Barbera for Thanksgiving

It's that time of the year when we start planning for Thanksgiving dinner with friends, family and its bounty of food — and what to serve for wine. Because Thanksgiving is an American holiday, I recommended serving wine from America in another article I wrote for Marilee's website (click here to read it). Another article I wrote suggested serving sparkling wine before the meal (click here to read it). I still suggest the sparkling wine before the main event and my suggestion this year for dinner is a wine historically from Italy but which is now also grown in my home state, Washington, and in California.

I was reading a wine column a few weeks ago in which the suggested wine for Thanksgiving dinner was Barbera. I didn't give it much thought until I started thinking about the qualities of that grape. Barbera is the most widely planted red grape in the Piedmont area of Italy, and it's also the name of the wine. The Nebbiolo grape from Piedmont is more renowned — think Barolo and Barbaresco — but Barbera is what the people from Piedmont invariably drink with dinner. It is a mouth-filling, rich wine packed with every black fruit: blackberry, black cherry, black raspberry and black plum, plus chocolate, licorice and figgy fruit. Barbera also has a vivacity and vibrancy that comes from the grapes' high natural acidity. It usually does not have hard, tannic edges nor does it require super long aging. Because of the vibrancy and zip, Barbera is a great counterpoint to food. So whether you decide on an Italian, Washington or California Barbera, it will be a good choice for your Thanksgiving feast.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Durella DeGrasse
Certified Wine Professional

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