I know we’re still two months away from Thanksgiving, but if the pumpkin spice public relations machine can already dominate the landscape with their never-ending array of products, I figured I could weigh in early on some Thanksgiving wine options.
I’m going to discuss two sets of wines, both, in my opinion, would be killer with your turkey and trimmings. Beyond that, these wines are superbly flexible, perfect for everything from a tailgate party to pasta, risotto or seafood, so great for the dinner table right now.
First, have you ever heard of the grape variety Furmint? It’s Hungarian, widely grown in the Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region. There, it’s used to produce dry white wines as well as being the principal grape in the much better known Tokaji dessert wines. I’ve had, and enjoyed, a number of these sweet wines, which, along with Sauternes from the Bordeaux region of France, might just be your best option to pair with a pumpkin pie.
But, it’s the dry Furmint wines that really blew me away. Combining the aromatics of a chenin blanc, the structure of a chardonnay, and the bracing acidity of a riesling, the three dry Furmint wines I tasted recently were truly impressive. I drank one each from the producers Basilicus, Haarslevelu, and Beres as well as a sweet Tokaji from Oreg Kiraly, and they were all worthy of another purchase, a spot in my wine cellar and a place on my dinner table.
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Granted, it’s not easy to pronounce the names of the producers, and you sure won’t find these wines on the shelves of your local supermarket, but if you enjoy a wine adventure every now and then, dry Furmints are definitely worth the effort. And should you choose to go this route, as I very well may, I believe a dry Furmint would be wonderful for your Thanksgiving bird, be it smoked, deep-fried or roasted in the oven! You can learn more, as I have, by visiting furmintusa.com/.
My wine adventures continue as I move from Hungary to central Italy and Umbria, home to the Grechetto and Trebbiano grape varieties. On their own, neither grape is particularly scintillating, save for a single vineyard high-end Trebbiano I had earlier this summer that absolutely rocked! Together, however, in bottlings under the Montefalco and Spoleto DOCs, the natural richness of the Grechetto combined with the fruit and white flowers of the Trebbiano is a perfect example of the sum being greater than the individual parts. Hunt down a bottle of the Broccatelli Galli Montefalco Bianco and you’ll see what I mean.
This is not to say that there aren’t some very good 100-percent Grechetto wines. There are. Most can be found under the Grechetto DOC wine producing appellation. A Terri de la Custodia Grechetto DOC is a good example. Fresh and vibrant, this would be a great aperitif while the Broccatelli could handle hardier fare, maybe even something with a pumpkin spice theme to it. And since the pumpkin spice options seemingly have no limit, you might as well have some wine options to go with them.
I’ll be back later with more Thanksgiving wine thoughts as we get closer to the big day. Meantime, now you have something vinous to think about as you sip that pumpkin spice latte.
Dave Eckert is a partner with Flavor Trade, a Kansas City-based gourmet food incubator and co-packer. Before that, Eckert was the producer and host of “Culinary Travels With Dave Eckert,” which aired on PBS and AWE for 12 seasons.