By Jim Campanini, The Wine Novice
Thanksgiving is truly an all-American holiday and, naturally, the pairing of food and wine should be all-American too.
At least that’s what I used to think. Not anymore.
We live in a melting pot of a nation, so why shouldn’t the holiday dinner table feature a melting pot of wines?
With that said, here is a list of wines I’ll be considering for Thanksgiving and the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s holidays.
Mumm Brut Prestige Napa Valley, $15.99: This sparkler is selling at a $6 discount in New Hampshire. It’s fruity with a hint of almond nuts on the long, dry finish. A great way to get the holiday started.
Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve, $18.99: This is a spicy, full-bodied French Alsatian gris (pinot grigio to Italians) featuring ripe melon traits. It’s clean and chiseled. Three Oregon versions fitting this low-acid, high-alcohol profile are Willamette Valley Pinot Gris ($15.99), King Estate Pinot Gris ($18.99) and Benton Lane Pinot Gris ($24.99).
Bruni Vermentino Plinio, $14: Here’s a white from Tuscany’s Maremma region that pushes this native varietal to new heights. A small share of Viognier and Sauvignon Blanc join the mix, the former for intense aromatics and the latter for mouth-watering acidity. It’s fresh, mineral and peachy. Great for antipasti. At Vino Italiano in Waltham.
Michele Chiarlo Cipressi Nizza, $18.99: This is 100 percent Barbera from the top Piedmont village for this Italian varietal. Irresistible cherry, strawberry and herbal notes on a dry finish. High acidity and low tannins make it a perfect food wine for all occasions. At the Wine ConneXtion.
Agricola Cottini Valpolicella Classico Superiore, $14.99: This was featured in my recent wine seminars at the Nesmith House and it was a hit. Rich, plush, smooth and dry on the finish. At the Wine ConneXtion only. For $2 more in New Hampshire, try the silky and opulent Tommasi ‘Rafael’ Valpolicella Classico Superiore ($16.99). Finally, there’s Allegrini’s Palazzo della Torre Veronese ($16.99) which is made in a slightly Amarone style (rasinated grapes) and produces dried, candied red and black fruit flavors. Great with dark turkey meat!
Elouan Pinot Noir, $19.99: Joe Wagner of Camus fame continues to hit it out of the park with his fruity, semisweet style Oregon pinots that never seem to quit on flavor. Remember, he created the blockbuster Meiomi which he sold to Constellation Brands for $300 million. If you prefer slightly retrained, more mineral version try Kim Crawford Pinot Noir from Marlborough, New Zealand ($17.99) or California’s La Crema ($18.99). If you want to open your wallet a bit, there’s the elegant Belle Glos Clark & Telephone Vineyard Pinot Noir ($49.99) to make guests go ga-ga.
The Federalist 1776 Zinfandel, $15.99: I love American Zinfandel with turkey and all the fixings, and what better time to see George Washington on the label? The wine is dark purple, and pops with jammy black fruit and a peppery finish. Others to consider are: Seghesio Zinfandel Sonoma County ($22.99) and Clines Ancient Vines Zinfandel ($15.99).
Capo Zafferano Primitivo di Manduria, $18.99: This is Italian Zinfandel from a special place in Puglia, and it will be on my Thanksgiving table. The bottle has the weight of a barbell, a good sign for the intensity that abounds inside. At 14.5 percent alcohol, this deep purple, thick-fruited and dry Zin will stick around for 5-6 years in the cellar and grow wings. Of course, it won’t last an hour at the Wine Goddess’ feast. At the Wine ConneXtion.
Terre More Ammiraglia Maremma Toscana, $20: This Frescobaldi wine is a harmonious, delicious blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Sumptuous blackberry and black-currant fruit flavors penetrate the palate. Silky and dry, it ends dry with a touch of vanilla and black licorice. At Vino Italiano in Waltham.
Kirkland Signature Series Brunello di Montalcino 2013, $23.99: Among the many things for which I will be expressing thanks on the holiday are two: the Wine Goddess, my beloved wife Mary Lee, and great wine deals like this. The WG was at Costco when she saw this 100 percent Sangiovese Brunello on sale. She bought six bottles and surprised me with the bill. I wasn’t upset all. In fact, I screamed in delight. Costco comes through with deals like this once a year, and you have to be ready. This is the real stuff. Because of its limited production, Brunello tends to be expensive. Costco, America’s largest retail seller of wine, makes its Brunello in Italy, at its own production plant, using top-of-the-line grapes. This bottling opens a bit restrained, but ramps up with deep cherry and spice as you swirl it in the glass. It finishes in classic style — dry, dusty, mellow.
Have a safe and satisfying Thanksgiving!