Thanksgiving Picks

Frank Bruni’s New York Times Thanksgiving Pick 2006

“Among the reds,” wrote Eric Asimov in last year’s New York Times Thanksgiving wine recommendations, “Frank, naturally, brought the most arcane wine of the meal, a 2004 Verduno Basadone from Castello di Verduno, made from the pelaverga piccolo grape, which is obscure even in its home territory in the Piedmont region of Italy. Nonetheless, this lithe, peppery wine hit the spot…”

The tiny Verduno or Verduno Pelaverga appellation is perhaps Italy’s smallest: the wine is made from the rare Pelaverga grape exclusively in the hamlet of Verduno. Spicy and aromatic, locals believe that this excellent food-pairing wine possesses aphrodisiacal properties, hence the name Basadone or baciadonne in Italian, the “lady kisser.”

Valpolicella 2003 Capitel Sant’Eugenio

For the Valpolicella, the Galli family employs the “ripasso” method for a limited number of barrels. This method (ripasso means a “re-passing” or “second passage” in Italian) consists of fermenting some of the grapes in barrels containing the lees (dead yeast cells) and skins left over from the fermentation of Amarone (a dried-grape wine). This practice gives their Valpolicella added depth and structure — something you won’t find in commercially produced Valpolicella.

This light-bodied wine shows nice berry fruit on the nose and in the mouth and will pair well with all the Thanksgiving trimmings.

Amarone 2001 Capitel Sant’Eugenio

Wine Director Emeritus Charles Scicolone’s Thanksgiving Pick

The Galli’s Amarone is made from a “field blend”: while Corvina, Rondinella, and Molinara are the three primary grapes used for this wine, the family allows other varieties — Sangiovese and Pinot Nero among them, depending on the vintage — to grow in their vineyards. They believe that this represents the true tradition of Amarone, where the vintage and Mother Nature herself determine which grapes will be used for the wines.

This rich, traditional-style Amarone is deep and complex. With earthy notes on the nose and red fruit on the palate, the opulent mouthfeel of this wine is classic Amarone. A great pairing for roast turkey and a perfect “meditative” wine to match with ripened cheeses after the holiday meal.

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