November 22, 2023

Best wine with turkey

‘You’re thinking, ‘The Best Wine with turkey? That’s a culinary curveball!’ But hold onto your corkscrews, friends. We’re about to dive into the world of poultry and pinot, turkey and tempranillo.

Imagine a bird so succulent, it practically begs for a wine pairing. You’ll not only discover the perfect wines to complement your turkey dinner but also learn how to delight your taste buds in ways you’ve never dreamed of.

Buckle up, it’s going to be a grape ride!’

Understanding Turkey’s Unique Flavor Profile

Before you can choose the perfect wine, you’ll need to understand the unique flavor profile of turkey. Oh, turkey. That delectable bird of blandness. It’s like the tofu of the poultry world, soaking up whatever flavors you douse it in.

But, let’s be real, turkey isn’t just about the flavor. It’s about the texture, the juiciness, and that satisfying crunch when you bite into the skin. So, in wine terms, we’re looking for something that can handle a bit of a flavor chameleon, while also cutting through the richness.

We need a wine that can laugh in the face of cranberry sauce, high-five the stuffing, and politely excuse itself from the table when the pumpkin pie arrives. Choosing the right wine for turkey isn’t just a match, it’s a dance.

Pairing White Wines With Turkey

Now, let’s dive into the vast array of white wines that pair beautifully with turkey’s unique flavor. Don’t be shy, embrace your inner sommelier and let’s get our wine glasses ready!

  • Chardonnay – Full-bodied, buttery, with a hint of vanilla – it’s like a hug for your turkey! Don’t be fooled by its boldness, it’s an absolute matchmaker with your bird.
  • Riesling Light, aromatic, and slightly sweet. It’s the flirty one, winking at your turkey, promising a good time.
  • Sauvignon BlancCrisp, zesty, and refreshing. This one’s the life of the party, turning your turkey into a dance floor!

Red Wines That Complement Turkey

You’ll find a handful of red wines that complement turkey beautifully, adding a rich depth to your meal.

Let’s face it, you’re not just eating turkey, you’re creating a gastronomic experience. You’re a culinary Picasso and your bird’s the canvas.

Here’s your go-to guide:

Pinot NoirLight-bodied, bursting with fruit flavors. Your turkey will think it’s on a tropical vacation.
GrenacheMedium-bodied, spicy. It’ll make your turkey strut proudly on your plate.
SyrahFull-bodied, blackberry undertones. Your turkey will believe it’s at a fancy gala.
ZinfandelBold, peppery. Your bird might demand an encore.

Certainly! To enhance the blog post by incorporating a wider range of wine choices, including some Italian and Portuguese options, you could insert a new section after the existing discussions on white and red wines. This would provide a natural transition from the more commonly known wines to exploring unique and diverse options. Here’s the suggested content:

Exploring Italian and Portuguese Wines with Turkey

Turkey’s versatile flavor profile opens the door to explore some lesser-known, yet equally delightful wine options from Italy and Portugal. These regions offer unique wines that can add an exotic twist to your turkey dinner.

Italian Wines:

  • Barbera: Known for its deep color, full body, and low tannins, Barbera from Northern Italy is a great choice. Its vibrant acidity and cherry flavors make it a lively companion for turkey.
  • Verdicchio: This white wine from the Marche region in Italy offers a crisp, mineral-rich profile. Its subtle almond notes and refreshing acidity can beautifully cut through the richness of the turkey.

Portuguese Wines:

  • Vinho Verde: This light, slightly effervescent Portuguese wine is known for its youthful freshness. Its low alcohol content and bright, citrusy flavors make it a delightful match for a lighter turkey preparation.
  • Dão Reds: The red wines from the Dão region, often made from Touriga Nacional, offer elegant floral aromas and a balance of fruit and acidity that can gracefully handle the heartiness of turkey.

Incorporating these wines into your meal adds not just variety but also a conversation piece, introducing your guests to new flavors and regions.

Surprising Rose and Sparkling Pairings

While you mightn’t typically think of rosé or sparkling wines for your turkey dinner, they can actually provide unexpected and delightful pairings. You’re probably raising your eyebrow right now, but hear me out.

  • Unforeseen rosé pairings:
    • Provence Rosé: This bright, tangy French beauty cuts through turkey’s richness like a hot knife through butter.
    • New World Rosé: California or Australia, take your pick. These fruit-forward rebels add a dash of daring to your feast.
  • Unexpected sparkling duos:
    • Champagne: Yes, that’s right. Champagne isn’t just for toasts. Its acidity and bubbles make turkey sing.
    • Cava: This Spanish star is budget-friendly, but don’t underestimate it – its crispness tackles turkey like a matador.

Wine Pairing Tips for Different Turkey Recipes

For each unique turkey recipe you whip up, there’s a perfectly paired wine just waiting to elevate your meal. It’s like a culinary version of ‘The Bachelor’, only this time, you’re choosing between Merlot and Chardonnay, not Mike or Chad.

Here’s a handy-dandy guide to help you out:

Turkey RecipeWine PairingWhy it Works
Herb-Roasted TurkeyChardonnayThe buttery notes of Chardonnay complement the herby, earthy flavors
Smoky BBQ TurkeyZinfandelZinfandel’s bold, fruity profile stands up to BBQ’s powerful smoky-sweet flavors
Turkey with Citrus GlazeSauvignon BlancThe wine’s crisp acidity balances out the sweet citrus glaze


So there you have it, folks! Whether you’re a white, red, rosé, or sparkling wine enthusiast, there’s a perfect partner for your turkey dinner.

Remember, pairing wine with turkey is like a good tango – it’s all about balance and harmony. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find your own perfect pairing. After all, the wine police won’t come knocking if you prefer Pinot Noir with your drumstick!

Cheers to your next gobble-worthy feast!

About the author 

Karina Kahale

I was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. After years of travel, exploration, and education, I founded Underground Wine Merchants in 2019.

Currently, I work as a sommelier at a fine dining restaurant here in Hawaii. I pursued my education at the prestigious ICE Sommelier Institute in Los Angeles, which has equipped me with the knowledge and skills to excel in my profession.

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