Sunday, November 24, 2019

Italian Wine Thanksgiving Suggestions

I can’t believe it is that time of year already.  How fast the holidays have come upon us.   With Thanksgiving fast approaching which wine to pair with your Thanksgiving meal is probably top of your list along with what dishes to prepare or will be served.  Other than the Thanksgiving feast wine is always a key component to the meal.  There are so many options when it comes to wines to pair with a Thanksgiving meal because there is so much variety amongst the dishes on every Thanksgiving table.  Our Italian Food, Wine & Travel group is featuring some suggested Italian wines to pair for your Thanksgiving meal. 

Jen of Vino Travels 
2016 Vino Lauria Scoglitti FrappatoI’ve recommended all sorts of wines over the years for pairings at Thanksgiving.  With my recent trip to Sicily last month I have Sicilian wines on the brain.  I recently tried a new winery to me, Vino Lauria, from Alcamo Sicily about 30 miles west of Palermo.  Vito Lauria decided to re-establish his grandfather’s winery started in 1958, but closed in 1993 due to hardships.  After going to enology school in Friuli and working under a number of wineries upon his graduation he released his first vintage in 2010.  Vino Lauria produces certified organic wines that are also vegan friendly.  I’m suggesting the 2016 Vino Lauria Scoglitti Frappato Terre Siciliane IGT made of 100% frappato grapes grown on sandy soils close to the beaches of Scoglitti near Ragusa.  Pale red in the glass.  Aromas of juicy berries with slight herbal notes.  Vibrant acidity allowing it to pair with a number of dishes.   Dominated by red fruits with a hint of orange and white pepper.    ABV 13% SRP $22 

Le Colture Prosecco Superiore di CartizzeI have to be honest – Our holiday tradition is adventure. Or, better yet, our traditions are non-traditional. Case in point: I never serve turkey for Thanksgiving. Well, I don't serve turkey ever. But I definitely don't roast one on Thanksgiving. Instead, I've served everything from beef brisket to pheasant. So, when Jen of Vino Travels asked the #ItalianFWT bloggers for any Italian wine pairing recommendations for the Thanksgiving table, I looked to my 2019 menu which was inspired by Crystal King’s The Chef’s Secret. And, really, I tend to kick off any celebratory feast with Italian bubbles. But this year the Italian wine group did a deep dive into Prosecco Superiore where I learned that Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze DOCG is considered, by some, as the 'grand cru' of the Prosecco hierarchy. So, I will be kicking off my Renaissance Italy Thanksgiving menu with bottles of Le Colture Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze, suggested retail around $30. This wine is soft with nuances of summer stone fruit and subtle citrus. There are also hints of jasmine or honeysuckle. It will pair nicely with my antipasti of deviled eggs stuffed with raisins, pepper, cinnamon, orange juice, and butter; slices of piquant Parmigiano Reggiano; and briny olives, especially our favorite – Castelvetrano, a vibrant yet buttery green Sicilian olive. And, if the diners are inclined, the wine will also carry nicely to the next course of a silky leek and cauliflower soup. Cin cin!
Linda of My Full Wine Glass 
2017 Malibran Credamora Col Fondo Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG2017 Malibran Credamora Col Fondo Valdobbiadene Prosecco DOCG (frizzante) Prosecco DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controlla e Garantita) is produced exclusively by 15 municipalities in the hills of Conegliano Valdobbiadene (Veneto, Italy). Steep slopes in this region demand hand harvesting, and winemaking is scrupulously controlled. That means higher quality wine at just a fraction of cost higher than Prosecco DOC.This gently effervescent 2017 Malibran Credamora was created col fondo (“with its bottom,” literally, or on its yeasty sediment), rather than in a tank. Citrus and apple aromas with a hint of sourdough bread dominate the nose. On the palate, I'm reminded of lemon meringue pie, even though the wine is “extra brut” (no residual sugar). This unusual col fondo is not filtered or disgorged, and with native yeasts and no added sulfur, it's as close to a natural Prosecco as you’re likely to find. The creamy mouthfeel and yeasty/bready notes will pair beautifully with your Thanksgiving bird and traditional sides — bread or corn stuffing, mashed potatoes, and creamed corn or corn pudding. Suggest pouring this wine gently into a carafe before serving to remove natural deposits. 

Cindy of Grape Experiences 
Marco Felluga Collio Bianco Molamatta 2015Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year, in part because its focus is on being grateful for so many blessings such as family, friends, food… and wine! Earlier this year, while in Collio, located in the region of Friuli-Venezia-Guilia in northeast Italy, I discovered beautiful white wines that exude minerality and an uncanny ability to age. I also found a beautiful wine that’s perfect with a variety of traditional Thanksgiving dishes… as well as Nonna’s Italian specialties.  

