The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

All A-twitter for Thanksgiving

Posted on | November 24, 2009 | Written by Frank Miller | 1 Comment

The fall: it’s my time of year. After the frivolity of Halloween and the folk tradition of Dia de los Muertos, Thanksgiving always stands out as a holiday for home cooks, serious foodies, homespun eaters and wine lovers of all persuasions to join together in celebration. What could be better than a riot of flavors, a house full of friends and family, and a few days of rest? Not a lot, to my thinking.

In the past, after settling on the finer details of basting methods (overnight, halve salt = moisture retention and crispy skin) and after resolving upon my stuffing options (chorizo + apple), I’d turn to what I enjoy most: selecting the various wines to meet the Thanksgiving meal. My selections aimed to complement, to uncover contrasts, or to unfold a surprise or two.

In 2006, I chose Zinfandel as the go-to varietal because of its affinity for the meal (not to mention its crowd-friendly personality) and its heritage in American viticulture (despite it Adriatic Coast provenance). Some great Zins from that feast included Robert Biale’s Black Chicken, Hartford Russian River Valley, and Saxon Brown’s Parmalee-Hill Vineyard. While ’06 featured a complementary all-Zin line-up, other years I was intrigued by contrast. Take Thanksgiving 2008, for example, a year that was all about white varietals, aromatics and acidity. That year I chose H. Lun’s Gewurztraminer; Qupe’s Marsanne, a St. Innocent Pinot Blanc from Washington State; and the charming, deliciously, offbeat Domaine des Huards Cour-Cheverny of the Loire Valley, a wine made exclusively of the rare varietal Romaratin.

These memories of past Thanksgivings seem to blend imperceptibly into each other, almost like the flavors of the table itself, but like all good things, they never drift too far from recollection. This year, I’m all a-twitter to partake in an orphan’s gathering at my dear friend Courtney’s. While I’d typically be orchestrating the entire mise-en-place, I’ll be leaving Thanksgiving 2009 in other, capable hands. I imagine this Thanksgiving will reveal new discoveries in food, wine and friendship—all the singularly significant parts of Thanksgiving. After all, isn’t Thanksgiving’s mythology equal parts discovery, togetherness and food?

Discovery is in the air, it seems to me. The spring and its holidays have the traditional connotation of rebirth and beginning, and yet my dear friend Lettie reminds me that in the world of wine new beginnings occur in the fall. I don’t see why this can’t be true for all of life. A new beginning this fall—and therefore something to be extra thankful for—it’s an idea that seems especially valid when I have good friends surrounding me, a delicious meal to look forward to, and a magnum of Giuseppe Quintarelli’s Primofiore in tow.


One Response to “All A-twitter for Thanksgiving”

  1. Robert Valencia
    November 25th, 2009 @ 5:25 pm

    Oh the wine sounds yummy…

    I have always held the belief that Thanksgiving should be held amongst friends and people that you consider to be the gifts that Life has given you.

    While promises of a tasty bird and the above mentioned delicious wine make for a great afternoon, it is the company that we share that truly bring cause for thanks.

    I look forward to tomorrow.

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