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Best Red Wine Pairings for Turkey


Best Red Wine Pairings for Turkey – Pinot Noir & More

Pinot Noir from bolder Burgundy crus, such as Gevrey-Chambertin or Pommard, should work exceptionally well.

If you can stretch to the Grand Cru of Chambertin then you’re in for a treat, but there are also plenty of less expensive options out there. Try looking towards Fixin or Santenay, for example.

Be aware, though, that some lighter styles of Burgundy Pinot, such as classic Volnay wines, may be overpowered by the range of flavors on your plate.

Pinot’s from Oregon’s Willamette Valley or California’s Russian River or Santa Barbara County maybe a good choice.

Pinot Noir is also a good option when eating cold roast turkey leftovers, particularly if pickles and chutneys are on the dish too.

Best Red Wine Pairings for Turkey – Basic Rules for Red Wine With Turkey

Best Red Wine Pairings for Turkey – Everyone has their own personal tastes, and there are so many options out there, but Pinot Noir in its various guises around the world is often seen as a great match for turkey dinners.

Fine tannins are great in a balanced wine with some bottle age, but too much mouth-coating tannin could also ruin all those hours you’ve spent slaving away in the kitchen to prepare your turkey.

There is likely to be little to no fat on the plate in general, leaving little to soften tannins in a big, bold, young wine.

This can accentuate the harsh feeling of tannins in the mouth, eclipsing other flavors, while the saltiness of the turkey can also make tannins taste more bitter.

It may seem strange that classic wine choices include those with relatively high tannin levels, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends from Bordeaux.

This, however, is where several years of bottle age come into play, because tannins will soften and integrate over time in the best wines.

Best Red Wine Pairings for Turkey – Embrace Acidity

A roast turkey dinner is often full of flavors and complexity – sides like cranberry, bacon, parsnips, stuffing and Brussels sprouts are just some of the dishes vying for attention.

A wine with medium or high levels of acidity should be able to cope better with these myriad flavours.

Best Red Wine Pairings for Turkey – Nuances

Turkey is a flavorful meat that pairs easily and wonderfully with a wide variety of red wines.

Depending on how you prepare your turkey and what flavors you add to the meat, gravy, and stuffing, you have many options for intriguing and delicious wine and turkey pairings.

Turkey is practically synonymous with Thanksgiving, a holiday that brings a wide palette of foods with diverse taste profiles.

Thus, oftentimes pairing wine and turkey means pairing wine with other flavors and textures ranging from crunchy greens to soft and sweet potatoes.

Best Red Wine Pairings for Turkey – Offer More Than One Varietal

Curating a selection is better than limiting choices.

When it comes to pairing wine and turkey, it is better to curate a selection rather than restrict a pairing.

You are dealing with a large bird with parts that are very different from one another; a juicy breast cut will not taste the same as a piece of roasted dark meat.

Easy reds are an obvious choice of wine pairing, but there is always room for more creative wine and turkey pairings.

How you prepare your turkey will dictate the choice of wine pairing.

best-red-wine-pairings-for-turkey-Mooduc-Estate-The-Moorooduc-McIntyre-Pinot Noir-Mornington-Peninsula-2016

Moorooduc Estate, The Moorooduc McIntyre Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula, 2016

Mornington Peninsula, Australia

Red, Light and Perfumed

94 Points


Deep garnet in color with lifted red and black cherry, generous aromas of wild sage, thyme and bay leaf with mushroom and soy sauce savoriness.

On the palate, intense, velvety tannins balance dark cherry fruit, dark chocolate and rich earthy savory notes. The finish is long and structured.

The the wine cries out for pan seared duck breast with a bitter cherry sauce.

The north-facing, relatively warm, dry-farmed site has produced a broad-shouldered wine, with a powerful, ripe underlay of tannins. The vintage makes for a sumptuous, velvety and expressive wine, with mellow, autumnal fruit and earthy, mushroom undertones alongside cinnamon, clove and lifted star anise. Softly mouth- coating with feathery tannins, it finishes.


Berry Bros & Rudd, Bourgogne Côte d’Or Pinot Noir by Benjamin Leroux, Burgundy, 2018

Burgundy, France

Red, Light and Perfumed


A new addition to the Berry Bros own-label range for 2019, this elegant Burgundy is made by talented young vigneron Benjamin Leroux, who sources Côte d’Or Pinot Noir grapes from very old vines planted in a declassified Chorey-lès-Beaune vineyard.

