Remove giblets and neck from turkey, and rinse turkey with cold water. Drain cavity well; pat dry. Tie ends of legs together with kitchen string; tuck wingtips under. Place, breast side up, on a lightly greased roasting rack in a large roasting pan. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400°. Stir together thyme, next 2 ingredients, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper; rub mixture into cavity of turkey. Rub butter over turkey. Sprinkle remaining salt and pepper over outside of turkey; rub into skin. Arrange onions and next 3 ingredients around base of turkey in roasting pan; add wine and 1 cup water to pan.
Place turkey in oven; reduce oven temperature to 325°. Bake at 325° for 3 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of thigh registers 160°.
Remove turkey from oven; increase heat to 425°. Baste turkey with pan juices, and let stand 15 minutes; return to oven. Bake at 425° for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and thermometer registers 165°.
Let turkey stand in pan 30 minutes; transfer to a serving platter. Reserve pan drippings for Easy Turkey Gravy, if desired.
*Frozen whole turkey, thawed, may be substituted.
Recipe brought to the table by chef Frank Stitt of Highlands Bar and Grill in Birmingham, Alabama.