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Global Wines For A Local Thanksgiving

There’s no getting around the biggest eating holiday of the year without a discussion of what to drink with the bird and all the trimmings. Many will gravitate toward domestic wines on this most American of holidays (Fourth of July excluded), but for those wanting to bring a global flare to the table, here are a few to consider:

ITALY

Duca di Salaparuta Frappato “1824 Calanica” 2020, Sicilia DOC. Dry with tart sour-cherry and cranberry flavors and black and blueberry notes. Great pizza wine, but also a winner with turkey or roasted salmon for the pescatarians at the table. Versatile and reliable producer.

From Zenato, the sister Rosso Veronsese IGT 2018 and 2019 vintages are reliable performers in the medium-bodied red-berry category. If you can’t get to them all, the reds are primo with pizza. The deeper older sibling to this trio is the Valpolicella DOC Superiore, Peschiere del Garda (2019), a plush raisin and figgy wine that could carry over after dinner with cheese and buts.

Castello Colle Massari “Melacce” 2020, Montecucco DOC. From an under-the-radar quality region west of the more famous Montalcino, this organic Vermentino is a rich smack of Meyer lemon followed by baked apple. Medium bodied with a waxy mouthfeel similar to Chenin Blanc, it’s a fully satisfying wine that will partner well with turkey.

Tormaresca Calafuria 2021 Salento IGT. Yes, you can drink rose at Thanksgiving! This has a summery label that makes a better presentation poolside (but, hey, it’s summer somewhere, right?). Fresh early-summer berries in a medium-weighted wine will be a fresh and crisp accompaniment to all those gooey sides. Ditto the Scaia Rosato Veneto IGT (2021) from Famiglia Castagnedi: a clean, fresh pink sipper that serves deftly as an aperitif or on the table. Completing a trio of holiday roses, is Tenuta Sallier de la Tour “Madamarose” Syrah 2021, Sicilia DOC. Light cranberry colored and showing some of that fruit on the palate along with some tangerine and blood orange. A tart fruit pop that will play well with cranberry sauce and earthy vegetables that have a tinge of sweetener.

Costa Arente Valpolicella DOC Valpantena Superiore 2020. easy-drinking and pure pleasure in this blend of 50% Corvina, 10% Rondinella, 30% Corvinone. Clean and sleek, tart red fruit with raspberry and strawberry dominating. Granular-like chocolate on the finish.

FRANCE

Plaimont “Nature Secrete” 2018, Saint Mont AOC. This is a surprisingly lithe and easy-going wine, given its 70% contribution by Tannat—not exactly an easy-going grape. But assisted by 15% each of Pinenc and Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine from Southwest France near the Pyrenees region, is a crowd pleaser.

Domaine de Vernus “Regnie” 2019 Cru du Beaujolais. Forget what you think you know about Beaujolais: this Burgundian-style (i.e. no carbonic maceration) sample form a relatively new winery is earthy and structured with ripe (but not mushy) raspberries and spice from judicious use of oak. The consultant winemaker Guillaume Rouget is the son of Emmanuel Rouget, who, in turn was an apprentice of Henri Jayer.

Domaine du Pavillon de Chavannes 201, Cote de Brouilly AOC. From one of Beaujolais’s smallest appellations and from select parcels, this aromatic (violets and peonies) cuvee is a juicy mix of cherries and wild-tasting small berries. Generous on the palate but deftly avoiding the jammy spectrum, this is a winner at any point during and after dinner—even with leftovers.

PORTUGAL

Symington Family Estate, Quinta da Fonte Souto 2020, Portalegre, Alentejo. A Southern venture from the esteemed Port producer, this is a concentrated medium-bodied white wine in a slightly oxidized style showing rich yellow apple, hazelnut, from mature, low-yielding vines at 1,600 feet in altitude.

Vale do Bomfim, 2021 Douro DOC. A white blend from the Dow producing arm of the Symington Family powerhouse. Driven by Malvasia Fina (45%) with contributions from Rabigato (25%) and 10% each of Viosinho and Arinto, this is a true wine of the Douro with lots of personality. With a subtle lime snap, some green hedge and a zesty tropical inflection, this is an excellent choice for those who don’t love Sauvignon Blanc.

Garrafeira Dom Julio Conventual Reserva 2018, Portalegre Branco, Alentejo DOC. A zippy and crisp high-elevation medium-bodied white wine from Portugal, this shows a nice waxiness accented by streaks of citrus—lime and tangerine.

Adega Cooperative de Redondo, Porta da Ravessa “Special Edition” Blanco 2020, Alentejo. A serviceable white blend of Portuguese varieties from an established wine coop in the south. This is a good one for those hard-to-pair green vegetables (Brussel sprouts, I’m talking to you!) Green fruited with an herbal tinges and lemony finish, this is another good SauvBlanc substitute if that wine isn’t your jam.

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