As Thanksgiving Day approaches, our thoughts turn to our blessings. It is time for families to dine together and share wonderful food and, with that food, wonderful wine.
By Lou Campoli
Another year has just about flown by, but we can’t be going so fast that we don’t stop and take stock of what’s going on around us. As Thanksgiving Day approaches, our thoughts turn to our blessings. It is time for families to dine together and share wonderful food and, with that food, wonderful wine.
This is a great time to be a wine consumer. There is a wide variety of wine, in both style and price to satisfy every taste; and every meal can be an opportunity for a happy wine pairing.
The Thanksgiving feast has such a varied assortment of flavors and textures that it is difficult to pair wines that will be complementary to the entire meal. For red wines, pinot noir, syrah/shiraz, and zinfandel are always good choices. For whites, you can’t go wrong with un-oaked chardonnay or viognier.
This year we decided to stretch the traditional comfort — and geographic — zone and introduce you to grapes and wines with which you may not be familiar, but that will also graciously complement your Thanksgiving dinner. The wines are Barbera, a red, and Arneis, a white, both eponymously named for their respective grapes. While there are many producers of these types of wines, we are especially fond of the Barbera and Arneis of a single producer, Damilano, which is located in the Barolo area of the Piedmont region in northwest Italy.
These wines have been made at that cantina since the late 19th century. Damilano makes several wines, the most famous being a long-lived, full-bodied Barolo. But this Barolo is too massive and tannic a wine for the traditional Thanksgiving repast. Instead, we recommend their Barbera and Arneis wines, which more closely reflect the true characteristics of their individual grape varieties.
Damilano Barbera d’Asti: Damilano first offered this wine in 2008. It is a dry, fruity wine that is especially well balanced. It exhibits flavors of red currants and black cherries, with hints of violets and vanilla on the lingering finish. Its high acidity allows it to pair well with a wide assortment of foods, especially those that are tomato-based; however, in addition to roasted turkey, you may enjoy this Barbera d’Asti with antipasti, all kinds of pasta dishes, roasted red meats and game, stews, and aged cheeses.
Damilano Arneis: Arneis is an ancient white grape and is translated as “little rascal” in the local Piemontese dialect; this refers to how difficult the grape is to grow. This Arneis is dry and crisp, with fresh flavors of flowers and almonds. It has a rather delicate, fragrant finish. It matches very well with antipasti, white-sauced pasta dishes, white meats, poultry, seafood, and shellfish, especially clams.
These Damilano wines can be found in the $16-19 range. Try them and we think you will be pleasantly surprised at how food-friendly they are, not only for Thanksgiving, but for special occasions throughout the year.
Buon appetito and the happiest of Thanksgivings.