The 13 Best Thanksgiving Wines of 2023

By Dirk Smits

Best Thanksgiving Wines to pair for dinner

Thanksgiving represents one of the biggest food celebrations in American culture. It is a day for breaking bread with friends and neighbors, and it is a day for celebrating the bounty our land has to offer. For this reason, we are firm believers that a Thanksgiving feast should be paired with American wines.

Luckily, our great, winemaking nation offers a wide selection of varieties and styles of wine to suit every taste preference. It isn’t hard to find a homegrown bottling that will shine at your table, whatever style of wine you happen to like.

That’s why GAYOT’s list of the Best Thanksgiving Wines includes wines from several different American wine regions. We know you can find something in these wine recommendations to suit your budget, your taste preference and help you celebrate the true meaning of this all-American holiday.

> Check GAYOT’s Thanksgiving Planner.

1. de Négoce, 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon | Walla Walla Valley, Washington

Origin: Walla Walla Valley, Washington
Varietals: 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot
Price: $29.00
ABV: 14.9%

Cameron Hughes, an industry pioneer with over two decades experience as a leading négociant, partners with high-end producers who have wine that they need to sell — maybe they made too much of a particular vintage, maybe they’re phasing out a certain brand, or simply need to generate cash flow. He then offers these wines before they are bottled to his list as “futures,” allowing consumers the opportunity to bypass distribution and marketing markups. The wines are then bottled under the de Négoce label and delivered to subscribers at considerable savings.

The wine has a very dark red color. The nose opens up to concentrated aromas of blackcurrant, plum, cherry, pencil shavings and cigar box. The rich palate offers ripe red fruit and chocolate, framed in by a solid amount of tannins. The acidity is present and leads the wine towards a long, big, but balanced finish.

> For more information, visit de Négoce official website.

2. Vara, Silverhead Brut, American Sparkling Wine

Origin: Made in New Mexico, U.S., with grapes from Washington and Spain
Varietals: 72% Chardonnay and 3% Syrah from Washington, 25% Xarel-lo and Macabeo from Penedès, Spain
Price: $25.00
ABV: 12.5%

Vara is an international family of Spanish and American wines and spirits celebrating the origin of the American wine experience thanks to the historical connection of Spain and New Mexico.

The history of wine in New Mexico is over 390 years old and is as rich and complicated as its colorful landscapes. In 1629, 140 years before the first Missions of California were established, a Franciscan friar named García de Zúñiga and a Capuchín monk named Antonio de Arteaga planted the first European wine grapes in what is now the U.S. at a pueblo in the Rio Grande Valley of the Province of New Mexico.

Viticulture took hold in the valley, and by the year 1880 the New Mexico territory was the fifth largest wine producer in America. The cuttings brought to the new world by missionaries from Spain were of a Vitis Vinifera grape varietal known as Listán Prieto, or the present-day Mission grape.

The wine shows a beautiful light straw color with fine bubbles. The nose delivers aromas of roasted almonds, white flowers, mineral and a hint of fresh cut pears. The palate replicates these aromas, adding creaminess and a fresh acidity.

> For more information, visit Vara Wines official website.

3. Opolo, 2020 Zinfandel | Paso Robles, California

Origin: Paso Robles, California
Varietal: 100% Zinfandel
Price: $32.00
ABV: 15.8%

For more than 15 years, Opolo Mountain Zinfandel has been a standard bearer of Zinfandel from Paso Robles. This heritage varietal – which has been grown in the Paso Robles region since the 1800s – excels across their estate vineyards in the west side coastal mountains. This wine comes predominantly from three of the most heralded westside sub-AVAs of Paso Robles: Willow Creek, Adelaida and Templeton Gap.

This Zinfandel shows a dark, inky color. Jammy aromas of raspberry, cherry and boysenberry meet with spices and a touch of oak. The palate boasts lots of fruit, ripe tannins and bright acidity evolving in a long, well-balanced finish.

> For more information, visit Opolo official website.

4. FEL, 2020 Chardonnay, Savoy Vineyard | Anderson Valley, California

Origin: Anderson Valley, California
Varietal: 100% Chardonnay
Price: $52.00
ABV: 13.8%

FEL wines are produced by Lede Family Wines based in Napa Valley. The letters in FEL represent Florence Elsie Lede, founder Cliff Lede’s mother, a home winemaker who provided the early inspiration for Cliff’s love of wine. Growing up in Alberta, Canada, Cliff remembers the tulip as signifying the end of winter, bringing with it a freshness and excitement of warmer days ahead. The FEL wines labels, featuring an illustration of an opening tulip, is a tribute to Florence’s passion for gardening.

