10 Best Smoked Turkey & Wine Pairings


Quick Answer: Best Smoked Turkey & Wine Pairings

Smoked turkey is a dish specially prepared to complement white and red wines equally. It tastes its best when paired with wines like Riesling, Syrah, Primitivo, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Viognier, Gamay, Champagne, Merlot, and Sangiovese. Pair any of these wines with smoked turkey for an enticing dining experience.

This is the ultimate guide that you’ll ever need to find the best wine to compliment smoked turkey and satisfy your taste buds.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started.

But first, let’s get to know a bit more about smoked turkey before we get to know the details about the best wines to pair it with.

About Smoked Turkey

Smoked turkey is a cured turkey variant that did well under burning aromatic wood.

It comes with a sweet and smoky flavor, all thanks to the smoldering wood for generating the taste and a tender texture to the dish.

It’s cooked at low temperatures for a long duration and isn’t very dry to eat.

So, are you drooling over some smoked turkey already? But before that let’s find the perfect wine match for it.

Best Smoked Turkey & Wine Pairings

Here are top 10 wines you can pair with smoked turkey –

1. Riesling

Primary FlavorsLime, green apple, jasmine
Serving Temperature (C)3-7 degrees C
Glass TypeWhite
Storage (years)10+ years
Wine BodyLight-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)Under 10%

Riesling is a white wine with rich fruity flavors as it’s rarely oaked and comes pure. It’s intensely aromatic and brings along with it a variety of floral notes.

It comes in several variants like dry, semi-dry, and sweet as well as sparkling white wine. It comes back with the vibrant and powerful heritage of Germany.

Riesling wine is a versatile white wine that can be paired with a variety of different foods. One of its best pairings is with smoked turkey. The smoky flavor of the turkey pairs perfectly with the fruity, floral flavors of Riesling.

Get more details about Riesling through this quick video:

2. Syrah

OriginRhone Valley, France
Primary FlavorsBlueberry, black plum, milk chocolate
Serving Temperature (C)15-20 degrees C
Glass TypeUniversal
Storage (years)10+ years
Wine BodyFull-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)13.5-15%

Syrah is a dark-skinned grape primarily used to produce red wine. It is also known as Shiraz.

It consists of meaty, spicy, and fruity flavors that suit any kind of meaty dish.

It’s an opaque wine with moderate tannin levels.

The smokiness of the turkey enhances the fruitiness of the wine, while the tannins in the wine help to cut through the richness of the meat.

To better understand Syrah traits, check out this quick video:

3. Primitivo (Zinfandel)

NamePrimitivo (Zinfandel)
TasteDry and Sweet
Primary FlavorsRaspberry, Cherry, Plum, and Blackberry
AcidityModerately Acidic
Serving Temperature (C)17 - 20 degrees
Glass TypeZinfandel Wine Glass
Storage (years)5 - 8 years
Wine BodyMedium-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)13 - 15%

Primitivo is a red wine that comes along with black and red fruit flavors coupled with spicy pepper notes for that much-needed zing.

It comes with low tannin levels making it an easy-to-go option for smoked dishes.

Its moderate acidity and medium-bodied texture make it an excellent pair with smoked turkey as its spicy taste gets perfectly balanced.

The full body of the wine also stands up well to the hearty texture of the turkey.

Get insights regarding Primitivo through this video:

4. Chardonnay

TasteSweet and dry
Primary FlavorsApple and lemon
AcidityModerately acidic
Serving Temperature (C)50 degrees  
Glass TypeTraditional white wine glass
Storage (years)3-7 years
Wine BodyFull
Alcohol % (ABV)13.5 to 14.5%

Chardonnay comes with a neutral flavor. It comes with subtle notes of citrus, blossom, apple, and almonds. It’s medium-bodied along with medium acidity and moderate to high alcohol levels.

Its dry taste and light golden shade make it visually appealing. With each sip, you experience a different flavor every time.

Chardonnay is a good pairing option for smoked turkey as its mild fruity flavors won’t overpower the meat’s natural taste.

Here’s a video to get a complete gest about Chardonnay:

5. Pinot Noir

NamePinot noir
TasteDry and sweet
Primary FlavorsCherry and raspberry
AcidityBright acidity
Serving Temperature (C)55-60 degrees 
Glass TypeBurgundy
Storage (years)5 years
Wine BodyLight - Medium
Alcohol % (ABV)12-15%

Pinot Noir comes with a rich fruity flavor along with a velvety and vibrant ruby shade. It comes with a consortium of distinct flavors each maintaining its individuality.

With a dry taste and full-bodied texture, Pinot Noir comes in distinct flavors like smoky, fruity, and earthy notes.

Pinot Noir comes with few tannins and less acidity making it a perfect pair for smoked turkey as it doesn’t overpower its meaty taste and spice. The smokey flavor of the turkey will be enhanced by the Pinot Noir, and the acidity of the wine will help to cut through the richness of the meat.

Check out this video to better understand Pinot Noir:

6. Viognier

TasteFruity and creamy
Primary FlavorsTangerine, mango, honeysuckle, and vanilla
AcidityLow acidity
Serving Temperature (C)50 degrees  
Glass TypeTraditional white wine glass
Storage (years)5-6 years
Wine BodyMedium bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)13.5 to 15%

Viognier is a white wine, primarily with fruity flavors. Its intensity ranges from light to spritz depending upon the manufacturer and how it is made.

It comes with hints of bitterness that surely won’t bother people who aren’t a fan of bitter wines. It has fewer tannins, a full-bodied texture, and moderate alcohol levels.

The fruity and subtle bitterness of Viognier perfectly strikes a balance when paired with a spicy and smoked turkey. It pairs well with smoked turkey because the sweetness helps to offset the smokiness of the meat.

