Note: This was my last newspaper column written mostly from the series of videos found below. My friends, or the Dudes, tasted six wines one evening. The column appears in 12 Indiana newspapers reaching more than 200,000 homes.

What wine to serve with the Thanksgiving turkey? It’s the most frequently asked question of the season and one with plenty of answers.

Let’s talk some turkey about white and red wines which will really highlight your holiday meal.

Chardonnay is a really easy choice. But if it was that simple, who needs a wine columnist? The way food is seasoned, cooked, and side dishes should always figure into the equation of wine-food pairing for any meal.


Recently, I gathered four good friends to evaluate six wines to pair with turkey and the trimmings. It’s a great way to pick holiday wines and great fun.

We tasted three whites and three reds with some sliced turkey, bits of cheese with cranberry, pecans, and crackers. We started with a Michigan Riesling – a classic choice. The wine offers nice fruit and acidity and will pair well with nearly everything on the dining table. Riesling is widely available, just check out a few because the wine does come in sweet, semi-sweet, and dry versions. It’s also acidic (a good thing), but if that turns you off – just read on.

One of the most popular Thanksgiving wines in recent years has been Gewurztraminer. The French and German versions are widely popular for their strong floral and spicy nose and taste. In Indiana, you can buy a Traminette at your local Indiana winery and get essentially the same flavor profile. It is a great choice. But note, the Indiana versions tend to be on the sweeter to much-sweeter side.

Our final white was a very nice California Sauvignon Blanc. The group was pleasantly surprised how well the wine went with the turkey and trimmings. Ask your wine shop for a Sauv Blanc with mild acidity. Many California Sauvignon Blanc wines will go really well.

Still, there are those who want red wine with food regardless of the occasion and there are plenty of choices that won’t overpower the bird. My wine buddies first tried a nice Beaujolais Villages gamay-grape wine. The Beaujolais Nouveau is a fun wine, but for better taste pick up a Villages or Grand Cru Beaujolais. The difference is only a few dollars for much better wine.

The Georges Duboeuf Villages wine was beautifully crafted, light, and balanced nicely against food. It’s also a wine even your non-wine drinkers are going to really enjoy. You’ll look like the sophisticated host serving one of the beautifully-labeled Beaujolais wines.

The final two wines were both Pinot Noir, but from different regions. The first was a light and tasty California Central Coast Pinot at $14. Pinot Noir and Beaujolais are probably the most frequently recommended Thanksgiving red wines. The light Pinot not only pairs with turkey, but again is a good choice if you’re not regular wine consumers.

We also tasted an awesome $30 Oregon Pinot that might be a bit much for non-wine drinkers but will really impress regularly red wine fanatics. The Oregon Pinot is more Burgundian, or lighter in style, but earthy and aromatic wine that is made to impress.

The cook in the house invests a lot of time on Thanksgiving dinner for family and friends. So take a little time to get to a wine shop, ask some questions and pick a really great wine for the holiday.

Send comment or questions to: hewitthoward@gmail.com

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