As Thanksgiving approaches, it’s a good time to take stock of what makes you feel lucky. Chilly weather and more time spent snuggling under blankets- never far from a baking pie and warm spices can turn your insides to jam, especially when there’s someone close by.
This is a great time to guzzle rich red wines with complex and earthy notes, along with full-bodied white wines with unexpected character. Speaking of unexpected character, I’d like to take a moment to mention some people I’m thankful for when it comes to love and romance.
Château Margüi AOC Coteaux Varois Rosé (Provence, France)
A few years ago as I was primed to move back to America from Europe—to New York City specifically—I passed through Paris as a sort of farewell.
I never expected a full-blown love affair. It only lasted for 2.5 days, but it blossomed organically over glasses of pale pink rosé from Provence. We shared a bottle over the course of an afternoon. By evening over a meal prepared together, we blushed and held each other with genuine desire. No fear and no shame. As I prepared for the cold and noncommittal city of New York, I couldn’t have asked for more beautiful parting gift.
The rosé I’ve selected is from an organic winery. It’s a blend of Cinsault and Grenache, pale pink in color, as if you’d poured white wine in a glass just used for red. Rosé is at once delicate and complex, the herbaceous and salty notes reminiscent of seaside summer breezes and the heat that comes with them. It’s also a delight with sweet potatoes.
Antinori, Tormaresca “Neprica” 2009 (Puglia, Italy)
Things with Tomaso* started hot and heavy. He came from Puglia, the sun-baked boot-heel of Italy, and everything about him glowed. His dark skin, his polished onyx eyes, but most of all, his heart. Southerners are known for their hospitality, and Tomaso taught me that love and lust could indeed coincide. I was on his couch in lace when I received some of the scariest news of my life. He came home and comforted me first, and distracted me when I was ready. We’re still friends today, and he continues to impress me with his complex blend of character – a military paratrooper with a heart of gold. The bottle I selected is highly representative of Puglian wine. A blend of Primitivo, Negromaro, and Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s rich and sun-ripened fruit, hot spicy character, and lasting warmth. Drink it with something savory to bring out the fruit.
Fay Nebbiolo della Valtellina (Lombardy, Italy)
From the moment we spoke on the phone, I couldn’t wait to meet him. Andy’s* voice was tinged with sweetness and energy, and I had the feeling we would never run out of things to talk about. We texted all week long and finally met in a cozy wine bar in Carroll Gardens, where we drank two bottles of this crisp, alpine-y Nebbiolo from northern Italy. I’d discovered it early this year and was thrilled to find it on the menu. It has the brightness and optimism of a young wine destined for greatness. I left our date feeling the same way about us. Crisp with characterful cherry aromas and good acidity, it’s wonderful with stuffing or anything buttery.
Schioppettino Ronchi di Cialla and Friulano Tenuta Beltrame (Friuli, Italy)
A few Sundays ago, as I lamented my luckless pursuit of the perfect man, someone sagely remarked that the man I want is gay and the man I need is at the Giant’s game. As it turns out, he is one in the same, and one of my best friends. Affectionate, supportive, and a constant good company we share the same sensibilities of Europhilic sophistication and an affinity for much younger (or younger-looking, fresh-faced men).
We first met years ago, when he began dating a college classmate of mine. We sealed the deal nearly a decade later when the two of them met me on a trip to Venice. In crisp mid-March we guzzled glasses of Friulano, (formerly known as Tocai Friulano) an indigenous cousin to Sauvignon, aromatic and mineral rich with notes of nutmeg and pepper in a golden-straw white wine. He developed a taste for wines from the Friuli region, and would later interrupt me at work to declare his love for a red grape that began with an S and ended in ‘ino.’ It was determined to be Schippettino, another indigenous varietal with a uniquely green character, much softer than Cabernet, with complex earthy notes that normally accompany older more structured red wines. It became our new shared discovery, and incidentally it is the perfect accompaniment to Turkey.
*Names have been changed.