The Savoy Vineyard, long recognized as a benchmark vineyard in Anderson Valley, is located in the “Deep End” of the valley, west of the town of Philo. The maritime influence and moderate daytime temperatures contribute to the wine’s balance, acidity and elegant flavor profile. This wine is made from the Prosser clone of Chardonnay.

The wine has a straw yellow color. The nose reveals lemon zest, exotic fruits and wet stone. The palate is complex, delivering melon, pear, complemented by zippy acidity and a crunchy texture.

> For more information, visit FEL official website.

5. Sparkling Pointe, 2017 Brut Nature | Long Island, NY

Origin: North Fork of Long Island, New York
Varietals: 55% Chardonnay, 22% Pinot Noir, 23% Pinot Meunier
Price: $42.00
ABV: 12.5%

Sparkling Pointe encompasses 40 acres of vineyards planted only with the classic Champagne grape varietals — Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Using strictly the traditional méthode champenoise process, Sparkling Pointe is the only winery on the North Fork to produce exclusively sparkling wines.

The state-of-the-art-winery is designed and maintained by French-born winemaker Gilles Martin, formerly of California’s Roederer Estate, who boasts a Masters of Enology from the University of Montpellier. Gilles’ expertise is renowned in the region, and he crafts wines that age from two to eight years on fine yeast lees and that are blended to perfection, showcasing extreme finesse and style.

The wine displays a fine effervescence with a bouquet of flowers, lemon zest and pear. The palate shows fine fruit, mineral and a zippy acidity keeping the wine very alive and kicking.

> For more information, visit Sparkling Pointe official website.

6. Project M, Pinot Noir, Personify 2019 | Willamette Valley. Oregon

Origin: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
Price: $39.00
ABV: 13.1%

PROJECT M is the vision of Meg and Jerry Murray. With over 30 years of collective wine industry experience, their methods and principles have been tested and refined, their vision focused and their judgments sharpened. They use this experience to craft precise and elegant Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Rosé and Riesling from distinctive sites in the Willamette Valley.

Their Personify Pinot Noir shows aromas of cherry, plum and dried flowers. The palate is very refined, revealing red fruit, some earthiness and spice, all wrapped in ripe tannins and juicy acidity, evolving in an elegant, long finish.

> For more information, visit Project M official website

7. Peconic Bay Vineyards, Riesling 2020 | North Fork of Long Island, New York

Origin: North Fork of Long Island, New York
Varietal: 100% Riesling
Price: $30.00
ABV: 11%

With more than 300 total acres, including 125 acres under vine, Peconic Bay Vineyards practices sustainable farming techniques and strives to be good stewards of the land on the North Fork. The goal is to produce the highest quality fruit and make wine that is a true representation of this wonderful region. So far, six wines have been released, including a Riesling, Chardonnay and Merlot with plans to plant a lot more varietals in the near future. Peconic Bay also specializes in wines such as Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.

This Riesling is sourced from the estate, which has one of the earliest Riesling plantings on the North Fork. The wine is slightly off-dry, coming in at 2g/L residual sugar. The wine has a light straw color, a complex nose revealing white peach, melon and a touch of spice. The palate boasts lemon zest, stone fruit and a touch of mineral. Juicy acidity and fruit flavors are carried into a long, zippy finish.

> For more information, visit Peconic Bay Vineyards official website.

8. Baldacci, Stella Knight Vineyard, 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon | Calistoga, California

Origin: Calistoga, California
Varietal: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Price: $110.00
ABV: 14.5%

Baldacci Family Vineyards is located in a beautiful part of the Napa Valley just off of the Silverado Trail (west side) slightly south of the Yountville Cross Road. Records show the property was originally planted with grapevines in 1888; it was purchased by Thomas (Tom) & Brenda Baldacci in 1998. The property is located in the Stags Leap District, one of the Napa Valley’s most highly regarded Cabernet Sauvignon producing sub appellations. For approximately six years, the family sold grapes, including to notable producers such as Rombauer, Shafer Vineyards and Clos du Val. Eventually, Tom decided to build a winery rather than selling the property. Perhaps his family heritage had something to do with his decision, being the grandson of Italian immigrants, who made their own wine. Over the years the entire vineyard has been replanted. They made wine in 1998 and 1999 but not commercially — their first vintage was in 2000, released in 2003.

A deep garnet color gives way to aromas of ripe berries, spices, cigar box and toasted oak. The mouth feel is rubenesque with loads of ripe, fresh red fruit, ripe tannins and a long, well-balanced, elegant finish.

> For more information, visit Baldacci Family Vineyards official website.

