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Thanksgiving Wine Pairings

Thanksgiving Wine Pairings – For Budget Buyers & Wine Fanatics

Thanksgiving: Turkey, fixins, friends, family, wine, love.

For most of us, the Thanksgiving meal comes from family tradition and generations of passed down recipes, but when it comes to wine, there is a little more wiggle room. There’s always the question of “Red or white?” Well, I’m here to help make the decision a little easier and offer some insight and suggestions ranging from budget-friendly bottles ($25 and under) that can be found just about anywhere outside of our wine cellar, mid-range wines ($45-75) that are a little harder to come by, but can always be found at Crystal Springs, and coveted vintages ($150+) that are displayed proudly in our wine cellar.

White Wine Recommendations:

Freshly carved breast meat, even with gravy, tends to dry the palate a bit. Look for a wine that offers a bit of fruit sugar, say a Dry Riesling or a wine that offers full texture, such as an aged Chardonnay that has seen oak aging and has had bottle time to mellow and form a fuller body. This will also complement the varied vegetable flavors in the side dishes.

    $25 and under

    • S.A. Prum Blue Slate Riesling Kabinett Mosel Germany ($20): For a not-so-sweet beautifully crisp white for great mass audience appeal

    • Hangtime Arroyo Seco Monterey Chardonnay ($17): For a brightly-fruited pear essence in a Chardonnay that has nice body to add richness to the palate-drying tendency of breast meat


    • Arrowood Saralee Vineyard Viognier Russian River (Latour Thanksgiving Special: $65): For great richness of texture and a flavor profile that deliversj smooth melon and soft tangerine notes.

    $150 +

    • Martinelli Charles Road Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2005 ($150): A great vintage from a phenomenal producer with time in the bottle to really smooth and blend this selection to stellar class.

Red Wine Recommendations:

I recommend considering not only the delicate texture and clean flavor of turkey breast meat, but also the diverse melange of flavors that will be hitting your palate from the popular side dishes – savory herbs, hearty root vegetables, and cranberry. From the perspective of food match, I say Cru Beaujolais and Pinot Noir.

Cru Beaujolais is Gamay Noir produced by the villages that make up the Beaujolais region in France, for example Brouilly, Fleurie, and Morgon, and Pinot Noir is always a good choice, too, having such great capacity for food-match.

If your preference is for a heavier wine, look to Zinfandel, preferably “old-vine”, and Petite Syrah, both offering nice doses of jammy black fruit and softer tannins, matching up nicely with the savory roots, herbs, and thick gravies.

    $25 and under

    • J Lohr Falcon’s Perch Monterey Pinot Noir ($20): For the softness of Pinot Noir with a nice presence of dark cherry flavor notes


    • Stag’s Leap Winery Petite Syrah ($45): For a nice bit of jammy fruit density with clean overall flavor, perfect for the “big-wine” lovers.

    • Girardin Moulin-a-Vent, Clos de la Tour, Cru Beaujolais 2009 ($60): A bit lighter than Pinot Noir, but deliver a delightful tangy burst of cherry, cranberry, and red raspberry that compliments many dishes and would appeal to guests' palates that don’t consume wine regularly.

    $150 +

    • Faiveley Clos de Veugot Grand Cru Red Burgundy 2006 ($300): We love this French producer; an exquisite Pinot Noir from an excellent vintage.

Jon Hartlage
Assistant Sommelier

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