Discover more about Viognier through this insightful video:

7. Gamay

Primary FlavorsSour Cherry, Raspberry, Currant, Cranberry, and Strawberry
AcidityHighly Acidic
Serving Temperature (C)17 - 20 degrees
Glass TypeBurgundy Wine Glass
Storage (years)1 - 3 years
Wine BodyLight-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)10 - 11%

Gamay is articulately known for its light-bodied texture, high acidity, and low tannin levels.

It’s a red wine also known as Gamay Noir as it holds a close resemblance to Pinot Noir in terms of wine body and taste.

Gamay is an excellent pick for meaty dishes like smoked turkey due to its light wine body and high acidity that’ll help you cut the fat. The wine’s bright flavors can also help to refresh your palate between bites of the savory meat.

Get to learn more about Gamay through this quick video:

8. Champagne

Primary FlavorsCitrus, yellow apple, cream
Serving Temperature (C)3.3- 7.3 degrees C
Glass TypeFlute
Storage (years)5-20 years
Wine BodyLight-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)12.20%

Champagne wine is a sparkling wine that is produced in the Champagne region of France. It is made from a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier grapes. Champagne wine has a high acidity and a yeasty flavor.

That’s how it gets its name. It is a sparkling white wine that generates a velvety feel in every sip.

Champagne wine is the perfect pairing for smoked turkey because the light, bubbly nature of the wine helps to cut through the richness of the turkey. The acidity in Champagne also helps to balance out the smokiness of the turkey.

9. Merlot

TasteDark and fruity
Primary FlavorsBlack cherry, blackberry, plum, raspberry, vanilla and mocha
AcidityModerate acidity
Serving Temperature (C)60-65 degrees 
Glass TypeBordeaux
Storage (years)3-5 years
Wine BodyMedium to full
Alcohol % (ABV)13-14%

Merlot is a red wine that is made from the Merlot grape. It is a dry, full-bodied wine with moderate tannins and high acidity. Merlot has a soft sensual texture that makes it a versatile beverage to go for.

You can either go for a full-bodied or light-bodied Merlot to relish along with your smoked turkey dish as either of the two options work well for meaty meals.

Its soft, round flavors pair well with smoked turkey, making it a perfect choice for your holiday meal. Merlot’s fruitiness will also help to cut through the richness of the turkey, creating a delicious and balanced dish.

To better understand the nuances of Merlot, check out this quick video:

10. Sangiovese

Primary FlavorsCherry, roasted tomato, oregano
Serving Temperature (C)15-20 degrees C
Glass TypeUniversal
Storage (years)10+ years
Wine BodyMedium to Full-bodied
Alcohol % (ABV)13.5-15 %

Sangiovese is a red wine whose flavors depend upon the region from where the grapes have been obtained.

You can get a dry, semi-sweet, and sweet Sangiovese wine bottle based on the sugars added to it.

Along with the fruity flavors mentioned above, Sangiovese comes with savory notes of tomatoes, smoke, herbs, and tobacco.

Sangiovese wine is light-bodied and has high acidity, which makes it a great choice for pairing with smoked turkey.

Click on the below-given link to know more about Sangiovese:

Wine Pairing Guide for Smoked Turkey

Smoked turkey is a dish that can be paired with rich and smooth white wines to fruity and earthy red wines.

One can never go wrong while pairing a glass of Chardonnay with turkey. This is because this wine comes with crisp acidity, fruity flavors, and mineral undertones.

For the lovers of red, Pinot Noir is here. Its high acidity makes it a versatile wine to suit a variety of dishes including turkey. Viognier is juicy, fruity, and all things floral.

It adds a distinct flavor to your smoked turkey meal, making it a remarkable option to turn to.

The smoky and tobacco-like notes of Syrah make it an exceptional wine to turn to for smoked turkey.

Riesling is yet another option to settle for wine pairing with smoked turkey due to its high acidity and elevated minerality.

Primitivo wine goes exceptionally well with dark meats like the smoked turkey while Champagne’s here to add some zest to your meal.

Try these variants to find what’s best for you.

Key Difference Between Smoked and Roasted Turkey

A major difference between smoked and roasted turkey is the way they’re heat-treated and the temperature at which they’re prepared.

Roasted turkey is cooked by being baked and cured in an oven and goes through dry heating.

Smoked turkey is prepared similarly but consists of an additional smoking step. It can either be cooked via dry heating or wet heating.


What are the health benefits of turkey?

Turkey is a meat that comes loaded with nutrients like phosphorus, selenium, zinc, proteins, and vitamin B. It endorses muscle growth and maintenance, balances insulin levels in the body, and boosts one’s mental wellbeing.

How is smoked turkey prepared?

A smoked turkey is prepared by exposing an entire turkey to indirect heating and smoke. You start by seasoning the brined bird with salt and pepper and may add some veggies and herbs into the cavity of the turkey.

Which side dishes can we pair with smoked turkey?

Smoked turkey can be paired with a variety of dishes like roasted smashed potatoes, cheese green bean salad, Brussel sprouts with speck gratin, couscous salad, coleslaw, sweet potatoes with chive damper, honey macadamia stuffing, garlic bread sauce, and pork stuffing.

Bottom Line

Now that you’ve made it to the end, I hope this article was useful enough for you to trace down your ideal wine pair for smoked turkey.

If you found this article useful do share it with your loved ones.

Also, don’t forget to share with us your ideal wine pair for smoked turkey, in case we missed out on it.

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About Tammy J

Tammy is currently studying in college. While attending, she has broadened her horizons by experimenting with food from all over the world, but she has a special love for Mexican and Indian cuisine. She loves traveling with her friends, and enjoys nothing more than packing up a few backpacks and hitting the open road to explore natural beauty.