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Vice President Athenee Importers

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tips on choosing the right wines for your Thanksgiving table

I'm not sure if it's just me but it feels like Thanksgiving quickly crept up on me and only now I've realized that its this week!

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays - you can venture away from certain traditional dishes and play with the stuffing & side dish recipes.  This year our group will be a small one (10 people) so I'm not going crazy with numerous side dishes - I'm going to let the turkey be the centerpiece.  However, the wine pairings can be tricky for some. 

For me, the Thanksgiving meal is about richer foods and to counterbalance that, you need wines with acidity.  Luckily, Greek grape varietals pair well with food and have vibrant acidity.  Below are a few of my recommendations that will most likely be on my table as well:

While Assertion based wines from Santorini are currently all the rage, their sell through rate makes what's currently available in the market some of highest acidity-leveled wines out there.  For me, they are a bit too aggressive for Thanksgiving.  I prefer wines with a bit more roundness to them.  This year I will be looking towards Gentilini Robola or Mercouri Kallisto.  Robola as a grape variety has a bit more weight to it in addition to lively acidity that will stand up to the turkey and the side dishes.

For me, Agiorgitiko-based wines are the perfect match for cranberry sauce.  The red fruit notes and soft tannins work exceptionally well.  Rose wines are probably one of the best matches for the Thanksgiving meal overall.  One of my tried and true options that is always a big hit is GAIA Wines 14-18h rose made from 100% Agiorgitiko.

With red wines, you need to be careful.  Huge oak bombs with high alcohol will not work with Thanksgiving - they will simply overpower the meal.  For red wines, look for lighter styles that can include unoaked reds.  I recommend Karavitakis Little Prince Red (100% unoaked Kotsifali & Mandilari), Thymiopoulos Young Vines Xinomavro (100% stainless steel Xinomavro), Vassiliou Nemea and Ktima Pavlidis Thema Red.

Some years I never make it this far.  However, for those that saved room for desert, great options include Samos Nectar and Argyros Vin Santo 12 year (this is if you want to get a bit crazy).  Another option is to make a cocktail with Stoupakis Homericon Mastiha.  Mastiha is known for its digestive properties.  Mastiha is great in gin-based cocktails that have cucumber and mint in them.

So there you have it! I hope that you are able to try some of these recommendations at your table this week.  If so, drop a line and let me know how they were.

From the Athenee family to yours, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and a joyous holiday season.