5 French Wines for Your Thanksgiving Day Table

By Vicki Denig

No matter where you find yourself this Thanksgiving, one thing’s for sure – you’re probably going to need a lot of wine. Although we believe in drinking what you love, it’s true that certain wines are more food friendly than others (and on a holiday centered around the table, finding versatile wines is key). Not sure where to begin? We’ve rounded up five go-to grape varieties / French regions that promise to pair beautifully with all of your Turkey Day favorites.

Thanksgiving Table

In this article

Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley

From stuffing to sweet potatoes and beyond, Chenin Blanc is one of the most ideal wines for Thanksgiving pairings, as its high acid and fruit-forward nature plays well off of a variety of Turkey Day staples. Wines produced from Chenin Blanc are also known for their flavors of honey and green apple, which play perfectly off of the apple-driven undertones of many fall dishes.

Recommended bottles: Arnaud Lambert Clos de Midi, Château Yvonne Saumur Blanc, Domaine Guiberteau Le Clos de Guichaux

Riesling from Alsace

Forget what you thought you knew about Riesling. Although sweet expressions do exist, there are so many bone dry expressions of the grape just waiting to be discovered. Riesling’s lightning-like acidity makes it perfect for pairing with heavier non-meat dishes, including mashed potatoes with gravy, green bean casserole, and more. The high acidity found in dry Riesling is also perfect for serving before the big meal, as these high-toned wines stimulate the palate and prepare it for the large meal ahead.

Recommended bottles: Trimbach Riesling, Albert Boxler Riesling, Leitz Eins Zwei Zero Riesling (Non-alcoholic option)

Gamay from Beaujolais

Fruit-forwardness, high acid, and low tannins are the trifecta as to why Gamay and Thanksgiving go hand in hand. These chillable, easy-drinking reds pair beautifully with turkey, poultry, cranberry sauce, and a variety of other dishes on the table. If you’re only going to grab one bottle of red, we can’t recommend these delicious, fruit-driven bottles enough. Pro tip: Skip the Beaujolais Nouveau and look for wines from one of ten crus of Beaujolais instead.

Recommended bottles: Thillardon Chénas Les Vibrations, Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois, Jean-Claude Lapalu Côte de Brouilly

Pinot Noir from Burgundy

Similar to Gamay, wines produced from Pinot Noir are known for their high levels of acid and low levels of tannins, making them extremely versatile on the table. However, contrary to their Beaujolais counterparts, these wines tend to show earthier, more savory flavor profiles (though like Gamay from Beaujolais, we recommend serving these wines with a slight chill). Pro tip: Pinot Noir from Burgundy can cost a pretty penny; rather than seeking out premier and grand crus from big-box producers, we recommend grabbing a few Bourgogne Rouge and other entry-level expressions from high-quality, family-owned wineries.

Recommended bottles: Prunier-Bonheur Bourgogne Rouge, Ghislaine Barthod Bourgogne Rouge ‘Les Bons Bâtons,' Domaine de Montille Monthélie

Sweet wine from Bordeaux or the Loire Valley

Who says you can’t have your dessert and drink it too? In fact, we recommend it. Nothing kills a dessert wine pairing like sipping a bone dry wine alongside it. For delicious bottles of dessert wine, look to Bordeaux’s Barsac or Sauternes regions, as well as tasty sweet expressions of Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley’s Coteaux du Layon or Quarts de Chaumes appellations.

Recommended bottles: Château de la Roulerie Coteaux du Layon, Château de Cérons

From our Taste France Magazine family to yours, we wish you a happy, wine-soaked Thanksgiving!

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