Wine with Turkey
Turkey is not just for your yearly Thanksgiving feast. Turkey is a versatile and affordable way to feed your family year round. It’s also a great alternative to eating beef. Because you can cook a turkey in so many ways, it’s best to pair turkey with wine based on how it’s prepared.
Needing some inspiration? Check out these amazing recipes that will have you craving turkey tonight, tomorrow, and every day of the week.
Traditional Roasted Turkey
Roasted turkey-for those talented enough to roast a turkey perfectly more than once per year. Sticking a piece of meat in the oven shouldn’t be so challenging, but some of us should just stick to bringing the wine to family dinners.
In most places, whole turkeys are quite affordable. We just see insane price spikes around the holiday season. Try buying whole turkeys in the spring or summer to save a couple of bucks. Better yet, see if there is a local butcher in town that sells turkeys.
Light reds are great for roasted turkey. Pair with a Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. If you have heavier sides like a twice-baked potato or a bacon mushroom risotto; opt for a more robust New Zealand Pinot Noir.
Got a Beaujolais collecting dust on your wine rack? Drink up! Being a light red, most Beaujolais are not meant to age. Roasted turkey is the perfect excuse to break out that bottle.
Gamay’s are the perfect varietal for pairing with a traditional turkey dinner. Sides such as mashed potatoes, biscuits, and a homemade fresh gravy will be the perfect complement to light and acidic red wine.
You will need something a little bit bolder than a Pinot Noir to hold up to a smoked turkey. Even better is if you are able to smoke the turkey yourself. Slice leftover smoked turkey for delicious sandwiches, soups, or pot pie filling.
This Rhone Blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre is a medium to full-bodied red. It has a great blend of flavors and is bold enough to stand up to the smoked flavors, but light enough to pair with a light and lean turkey dish.
Craving an Old World Sangiovese? Get a hold of a nice bottle of Chianti. Chianti’s don’t have to break the bank. Those in the $20 range will be excellent. Red fruit flavors of cranberry and cherry always pair nicely with turkey dishes.
Ground turkey dishes are limitless- burgers, meatballs, lasagna, and much more. Depending on how the ground turkey is prepared, you can pair with a white or a red.
Turkey meatballs with a marinara sauce, for examples, call for red wine with moderate tannins. Zinfandel is bold enough to hold up to a rich tomato sauce or a sweet & spicy profile.
A California Chardonnay would be a great pairing for a ground turkey dish with a creamy white sauce. Homemade penne pasta with ground turkey meatballs with an oaked Chardonnay. The flavors are congruent and will blend together well.
Ground turkey tacos, enchiladas, empanadas…oh my! While beef can sometimes overbear the flavor profile of the dish too much, turkey allows other flavors to come through. The wine pairing will entirely depend on the overall flavor of the dish. Do you prefer a super spicy taco or perhaps a more mild one?
Tannic reds will amplify the spice and chili flavors in the dish. Aim for a light to moderate tannin red wine if the dish isn’t too spicy. Merlot will compliment a rich enchilada sauce. It is tannic enough to cut through the fat of the cheese, but not tannic enough to bring too many spices out.
An off-dry Riesling will cleanse your palate as you eat and dampen the heat from any extra-spicy Mexican dish. Bring on the hot sauce!
If you haven’t tried a ground turkey chowder, you are missing out. This hearty chowder is chalked full of seasoned ground turkey or turkey sausage, bacon, potatoes, and corn. This is a great go-to meal to warm you up in the winters.
A lightly oaked Roussanne is similar to a Chardonnay, but a bit lighter. A congruent pairing like Roussanne with a similar flavor profile is a great choice if the chowder is one of a few things on the menu for the night. A light salad and a side of the bread is enough to help counterbalance the richness of the dish and wine.
This dish is so incredibly rich, try pairing it with a light-bodied and acidic white wine. A New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc will cut through the creaminess of the chowder. This is a great choice if the chowder is your main course of the night.
Turkey truly is limitless. All hail the turkey chili. This is a great crockpot meal that makes excellent leftovers. Top with fresh avocado chunks and shredded white cheddar.
A classic Rhone Syrah will compliment the dark profile of the chili’s black beans and spices. The complexity of a Syrah will add to the layered flavors of chili.
Rioja is Spain in a glass. This wine is often deemed as a more fruit-forward Cabernet Sauvignon. Rioja is a blended red wine that is typically Tempranillo dominate. It is affordable and provides a deep profile that will complement the many flavors of the chili.
Does anyone else remember having Marie Calendar’s pot pies for dinner as a child? While making a homemade turkey pot pie may be above most of our cooking skills, the frozen ones are also delicious. Pop them in the oven and they will be perfectly done by the time you are done with your first glass of wine.
Old Vine South African Chenin Blanc with a touch of oak is the absolute perfect pairing for a turkey pot pie. It will be acidic enough to cut through the creaminess of the filling while the light oak flavors will complement the turkey and crust.
This full-bodied white wine has rich aromas of peach, honeysuckle, and apricots. Find one that has a touch of oak. This is a rich and aromatic wine that goes well with turkey and root vegetables.
Many of these pairings are red wines. Don’t forget to decant and preserve your wine properly. Check out these all-in-one decanter/wine preservers.