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Without a doubt, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. Growing up in a nomadic military family, we always made room at the family table for friends who couldn't make it home for the holidays. The tradition continued through college and even to today. This year, I will be making the turkey, friends will be bringing the sides and my mother's Indian Pudding will conclude the meal, hearkening back to her Bostonian roots.
This issue of All the Swirl is laden like a Thanksgiving table. Our first guest blogger for All the Swirl is noted journalist, sommelier and blogger Randy Caparoso who resides in Lodi, CA. To us at CCA, Lodi and its wines are the quintessence of the holiday: caring, giving, generous and tasty! Randy offers up a cornucopia of wine options for turkey-day pairing.
CCA has gathered our staff picks for Thanksgiving, ranging from microbrews to grappa--we have the whole menu covered. Alex Fondren reports on her fascinating tasting of clonal Pinot Noir with Brice Jones and Kirk Lokka of Emeritus Vineyards in Graton, CA. I've shared my insights from a recent Art of Storytelling conference, and given my Irish heritage and proclivity for a great chin wag; narrative is what we live for every day at CCA and there are some great learnings from the standpoint of branding that will benefit all.
Finally, the cheese course, we love cheese after dinner and often forego dessert for it. On December 3rd we host our final Brandlive for 2014, focusing on the symbiotic pairing of cheese and sake. You are most welcome to join in virtually as a fan, but we have a few slots open for qualified bloggers to join us.
The art of storytelling has never been more relevant in our sound bite, 140-character modern culture. Although we navigate our days with truncated dialogue, at our core, each and every one of us loves a great story. Think of how the start of many great conversations encouraging a shared intimacy, via a narrative: How did you meet your partner? When did you realize what you wanted to do for a living? What inspired you to take a certain path in life? We are fascinated and hungry to share more, and although our mediums are different than the past, there has never been a more...(KEEP READING).
by Randy Caparoso
Is there anything more American than turkey for Thanksgiving? The turkey is one of our greatest comfort foodsand has been—as we all learned in school—since the Pilgrims sat down with the local Native Americans for that historic big meal. Except of course, historians (such as Smithsonian.com) now tell us that if there was wild turkey at the first Thanksgiving, it most certainly wasn’t the centerpiece. Neither did they have bread stuffing or pies, since they had...(KEEP READING).
KIMBERLY NOELLE CHARLES White pick: Kabaj Rebula Goriska Brda, Ribolla Gialla, Slovenia ($23) Red pick: Danilo Thomain 2012 Valle d'Aosta Enfer d'Arvier ($31)
The Kabaj from Slovenia is a serious wine that has the structure of a red but the finesse and snap of a white. The caramelized orange rind and marzipan aromatics offer combined serve up a savory character, pairing well with the traditional side dishes of Thanksgiving. The acidity cuts through the richness of those foods and helps open up room for seconds. The Danilo Thomain, made from Petit Rouge, grown in the Valle d'Aosta region of Italy has charming red fruit notes with a fabulous acidity and moderate tannic structure which is also both appetizing and compatible with a range of food flavors.
JORDAN CARMACK Pick: Hourglass Estate 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley ($155)
My favorite California Cabernet Sauvignon producers are Jordan Vineyards, Hourglass Vineyards, and Hess Winery. The Hourglass Estate Cab offers the right amount of tannins and acidity to pair well with most Thanksgiving/holiday dishes. Perfect for sipping before, during and after the big meal!
Find it: Hourglasswines.com
ALEX FONDREN Pick: Alma Fria 2012 Holtermann Vineyard Pinot Noir ($58)
Versatile and food friendly with impressive levels of natural acidity, this wine is from a fantastic vintage for Sonoma Pinot, and offers just the right amount of sweet red fruit, backed by superb structure, to pair with the cornucopia of food at the Thanksgiving table.
Grappa is a grape-based pomace brandy of Italian origin. My dad, being the Sicilian, loves to break this out at some point during the holiday season, most often during Thanksgiving. My Aunt picked up a few bottles of Poli during a visit to Italy (circa 2000) and consuming it has become a tradition ever since.
PATRICK BOWLER Pick: Sierra Nevada Flipside Red IPA ($19 per case)
Few seasonal ales capture the spirit of the changing seasons more flavorfully than this crisp, bold Red IPA from perennial Northern California brewing powerhouse Sierra Nevada. This beer offers sound accompaniment to those warm, rich flavors that fill the house around the holidays. Its thick, malty head and seasonally-appropriate red-hue provide an aesthetically pleasing touch to the dinner table.
We have a few extra spots for our next edition of Charles Communications Associates' popular Brandlive® tasting events--this time featuring the delectable world of sake and cheese with sakes from Oregon-based craft producer and importer, SakéOne along with cheeses from Marin French Cheese company headquartered in Northern California.
Join us along with special guests, Jesse Pugach, Sake Specialist Southern Wines & Spirits and Liza Kaplansky of Marin French Cheese Company, as we sample four sakes and four cheeses.
Please RSVP to Jordan Carmack at email@example.com by November 24th. If you haven't participated in our Brandlives before, please take a look at our website for past events.
CLONE-ING AROUND AT THE THANKSGIVING TABLE by Alex Fondren
When it comes to Thanksgiving, the classic go-to wine for most Americans is Pinot Noir (and hopefully domestic!). What few realize however, is that Pinot Noir has more clones than any other grape variety.
Nearly 100 have been registered at the University of California Davis and there are certainly many more that have yet to be discovered. Individual clones can yield wines of uniquely distinct aromas, flavors and structures, which might explain why, when winemakers work to blend varying clones of Pinot, the results...(KEEP READING).
Each month, we look back at the great food, beverage and lifestyle stories that caught our attention. Click on the banner above, to see our October "Must Reads" -- CCA Staff