Turkey & Wine Pairings

Normally, when you think of Turkey, you probably think of Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner. We’ll have separate pairings on that, as when you consider wine and beer pairings, you have to consider the whole meal. In this article, we’ll focus on the turkey aspect of holiday dinners, as well as other turkey faves, such as Ground Turkey, Turkey Sandwiches, and Turkey Sausages. (Turkey Jerky did not make the cut).

Turkey and Wine Pairings

Turkey is a not a heavy meat, and is very low in fat (which is why it’s easy to be dry). Thus for white wines, you want a full bodied white, whilst for red wines, you want something medium bodied, low in tannin, and higher in acidity.

White wine and Turkey Pairings

Our number one white choice with Turkey Dinner is a full bodied Chardonnay. Something from California, or Australia that is a little bit oaky will do a splendid job. A Chardonnay comes off creamy in the mouth, which does an excellent job with meat that is dry. Since Turkey tastes rather plain, the oaky richness breathes a little life into the meat, adding a bit of flair and character.

Other white wines you may want to Consider are the aromatic Gewürztraminer, or the slightly sweet Riesling. These two wines are quite refreshing if the turkey is slightly dry (or salty), and add complementary flavours to the rather plain meat. A full bodied Chardonnay may be too rich for you if you’re having a lunchtime Turkey sandwich, making Gewürztraminer or Riesling both excellent choices.

Red Wine and Turkey

Considering that Turkey is a red wine, you’d think there’d be few to little options. However there are three magnificent reds that pair well with turkey.

Our number one choice is a Pinot Noir, or a Red Burgundy. This oftentimes earthy or woodsy mingles well with the savoury turkey flavour, whilst the strawberry or cherry flavours create a brilliant marriage of meat and wine.

Next up Beaujolais is amazing with a Turkey Sandwich. Low in alcohol, but bursting with freshness, Beaujolais and turkey sandwiches make a great picnic lunch combo.

Turkey Sausage

Our final pairing is Rioja. This Spanish red wine is absolutely wonderful with Grilled Turkey sausages.  Personally, I’d select a Crianza Rioja, which hasn’t been aged in oak very long, meaning it has more of a refreshing tartness making it perfect with grilled sausage, that is perhaps tossed in a pasta dish.

Chianti is another great pairing, and is quite brilliant with turkey meatballs and spaghetti.  Chianti is made with the Sangiovese grape which produces highly acidic wines.  High acidity is something you want when acidic tomatoes are involved, or else the whole dish will come off as flat and taste metallic.  The high acidity, low in tannin profile also makes it a winning pair with low fat Turkey meatballs.

Beer and Turkey

For generic beer (beer you might grab off the shelf), go for an amber ale. An amber ale has just enough balance to not overpower the turkey, but not to shy away from the taste either. If the turkey is part of a feast, this crisp beer will pair nicely with all the fixn’s

If you want to get fancy and go the Craft Beer route, we’d suggest a Farmhouse Ale or Saison

These tend to be a crisp yet spicey beers with a touch of effervescence. With hints of citrus and ginger you have this balance of bitter and sweet that adds a bit of complexity to the pain taste of turkey without overpowering it or tasting limp.

For a leftover turkey sandwich smothered in gravy, we’d a nut brown ale that will cut through the gravy just enough to add a bit of nuttiness on the finish.

Liquor and Turkey Pairings

Given that turkey is a simple dish, we’ll keep are pairings simple as well.  Gin and Tonic is a fantastic choice as the gin’s botanicals add dimension to the plainness of Turkey.  Another excellent choice is scotch, as it has a smokiness that transfers well to a bite of turkey, again, adding a bit of depth.

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