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E16 Winery

Kari Jensen
November 6, 2017 | Kari Jensen

Thanksgiving Wine Survival Guide

Pass the Pinot, please!

Arguably the most food-centric holiday is just around the corner. Whether it’s your first time cooking a Thanksgiving meal or you consider yourself a natural born chef, wine pairings can be a nightmare. Red, white, sparkling, dessert? The options are endless and the drink-what-you-like motto becomes increasingly tempting. So what do you do? The answer is versatility. A wine’s greatest strength at the Thanksgiving table is versatility, and it’s your key to survival.

Follow these simple guidelines and then buy or bring as much as you can carry!


Who doesn’t like to be greeted with a glass of bubbly? Serve a flute or two as guests arrive—it awakens the palate! Remember: tiny bubbles, tiny troubles, tiny headaches big bubbles, big troubles, BIG headaches. We suggest kicking off the party with your favorite brut—dry and not too sweet.

Red Wine

A traditional choice for Thanksgiving, versatile red wines are fruit-forward, light to medium-bodied, and bright. The younger, ready-to-drink reds typically feature a fruity essence, spicy or peppery notes, and high acidity that contrasts well to the hearty meal. Tannic or full-bodied reds tend to overwhelm the palate and you don’t want to risk the turkey tasting dry! Consider the following: Pinot Noir, Syrah, Grenache, Bordeaux-style blends or a Barbera.

Our pick: 2012 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley or our 2014 Syrah, El Dorado.

White Wine

When it comes to white wine, stick with something that is aromatic, acidic, and that has mid-palate fruit notes. White wine that has been aged or features too much oak (Chardonnay comes to mind) will dehydrate your palate and won’t stand up to the sausage stuffing or loaded mashed potatoes. Consider a refreshing glass of Pinot Gris, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, or Riesling.

Our pick: 2014 Firefall Grenache Blanc, El Dorado

Dessert Wine

Stuffed but you still have room for dessert (wine)? Indulge your sweet tooth with a Muscat or Port— fruity, reminiscent of holiday flavors, and the perfect nightcap.

So, while there is no one answer as to what wine pairs with what dish, there is a case full of possible choices. Follow these guidelines and you’ll be thankful you did.

Do you have any tips and tricks for Thanksgiving? Comment and share below!



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8085 Perry Creek Road
Somerset, CA 95684
p 530.620.6200
Open Friday – Sunday 11am – 5pm


Bennett Valley

Anderson Valley

Russian River Valley

Santa Lucia Highlands

El Dorado