9. Cannonball, 2020 Sauvignon Blanc | San Luis Obispo, California

Origin: California
Varietal: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Price: $16.99
ABV: 13%

Morning fog and cool breezes characterize the favorite growing regions for Sauvignon Blanc, and Cannonball’s approach is to blend across compatible regions to layer in signature varietal character. From the silty soils and delta breezes of Clarksburg to the predictably foggy corners of San Luis Obispo, they sought distinctive parcels that express the cool climate fruit, mineral and acidity.

This wine shows a bright light yellow color and a complex bouquet of lemon zest, white flowers and minty herbs with grassy notes. The palate bursts with juicy acidity, citrus, mineral and melon, all evolving in a long finish.

> For more information, visit Cannonball official website.

10. Bouchaine, 2019 Estate Pinot Noir | Carneros, California

Origin: Carneros, Napa Valley, California
Varietals: 100% Pinot Noir
Price: $40.00
ABV: 14.3%

Bouchaine is the oldest continuously operating winery in Carneros, a region located on the southern tip of Napa Valley. In the late 1880s, a Missouri-born settler named Boon Fly planted grapes and fruit trees on the property. An Italian winemaker named Johnny Garetto bought the land in 1927 and farmed it until 1961, when he sold to Beringer. Twenty years later, the dilapidated winery was purchased by Gerret and Tatiana Copeland who made it into a state-of-the-art winery.

The wine shows a bright ruby color in the glass. Aromas of wild strawberries and other ripe red fruit emerge in the nose and the palate delivers lots of red fruit, soft tannins, all evolving in an elegant, long finish.

> For more information, visit Bouchaine official website.

11. Tablas Creek, Esprit Blanc de Tablas 2020 | Paso Robles, California

Origin: Adelaida District, Paso Robles, California
Varietals: 46% Roussanne, 28% Grenache Blanc, 14% Picpoul Blanc, 5% Bourboulenc, 4% Clairette Blanche, 3% Picardan
Price: $50.00
ABV: 13%

This wine is the flagship white blend from the winery, chosen from the top lots of six estate-grown varietals propagated from budwood cuttings from the Château de Beaucastel winery in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Roussanne provides the core richness, minerality and flavors of honey and spice, while Grenache Blanc adds green apple and anise flavors, a lush mouth feel and bright acidity. Picpoul Blanc brings pineapple aromas and saline minerality. Picardan adds elegance while Clairette Blanche is crisp and gently citrusy. Bourboulenc provides a limestone, citrusy lift. All are the right attributes to be enjoyed in a Thanksgiving wine.

This Rhȏne blend displays a light straw color. The bouquet is rich and complex, with aromas of pear, vanilla custard, wildflower honey and Asian spice mix. The palate reveals fresh stone fruit, beeswax, preserved lemon and limestone mineral notes.

For more information, visit the Tablas Creek Vineyard official website.

12. San Simeon, 2019 Syrah | Paso Robles, California

Origin: Paso Robles, California
Varietal: 100% Syrah
Price: $22.95
ABV: 14.5%

San Simeon Wines are terroir-driven wines shaped by unique soils and the Pacific Ocean’s influence, which cools the vineyards at night to give their wines a distinct freshness. Their name pays homage to the vital role the fog and cool air from the sea plays in their vineyards, and their label honors the heritage of the region by featuring the historic San Piedras lighthouse.

This Syrah reveals a deep red color. The nose boasts aromas of black currant jam, spices, chocolate and pomegranate. The palate is rich and delivers ripe dark red fruit, flowers, mocha and oaky spices.

> For more information, visit the San Simeon Wines official website.

13. Fiddlehead Cellars, 2017 Grüner Veltliner | Sta. Rita Hills, California

Origin: Sta. Rita Hills, California
Varietal: 100% Grüner Veltliner
Price: $32.00
ABV: 13%

Having already established herself as a pioneer in both Santa Barbara County and Willamette Valley in the early 1990s, Fiddlehead owner and winemaker Kathy Joseph was eager to introduce people to an elegant and serious Grüner Veltliner, representative of the great wines of Austria that she loves. In 2012, she took a leap of faith, planting almost three acres of vines which already had four years of age at her famed Fiddlestix Vineyard in Sta. Rita Hills, becoming the first in the region to produce this grape.

This wine is fermented in a combination of French oak and stainless steel. It shows a light yellow color and typical Grüner Veltliner aromas of jasmine, citrus, peach, pear, white pepper and a touch of mineral. The palate delivers flavors of lemon zest and stone fruit, all blended in juicy acidity.

> For more information, visit the Fiddlehead Cellars official website.

Watch our exclusive video interview of Alison Laslett, CEO of Santa Barbara Vintners Association.