Marco Felluga Collio Bianco Molamatta 2015 ($26) is considered one of the most important wines in the Marco Felluga portfolio as it “represents the epitome of wines produced in the Collio territory.” The name “Molamatta” refers to the grape vineyard’s geographic location in the village of Farra d’Isonzo at 80 meters above sea level. A blend of Pinot Bianco, Tocai Friulano and Ribolla Gialla, I discovered an intense bouquet of juicy oranges, lemon zest, and fresh squeezed limes. On the palate, notes of ripe citrus, lemons, sage, thyme and vanilla led to a fresh and lengthy finish. A lovely pairing was an elegant, flavorful dish I tasted at dinner one night while in the region, filetto di suino leggermente affumicato con chutney di mele, riduzione di vino cotto e chips di tapioca, a pork filet with chutney and so much more. 

Kevin of Snarky Wine 
Thanksgiving wine pairings Durello Lessini
Whether in Canada or in the USA, Thanksgiving usually means food. Lots of food. The flavours can be as diverse as the people cooking, from spicy to bland, with plenty of sauces or without anything at all. It would be a Herculean task to pick a single wine that could cover all the bases and every contingency. And yet… there is a category of wine that can do just that: bubbles! Chosen well, a young sparkling wine has the freshness to cut through fatty foods, with good fruit and salty minerality to pair with almost anything. Something with a low dosage will leave the palate refreshed and ready for the next course, and let’s not forget that a sparkler is the wine of choice for festive toasts. Italy has a bewildering number of sparklers, so I’m going to recommend a relative newcomer: Durello Lessini. This is a relatively new DOC for sparkling wines found on the volcanic soils near Vicenza in the Veneto, not far from the heartland of al things Prosecco. In the case of Durello Lessini, the grape is a native to the region called Durella – and it seems virtually designed for sparkling wines: high acidity when fully ripe, and it is a late-ripener in the region, allowing it to develop delightful complexity. The grapes take to oak fermentation, but don’t need it – and the wines can be spectacular whether made in the “traditional” way (metodo classico) or with the tank method (charmat). Fine, fruity and fun, this is a wine for all occasions – and what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving than with something as good for the initial toast as it is for the rest of the meal! My recommendation? Anything from Dal Maso! 

Cleto Chiarli Brut de Noir Rosé NVAdd Italian Bubbles to Your Thanksgiving Table with a Bottle of Lambrusco.  Dismiss the stereotype that comes to mind when you hear the word Lambrusco: I’m talking about high-quality fizz that comes in every hue, from pale pink to deep purple, and can fall anywhere on the sweetness spectrum. As such, these sparkling wines from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy work perfectly with a multi-course feast like Thanksgiving. My recommendation is Cleto Chiarli Brut de Noir Rosé NV (don’t ask me why they chose to use French terminology.) A blend of Lambrusco Grasparossa and Pinot Noir, this wine is dry on the palate, with bright cherry and raspberry flavors and enough acidity to cut through richer dishes. It’s the perfect partner with everything from hors d’oeuvres to turkey with all the trimmings and would be a lovely treat for the hosts after the guests have gone. And, at a retail price between $15-$20, it won’t bust your holiday budget. But don’t just take my word for it: Wine Enthusiast gave this sparkler a 90 point rating. 

Susannah of Avvinare 
Selva Capuzza Groppello Classico San BiagioWhile it's hard to choose one wine for Thanksgiving, I will concentrate on the main dishes and for that  my pairing for Thanksgiving is with Garda Classico Groppello DOC made from Groppello. The producer I am recommending is Selva Capuzza and the wine is Groppello Classico San Biagio. It is made with 100% Groppello grapes which are indigenous to this part of Italy on Lake Garda. The grapes were hand picked and it ages in stainless steel. The first time I tasted Groppello was Luca Formentini, the owner of Selva Capuzza at his restaurant. Blind it was a very close match to Gamay with small red berry fruits, nice acidity, and light, fine tannins. 

The glacial soils that surround Lake Garda produce wines with pronounced minerality and salinity that I favor in wine and that make them perfect for food.  I think it will be a great match with Thanksgiving's wide array of flavors, with enough structure to match Turkey with stuffing and gravy and not too much alcohol, a nice mid-weight wine of 12.5%. The kind that leads easily from one glass to another but won't overwhelm you or your palate. I also think it will be lovely with some of the side dishes that grace our holiday table, sweet potatoes with pecans and vegetables with almonds. Often we also have a ham and it would be a good foil for this dish with its acidity cutting through the savory flavors. We don't see as much Groppello here as I would like but I am hopeful for the future and grateful to know Luca and have been introduced to the wine. Luca's family is on their 102nd vintage so they know something about the area and making wine. They have been making this particular wine since 2009. 

