Wine Guides

3 Best Wines for Turkey Dinner

The best wines for turkey dinner are dry and bright with fruity or buttery notes. Learn more about our top picks for Thanksgiving – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel.

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By Emily Gokita

November 15, 2022

Illustrations of orange leaves and shapes with text reading "turkey, wine, feeling fine"

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With the holiday season fast-approaching, we want to make sure you have the the right cans on hand for every occasion. First up for most folks around the country is… Thanksgiving.

No matter how you celebrate this food-focused holiday, turkey is likely on the table with sides like buttery mashed potatoes, jammy cranberry sauce, creamy gravy, and herby stuffing. Learn more about our three Thanksgiving wine suggestions and how many cans you'll need based on your party size.

3 wines for turkey dinner

Some of the best wines for turkey dinner are dry and bright with fruity or buttery notes. We have three Maker can recommendations – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel. All three come from female winemakers and small-batch producers in California.

Hot tip: If we were going to serve all three, we’d serve them in that order. We recommend starting with rich and round, crips and refreshing Chardonnay – perfect for appetizer hour and those first bites of turkey. Pinot Noir, from the same maker as our Chard, is the perfect any-food pairing. Then, round out the meal with a Zinfandel packed with dark berry, vanilla, and spice flavor.

1. Chardonnay

Before you scroll past this one, hear us out. Many of you have fallen in love with Handley Cellars Chardonnay already – it’s dry, zero sugar, and doesn’t have those intensely buttery notes. Even members of the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) Club have changed their tune after trying this one from the ladies at Handley.

It’s refreshing, balanced, and not-so-oaky (i.e. fermented in steel, aged in neutral French oak). With subtle hints of butter and notes of lemon, nectarine, and toasted almond, this wine is perfect for roasted turkey and its accompaniments.

Get it now because it will sell out before Christmas and won’t be back next year.

Maker single can and glass of the 2021 Handley Chardonnay

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Meyer lemon, nectarine, and toasted almond - it's Old World elegance meets California modern. Fermented in Stainless Steel and aged in neutral French Oak, this Chardonnay is rich and round, yet crisp and refreshing.

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2. Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is Maker’s best-selling wine. Notes of juicy red cherries, cranberries, cola, and baking spices make it absolutely perfect for Thanksgiving’s main event. It’s an alluring, complex, and mouth-watering wine that will please almost every person at the table.

This gold medal beauty, also from Handley Cellars, is organically farmed steps from their tasting room in Anderson Valley. Pair it with Thanksgiving dinner, but set some aside for earthy, creamy, rich meals in the future – think that cranberry goat cheese log from Trader Joe’s, mushroom risotto, roasted chicken, or salmon.

2019 Pinot Noir: Can and glass

Try the Pinot Noir

She's kind of a big deal – this Pinot was the highest rated red wine (89 pts.) in Wine Spectator's blind tasting of over 60 canned wines. Introducing the Maker and Handley Pinot collab.

3. Zinfandel

Quick PSA: We are running low on 2019 Zin. In fact, by the time you buy, we might’ve switched to 2020. This Old Vine Zinfandel from Janell Dusi is a perfectly balanced wine full of dark berries, vanilla, and spice. It’s aged 20 months in 20% new French oak, giving it some earthiness under a bold and ripe expression of fruit.

Like most Zinfandels, this one by J Dusi is jammy and juicy – perfect between bites of homemade cranberry sauce or sweet potato pie. It’s a great wine for turkey dinner, but save some for winter drinking or dark meat dinners – you won’t regret it.

J Dusi Zinfandel: Can and Glass

Shop the Zinfandel

This Zinfandel from a rising star female vintner combines the best of two legendary Paso Robles vineyards. The result? A perfectly balanced, dry red wine full of dark berries, vanilla, and spice.

How much wine for turkey dinner

Each Maker can is 1/3 of a bottle which should get your guests through dinner. We recommend having something light and bubbly on hand for happy hour or pre-dinner snacks, then serving one (or all!) of the three wines above for turkey dinner. Having 2-3 cans per guest is adequate and, if you need a bottle reference, each 12-pack is equivalent to 4 bottles of wine.

Happy holidays, Can Fam! We can’t wait to see how you pair Maker wine with turkey dinner and other holiday food traditions.

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