Fresh raspberry and cherry aromas lead to a palate with more raspberry and redcurrant fruit, supported by light, fine-grained tannins and beautifully delicate oak from maturation in old barrels, giving just a whisper of spice.

This is a splendid potpourri of different sites mostly across the Hautes Côtes and Côte de Beaune, with generic vineyards and village wines from Pommard, Meursault, St Romain and Monthélie, Dames Huguettes in the hills and even some from Vosne-Romanée (Croix Blanches) all contributing. As always, this is the best foot forward in terms of value and quality.

A fine line of acidity underpins it all – delicious.

Heady and juicy in 2018.


Poggio al Sole, Casasilia, Chianti Classico Gran Selezione, 2014

Chianti Classico DOCG, Italy

Red, Savory and Classic


The Davaz family has been making wine in Switzerland since the early 1970s. In 1990, winemakers Kathrin and Johannes Davaz acquired Poggio al Sole, nestled between the towns of Tavarnelle Val di Pesa and Greve in Chianti.

They produce 9,500 bottles of this wine, aged in old and new French oak barrels for a minimum of 18 months.

Andrea Briccarello: Earthy and spicy scents upfront, flowing onto a palate of great concentration and savouriness that gives the wine complexity and structure. Very elegant, with poised fruits and round tannins.

Nutmeg spice is subtly integrated and harmonious. Very appealing texture and weight, an understated, elegant style with a lingering finish.

Andrew Jefford: Sweet, graceful and pure, with soft incense notes qualifying the ripe black and red fruits. Understated but very attractive.

Mellow yet vivid, fresh yet fleshy: another Gran Selezione of assured quality and ample drinking pleasure.

A well balanced wine with plenty of generous fruit.

For soft charm, this is hard to beat.


Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Réserve de la Comtesse, Pauillac, 2018

Pauillac, France

Red, Savory and Classic

94 Points


The second wine of the Château, the 2018 Reserve De Comtesse De Lalande checks in as 53% Cabernet Sauvignon and 42% Merlot, with the balance Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.

Terrific classic Pauillac notes of blackcurrants, lead pencil shavings, leafy tobacco, and chocolate define this beauty, and it’s medium to full-bodied, with a layered, balanced, pure character, present yet ripe tannins, and a great finish.

It tastes more like a Grand Vin than a second wine.

The larger Merlot component shows here compared to its more Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated big brother, and it’s a much more plush, silky, sexy wine that already offers loads of pleasure.

It’s going to evolve for two decades and is well worth seeking out.


Best Red Wine Pairings for Turkey – CVNE Imperial Gran Reserva Rioja 2014

Tempranillo from Rioja, Spain

Red, Savory and Classic

92 Points


No 2013 was produced, as it was a very challenging year in Haro.

2014 Imperial Gran Reserva, an icon among classical Rioja.

The grapes for this blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo were picked during the first half of October at a low 13.5% alcohol and were fermented in small oak vats followed by malolactic in concrete and two years in barrel.

The bottles are kept for at least 36 months before they are released. As the Imperial Reserva, the style of this wine has to be preserved (they can innovate in the new Asúa range).

There is a developed and subtle nose reminiscent of petrol, hints of iodine and sweet spices.

The palate is powerful and still a little tannic, as the wine was released even earlier because they skipped one vintage. Serious, austere, faithful to its character.


Best Red Wine Pairings for Turkey – EnRoute Winery Les Pommiers Pinot Noir 2018

Russian River Valley, USA

Red, Savory and Classic

93 Points


A fragrant dried rose petal and berry potpourri flow a lush, juicy entry.

Darker raspberry preserves and blackberry flavors fill the midpalate, with clove and forest floor accents showing through to the finish.

This wine is opulent and silky from start to end, with lovely fruit and spice notes that linger on the palate.


Best Red Wine Pairings for Turkey – Turley Wine Cellars Ueberroth Vineyard Zinfandel

Paso Robles, USA

Red, Savory and Classic

93 Points


Savory herbs and spices like white pepper play first fiddle here, with the brambly red fruits not too far behind.

Bright, pure, with excellent grip and texture from the granitic soils, the wine finishes with mouthwatering acidity and a feeling of freshness.

The 2019 Zinfandel Old Vines has a medium ruby-purple color and bright, inviting red and blue berry fruits laced with notes of apricot and dried flowers.

Medium-bodied, the palate is silky, soft, super fresh and approachable with understated but pure fruit character.

May benefit from a light decanting.

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