I am a self-confessed wino. I know a thing or two about wine and have mostly been sticking to budget French and Italian wines, with a penchant for reds.
But I dabble. I am not one who is an expert for food and wine paring. Well, I might know a few basics, but generally I stick to a pretty basic formula – If I can afford it and I like it – I drink it. Repeat.
However, today I have enlisted the help of someone who does know all about wine.
He makes it his business to know.
Don’t forget to take good notes!
In preparation for making your holiday wine selections, I suggest the following spiritual prelude: let’s imagine you as wine.
As wine, you’ve got options, of course. Pedigree. Great structure. Complexity of aroma. But to be a wine appreciated, it’s not necessary to imagine all that. Better you should know how to roll up your sleeves and do good work at table. The table is the great equalizer among wines: be great there, or be a lie, an imitation.
Maybe you’re turned out in an elegant, black 750ml bottle; or perhaps headlining in a more formal 1.5 litre magnum, center stage, the only wine on the table. And they’ll be clutching their stomachs with hunger, waiting to eat and drink. The pressure is on. Hopefully, you won’t be counting on just your pedigree to carry you through.
Want to know what you’re up against? Take my family, Italian-Americans – at Thanksgiving, they’ll hit you with everything they’ve got – it’ll be escarole soup, meatballs, pork, and two kinds of handmade pasta all before the turkey and trimmings ever hit the table. You can’t take just one position, you’ve got to work it all.
Express yourself. You’re a star. But play it like a supporting role: make the food taste good. You’ll hear the “oohs” and “ahhhs”. “Bravo”, they’ll say. They’ll lift you up, want to hold you, feel the bottle, get a better look at your label.
You’ll be back next year 😉
OK: End of spiritual prelude.
No pretending about Italy’s great food wines: a few recommendations that make great sense for most Thanksgiving tables, wines whose incredibly food-friendly attitudes at table make them super choices for the entire meal:
This classic from Tuscany, based on the Sangiovese varietal, pairs well with intensely flavored dishes, entrees with cheese and is particularly good with grilled or roasted meats, poultry, and game.
Recommended Producers Include: Castellare, Felsina, Fontodi
Based primarily on the grape called Corvina, this wine from Italy’s Veneto region shows a real ability to work equally well with milder pasta dishes as well as roasted poultry.
Recommended Producers Include: Brigaldara, Le Salette, Zenato
One of Piedmont’s important wines, Dolcetto is made from the grape of the same name and does especially well with pasta dishes containing meat and is excellent with rich poultry dishes.
Recommended Producers Include: Abbona, Icardi, San Fereolo
ABOUT JOEL MACK
Joel Mack writes about Italian wine at Vintrospective -> An Italian Wine Blog, a site that encourages an understanding of Italian wine as a part of culture, exploring wine’s connection to the people, land and traditions which create it. As a free lance writer, he also contributes content to other Internet and print interests. Joel conducts specialized seminar tastings featuring the wines of Italy for private and corporate clients and teaches a college level Discover Italy series of wine classes. He has a worked for a celebrated importer / distributor of Italian wines and continues to study the wines of Italy.