5 Weird Italian Wines for Thanksgiving

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I have written of my love of Italian wines. I love that they have weird and wacky varietals, wines that you would never hear of unless you really dug deep. I love that the Italians continue to cultivate over 3,000 varieties of grapes and continue to bring back more that were almost extinct. I love that the Italians mix it up. They make sparkling, sweet and still wines out of tons of different varietals with no rhyme or reason. In fact, sometimes if a still wine doesn’t quite work out, they just make it sparkle or turn it sweet. The Italians rule!

We drink Italian wine frequently at our house. Italian wines offer great value—we get a-lot of good wine for under $10, great wine under $20 and truly amazing wines under $50. That money wouldn’t buy you much in other regions of the world. Honestly, Thanksgiving would not be the same without the Italians and I have come up with a list of 5 weird Italian wines to serve this Thanksgiving.

  1. Favorita: A recent favorite. We had a sparkling version of the Favorita from Piedmont, Italy. It was dry white wine with a crisp acidity, effervescent bubbles and a straight forward lemon and green apple flavor. This wine would go great with turkey, stuffing, green beans and corn. And, it retails for $10 and under.
  2. Erbaluce: Another native white varietal from Piedmont, Italy. This grape is grown on limited acreage and made by a small number of producers. It’s an easy drinking wine that has nice notes of lemon, pear and melon. Will go great with Thanksgiving appetizers and side dishes, as well as the Turkey.
  3. Passerina: From the Marche region in Italy, this wine is a gem. The Passarina grape makes straight forward, crisp white wines that aromas and flavors of lemon, pear, quince and honeysuckle. It would make an excellent partner for seafood appetizers, turkey and the trimmings.
  4. Frappato: This is one of the most interesting wines that I know and it’s stock is skyrocketing. Frappato is a grape that is indigenous to Sicily. It’s a delicate red wine, pale in appearance with flavors and aromas of strawberry, raspberries and roses. Great with turkey.
  5. Brachetto: My current favorite dessert wine. Brachetto is a close cousin to the Muscat (or Moscato grape) that hit totally different gene pools as the Brachetto is a red grape that produces light red, almost dark pink wines. While there are some still, dry wines produced from the Brachetto grape (I have one that I haven’t tried yet), the vast majority of brachettos are sparkling, sweet wines. These wines strike just the right balance – providing sweetness but not being overly sweet with aromas and flavors of grapes, strawberries, raspberries and roses. It will pair nicely with pumpkin pie and beautifully with a cranberry dessert.

These wines are an interesting take on Thanksgiving. We understand that these might not be the easiest wines to find. We would recommend trying the Wine House and Biondivino (both ship to the states that allow it). Even if you miss these gems for Thanksgiving, give them a try after.

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