The Best Sonoma Wines For Thanksgiving Dinner

  • Wine
  • by SHANA CLARKE
  • on OCTOBER 24, 2022
  • 745
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Once we’re all gathered around the table, laughing and joking and talking about what we’re thankful for, we’re reminded why Thanksgiving is such a meaningful holiday. But let’s face it, there’s a lot of prep and planning that goes into this festive meal, no matter how big or small your celebration.

Luckily, the wine will be one of the easiest components of the Thanksgiving menu, as Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays for serving all your favorite bottles. With so many different flavors and textures on the table, from savory stuffing to roasted turkey to sweet-tart cranberry sauce and more, there are no hard and fast rules for pairings — it’s really anything goes.

Sonoma County, with its numerous appellations and grape varieties, is an ideal place to find great wines for the table. Here’s just a snapshot of Sonoma varieties to try this Thanksgiving.

Zinfandel

With its long history in the United States, Zinfandel is often referred to as America’s heritage grape. Many vineyards of old vines dot the West Coast winemaking landscape, and Sonoma is home to many of these historic plantings. Zinfandel as a variety is known for its bright red fruits, plummy tones, as well as lots of delectable spices. It’s a full-bodied wine that can stand up to hearty proteins, but the fruit-forward style is a match for cranberry sauce and sweeter vegetables such as butternut squash or sweet potato casserole.

Wines to Try:

The Best Sonoma Wines For Thanksgiving Dinner Dry Creek Vineyard Historic Blocks Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, $55 The Best Sonoma Wines For Thanksgiving Dinner Seghesio Family Vineyards Old Vines Zinfandel, Sonoma County, $40

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is another tried-and-true red wine favorite for the Thanksgiving meal, with its dark berry fruit flavors and savory qualities. In Sonoma County, Cabernet shows all this and more. The terroir and diurnal shifts in the growing season produce wines with great minerality and elegance. Try it with herbed stuffing or dry-brined turkey.

Wines to Try:

The Best Sonoma Wines For Thanksgiving Dinner A. Rafanelli Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley The Best Sonoma Wines For Thanksgiving Dinner Aperture Cellars Oliver Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley, $150

Rosé

This pink wine is not just for the warm summer months. Rosé, often with notable fruit aromas and flavors, and lively acidity, will surprise everyone with its versatility this Thanksgiving. See how it works with lighter proteins such as turkey, as well as hard-to-pair vegetables such as roasted Brussels sprouts or green bean casserole.

Wines to Try:

The Best Sonoma Wines For Thanksgiving Dinner Benziger Family Vineyards North Coast Rosé, North Coast AVA, $26 The Best Sonoma Wines For Thanksgiving Dinner Alma de Cattleya Rosé of Pinot Noir, Sonoma County, $20

Chardonnay

As one of the signature grapes of Sonoma County, Chardonnay comes in a myriad of styles, from creamy and rich to crisp and lean, and all types have a place on the Thanksgiving dinner table. Try a rich Chardonnay with buttery mashed potatoes or a mineral-driven Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast with herbed stuffing.

Wines to Try:

The Best Sonoma Wines For Thanksgiving Dinner Chalk Hill Founder’s Block Chardonnay, Chalk Hill AVA, $100 The Best Sonoma Wines For Thanksgiving Dinner Ledson ‘Dutton Ranch’ Russian River Valley Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, $58

Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is to red wine in Sonoma County as Chardonnay is to white wine. The grape especially thrives in cool-climate sites on the Sonoma Coast, but beautiful, terroir-driven Pinot Noirs can be found throughout Sonoma County. For the Thanksgiving meal, Pinot is an especially popular choice as its light body works with roast turkey, roasted vegetables, and so much more, and its fruit and spice character pair across a range of Thanksgiving dishes.

Wines to Try:

The Best Sonoma Wines For Thanksgiving Dinner Landmark Hop Kiln Estate Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, $40 The Best Sonoma Wines For Thanksgiving Dinner Hirsch Vineyards San Andreas Fault Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, $60

Sparkling Wine

Sparkling wine is the MVP of Thanksgiving dinner. Serve it as an aperitif when guests arrive, then keep it flowing throughout the meal. If your turkey is deep-fried, sparkling wine is an ideal match. It also provides contrasting texture to soup or those that like a heavy pour of gravy over everything.

Wines to Try:

The Best Sonoma Wines For Thanksgiving Dinner J. Vineyards Blanc de Blancs, Russian River Valley, $80 The Best Sonoma Wines For Thanksgiving Dinner Inman Family Wines Blanc de Blancs, Russian River Valley, $73

Dessert Wine

Everyone knows turkey and side dishes are only half the story when it comes to a Thanksgiving feast. Dessert equally takes center stage this time of year — and you’ll want a wine for all those pumpkin pies, pecan pies, or whatever else fills the pie crust.

Wines to Try:

The Best Sonoma Wines For Thanksgiving Dinner Chateau St. Jean Belle Terre Vineyard Late Harvest Riesling, Alexander Valley, $60 The Best Sonoma Wines For Thanksgiving Dinner Anaba White Aero Port, Sonoma Valley, $36

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Author

Shana Clarke

Shana Clarke is a freelance journalist and consultant based in New York City. Her work regularly appears in a variety of consumer and trade publications, including Wine Enthusiast, Playboy, USA Today, and SevenFifty Daily, among others. She holds a Level 3 Advanced Certification from Wine & Spirits Education Trust and served as a judge at the TexSom International Wine Awards. Follow her at @ShanaSpeaksWine and see more of her work on www.shanaspeakswine.com

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