David of Cooking Chat 

Terzini Cerasuolo d'Abruzzo Thanksgiving winesI love having a bottle of food friendly Cerasualo d’Abruzzo at my fingertips. I figure this rosé of Montepulciano has enough heft to go with turkey, and stuffing, plus brightness to go nicely with all the sides. This Cerasualo from Terzini will be on our Thanksgiving table!

Lisa of The Wine Chef 
2003 Ambra Vin Santo di CarmignanoThis Thanksgiving, I’m thinking ahead to the dessert. After gorging on turkey and all the trimmings, people may say that they’re too full for sweets, but somehow, they always get eaten. Afterall, who can resist the scent of home-baked goods? 

The same goes for sweet wine. People may say they don’t want any, but one sip usually leads to the next and the next. One of my favorite Italian dessert wines is Vin Santo and I've had a bottle of 2003 Ambra Vin Santo di Carmignano in my wine closet for many years and now it's time to break it out. 

This dessert wine comes from the Carmignano area of Tuscany, about ten miles northwest of Florence, and is made from mostly Trebbiano grapes, blended with 10% San Colombano. I love the flavors of hazelnut, honey, dried fig and apricot that are found in a good Vin Santo.  
Sweet, but not cloying, Ambra's Vin Santo has a zingy acidity that makes it a perfect match with rich, fall desserts: apple crisp, pear tart, pumpkin and pecan pies, cheesecake, and chocolate desserts.  
And if anyone’s serious about foregoing dessert, I hope they’ll at least treat themselves to a glass of this special Italian dessert wine. 

Katarina of Grapevine Adventures 
Insé 2012 Pas Dosé Franciacorta DOCGHarvest feasts are and have been common way back in time in many countries all over the world, but it is mainly in the US and Canada that Thanksgiving is an important holiday. 

In Europe, Martinmas was, for example, an important celebration of the fall harvest in older rural times. It was also the time of year when the ‘work year’ came to an end and farmhands and laborers would seek new positions. 

At Martinmas, you eat goose and in Sweden, the ‘delicacy’ and the typical dish is still the black (goose-giblet) soup. 

Let’s go back to Thanksgiving as you celebrate it in the US in just a couple of days. I wanted to suggest a festive wine that goes well as an aperitif as well as with many of the Thanksgiving dishes, namely a Franciacorta wine. 

I have chosen to talk about Insé 2012 Pas Dosé Franciacorta DOCG from Corteaura winery. This is a small winery in Franciacorta that was founded as recently as in 2009 by Federico Fossati and his family who comes from Veneto originally. Federico had dreamed of owning a winery and found the right place in Adro where he bought the land and has turned an old farmhouse into a winery. 
The vision is to make wines without any hurry, but rather have patience and wait for the right moment to release the wines to the market. Together with their oenologist, Pierangelo Bonomi, they are following this principle as far as possible having all their sparkling wines undergo long second fermentation phases on the lees (at least 36 months). 

Insé 2012 Pas Dosé Franciacorta DOCG is a wine all in its own as the name ‘in ’ refers to, i.e. it is enough in itself without any added liqueur. It is a 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir that has matured on the lees for 54 months, and the 2012 even longer. It is a beautifully structured and elegant Franciacorta with a herby element and notes of honey, fruit such as pineapple, and the typically toasted touch. 

Would you be able to find a Corteaura Franciacorta wine where you live, it is an absolute joy to sip on. 

Lynn of Savor the Harvest 
Tiefenbrunner Pinot Bianco
Alpine Pinot Bianco doesn’t get much more food friendly!
I’m an explorer at heart and that’s how I approach the Thanksgiving meal. I can’t remember the last time I served turkey. That exploration continues with the wine- what to pair with your meal that everyone will like? A common yet very different grape from Italy’s Alto Adige region is Pinot Bianco aka Weissburgunder. This area in the northern Alps is refreshing and lively just like Tiefenbrunner’s classic Pinot Bianco. With scents of apple, citrus and tropical notes, its crisp and mineral-driven but with a creamy texture. They age it on lees giving a richer mouth feel and greater depth of flavor. Sipping it before the meal with nibbles, yep! But it will and shine with most all Thanksgiving dishes including potatoes of any type, vegetables, white meats, and home-made cranberry sauce. That is one Thanksgiving dish always on my table!

Happy Thanksgiving to all and enjoy this time with your familiy and friends!