Wines under $20 to Pair with Turkey
By Bill Stobbs Originally published November 2019, updated October 2020
Stressing about which wine to pair with your Thanksgiving turkey dinner? We’ll let you in on a little secret—Any wine will work. Yes, any wine that you personally enjoy will complement your meal. While the turkey is the highlight of your plate, it’s also filled with a mountain of other delectable delights: stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, two different casseroles, cranberry sauce and don’t forget the dessert. The number of flavors that encompass your palate are endless and you’ll quickly realize that a single wine cannot pair with everything, but just about any wine will pair with something. So, why not drink what you enjoy?
With that said, there are several different types of wine that some folks are adamant about having with their Thanksgiving feast, so it might be a good idea to take a look at these recommendations to assist you in your choice. No need to break the bank here. Thanksgiving is about family and friends enjoying time together. Save your high-end bottles and grace the table with these wines under $20.
Just as some people prefer white meat over dark meat, there are some people who prefer white wine with turkey dinner and others who favor red. Both are acceptable. Let’s begin with a couple of white wine options. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is justifiably popular. The wine is dry and crisp, but extremely refreshing with intense flavors that simply burst in your mouth. A bottle (or two) of The Better Half Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc fits the bill perfectly and is sure to be appreciated by your guests. If you prefer Chardonnay, Fly By North Coast Chardonnay provides pleasant Meyer lemon, honey and pineapple notes that are sure to bring out the juiciness of your festive bird.
If red wine is your tipple of preference, you may wish to pour the Domaine des Farondes Bourgogne Pinot Noir. Burgundy is the traditional heartland of great Pinot Noir and this one is truly a steal at the price. Another choice might be a lovely simple red such as Vignobles Bulliat Beaujolais Villages. The pronounced red fruit and blackcurrant flavors are instantly appealing and work so well with turkey. For those who insist on bigger, bolder reds, Zinfandel is a popular choice. A great selection to pair would be Ancient Peaks Zinfandel which scored a 90-point rating from Wine Enthusiast for their 2016 vintage.
Being limited to five recommendations is simply not enough, so let’s explore a few more suggestions still under the $20 threshold. There are those zealous souls who insist that Gewurztraminer is the only wine to enjoy with your Thanksgiving repast and it’s certainly an interesting choice. The home for this unique grape variety is Alsace, France, which produces some of the greatest white wines in the world. So how about Zinck Portrait Gewurztraminer with its aromatic hints of roses and lychee? If Gewurztraminer doesn’t make the menu, dry Rosé wines are also an inspired choice for a turkey pairing. Consider the Domaine Gueguen Pinot Noir Rosé from Burgundy.
Lastly, since Thanksgiving is a holiday, serve your guests the wine of celebrations – sparkling wine. People often forget that besides being a great aperitif, sparkling wine also pairs well with many types of food. A good choice would be the always reliable Graham Beck Brut or if you prefer a pink bubbly, Graham Beck Brut Rosé is a great selection from the Western Cape in South Africa. A fresh yeasty blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the wine shows great finesse and has a rich creamy complexity.
There you have it – a few choice suggestions to pair with your turkey dinner. The thing to remember, most of all, is that wine is there to be enjoyed. A good meal and the company of family and friends adds immeasurably to the joie de vivre, so let the wine you choose simply enrich your time together.
Looking for more Thanksgiving tips, recipes or wine pairing suggestions? Check out our ideas for holiday planning here.
Pricing, selection and vintages may vary by location.