Thanksgiving and wine go together as the occasion to open up and try new or familiar labels with friends and family.
But for those who only celebrate Thanksgiving occasionally with American friends, what is Thanksgiving really about?
In brief, the Thanksgiving weekend is coming up next week in the US and in many locations in Italy thanks to American ex-pats. Celebrating the blessings of the yearly harvest has been an occurrence in many countries and cultures, also in Sweden historically even if we today do not have any official secular holiday to celebrate Thanksgiving. Not like in the US where Thanksgiving is a celebration and holiday that dates to 1863 and state legislation by the Founding Fathers. Since 1941 it has been celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November most often involving attending church, having a family meal, and watching American football.
3 Wine Tips for Your Thanksgiving Celebration
I am not going to make suggestions with the perfect pairings in mind, for me, it is more about choosing wines that you like, trying new wines that can trigger a discussion, and above all enjoying together. Just as Eric Asimov says “Most important, though, and often lost in the discussion of which bottles to choose and how to serve them, is wine’s symbolic, ritualistic role in bringing people together and reaffirming social bonds” (see Picking the Thanksgiving Wine Is the Easy Part in New York Times)
I have chosen three wines that should be available in some states in the US and two bonus tips for my newsletter subscribers. Sign up for my newsletter to get the two bonus tips.
Spumante Brut Rosé Metodo Classico from Scacciadiavoli winery
Scacciadiavoli winery is located close to Montefalco in Umbria and was built by Ugo Boncompagni Ludovisi in 1884. Boncompagni Ludovisi inherited several titles, among the one as Prince of the Principality of Piombino. At the turn of the century (19th to 20th century), 14-year-old Amilcare Pambuffetti worked as a day laborer at the Boncompagni Ludovisi estate, which already from the beginning was into viticulture and wine production. He would then go abroad and into sales of different products of Alaska seafood, where the family made their fortune. In 1954, he then acquired the Scacciadiavoli estate where he once had worked. The Pambuffetti family has continued the winemaking tradition and made the estate into one of the core Sagrantino producers in Montefalco.
Then there is the story of the name “Scacciadiavoli” which has to do with a local exorcist…but that story is for another article. You see there are a lot of stories to talk about while sipping on their sparkling Sagrantino rosé wine at Thanksgiving.
The Sagrantino sparkling wine made with the Champenoise method rests on the lees for 24 months. It is really a sparkling wine that invites conviviality, i.e. to be enjoyed together with friends and family while snacking on starters, pasta with seafood sauces, or even second courses. It has lovely floral and fruity notes, such as citrus fruit, grapefruit, and red apples. (You can find it in some states in the US such as Michigan, see here.)
Pian di Stio IGP from San Salvatore 1988 winery
San Salvatore 1988 is a winery close to Paestum in Campania that is owned by the local entrepreneur Giuseppe Pagano. Paestum is situated in the Cilento area in Campania, which is south of the Amalfi Coast and south of Salerno. It is a calmer place where you can really get to know the locals and feel part of the local culture and traditions. San Salvatore 1988 has its estate and vineyards within the National Park of Cilento where the biodiversity is rich, nature governs, and sustainability is in focus.
Did you know that it was in Cilento that Ancel Keys discovered the benefits of a Mediterranean diet?
San Salvatore 1988 is not only about wine, they also breed buffaloes and produce mozzarella di buffalo cheese that they sell in their shop in Paestum. A buffalo is also the logo of San Salvatore 1988.
Their Pian di Stio is a wine that is made with selected organic Fiano grapes from their Stio vineyard, which sits at 650 meters altitude in between forests and mountains in the Cilento National Park and Vallo di Diano. The cool climate and the calcareous soil mixed with clay gives the wine its characteristic freshness and minerality. Furthermore, it has inviting notes of white flowers and fruit, as well as the local Mediterranean maquis. I have tasted several vintages of this Fiano wine and I always like it a lot. Right now, 2021 is sold.
Dream yourselves away to Campania or talk about travel memories or travel plans over a glass of Pian di Stio at Thanksgiving.
GrandGosier, Valle d’Aosta Pinot Noir DOP from Cantina di Cuneaz
This is a wine I have tasted a couple of times, most recently the 2019 vintage earlier this week together with friends. It is produced by a small family winery – La Cantina di Cuneaz – in Gressan in Valle d’Aosta. Up until 2009 they only made wine for their own consumption and today they produce a few thousand bottles, probably less than 10 000. I do not know that much about this winery because I have never visited them or met them at any wine-tasting event. However, their GrandGosier Pinot Noir blows me away every time I drink it for its freshness, verticality, and smooth elegance. It has floral as well as fruity notes, a touch of forest floor and herbs, and much more.
The wines can be considered natural, or low-intervention which I prefer as a term because they are organic in the vineyard, apply only wild fermentation with indigenous yeast and do no fining or filtration.
This is a Pinot Noir wine that pairs well with the Thanksgiving turkey and is a ‘people pleaser’ in the sense that it is a wine that appeals to almost every taste without being trivial.
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Enjoy your Thanksgiving Dinner!