The menu is set. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, everything is in cooking (hopefully not burning), and as always there is this new dish that is out of the box and is expected to wow everybody in the table. Family members are coming from different states, others are driving in, but most importantly everybody is going to be here. Fancy silverware and plates are out of the cupboard and set on the table. The stage is set for yet another beautiful family gathering. But there is one element missing. The one thing that will open up our hearts and bring the euphoria needed to bear that sister-in-law that always gets on your nerves, or the cousin that you always have to invite because he is family. Wine is the key component missing. For this Thanksgiving, I will be drinking some beautiful Greek wines that are both agile and versatile to match your recipes, produced in boutique wineries with extra care to match your efforts to provide yet another successful Thansgiving family dinner. Two complex whites and three heart-warming reds that will elevate your carefully chosen recipes and bring the family closer.
Both whites come from Santorini, the sun-drenched island that produces fresh and crisp wines that absolutely match oily fish. However, both of the suggested wines have been barrel fermented to produce an astonishing complexity to be able match your turkey and cranberry sauce. From Gaia Estate, the Santorini Assyrtiko Wild Ferment 2014is a wine with a slight citrus notes on the nose along with well-combined elegant oak notes. Its crispy acidity and intense mineral flavors make up for a rich mouth fill that will cut through the turkey faster than your electric knife slices the pieces for the guests.
A more traditional Santorini wine comes from Hatzidakis winery, with the Santorini Nykteri 2012. This is a wine with aromas of ripe stone fruits, oriental spices and minerality. Its looming aftertaste will only remind you of its great structure with an excellent balance of acidity, alcohol and tannins. Ideal for the turkey and a nut-forward stuffing.
Even though I am a big fan of Xinomavro, for my ideal Thanksgiving dinner I would always go for Agiorgitiko and wines from the Peloponnese. These wines are silky, velvety and elegant. Wines that will truly set the stage for the food and compliment it but not overpower and hide its carefully selected notes. From Domaine Skouras, the Megas Oenos 2011 is a wine of a deep and intense purple color. It presents a dense, concentrated and elaborate nose with ripe fruits such as blackberries and black raspberries, spicy characteristics, smoke and notes of leather. As previously mentioned this wine is silky yet robust on the mouth, framed by delicate tannins that are not overpowering for the turkey. Flavors of ripe fruits, cloves, black pepper and a touch of herbs will encompass your meal filling your heart with warm notes.
Tucked away in north-western Peloponnese, the Parparoussis winery has been producing aristocratic wines since 1974. The Nemea Reserve 2010 will be an excellent addition to your meal, a wine that will match more elaborate recipes with mushrooms and earthy elements. This is an Agiorgitiko that places the accent on its spicy earthy elements instead of its juicy cherry fruit. A rewarding bouquet is filled with figs, cassis, tobacco and dried cherries. The palate presents brown sugar filled with raisins, olives and dried herbs. Should you choose roasted lemon potatoes as a side for your turkey, this wine is a no-brainer.
Last but not least, from Serres in northern Greece comes a show-stopper wine. Domaine Nerantzi produces an extraordinary wine of a variety that has been revived after being almost extinct since the ancient times. Koniaros 2010 is a wine an aromatic profile that includes notes of tobacco and cacao, which give place to ripen red fruits like prunes and cherry, as it evolves. In the mouth it is powerful, with strong tannins and good acidity. Its soft and long finish will only match long-lasting memories of drinking this wine. So powerful that last year I paired it with a massive turducken (chicken inside a duck, inside a turkey) and every layer of meat was just unveiling another layer of taste in the wine. If dried raisins and chestnuts are part of your menu, this is an immediate queue to choose this wine.