairing options. Wines should complement not only the food, but the familial, celebratory feeling of togetherness.”
Thrillist executive food editor Nicole Taylor is all about that that POV. "This holiday season I’d like my wine nook to be approachable and pair well with the southern style collard greens as well as the dry brined heritage turkey," she says (see a few of her picks below).
So we’re certainly not saying you must skip pouring Beaujolais Nouveau this November; there’s a reason it’s so well-liked (it’s delicious). But open your mind to opening untried bottles as well, and starting a new tradition amongst traditions! Here, we’ve rounded up an array of wines -- from reds, to whites, rosés, and bubblies -- that complement the autumn harvest feast just as wonderfully.