Stay with me, we'll end up with wine.
I was sixteen when my parents had the divorce of the century. Ever since I've been hiding from Thanksgiving. I learned early that when it came to this particular non-religious holiday, between the two of them, I was the wishbone. Each parent pulled for a piece. That left me left blowing pot out of the window wishing for a Solomon-like solution.
As soon as I could, I make good on my decision to avoid the holiday. During my Boston decade, I told each parent I was working. This was often the truth.
After the day, I'd sometimes duck my head into some dinner, then off to the Thanksgiving Dance (balance and swing), flirt my young ass off, bat the blonde eyelashes, go out after for a sweet hit of Steve's Ice Cream and give thanks that I was with friends.
Decades later those early reactions still take up space. New York City doesn't have the fab dances of Boston, the actual day reminds me of gloomy Sundays, no matter how pleasant or how many people are around.
But there have been moments. My best ever Thanksgiving was during a cozy weekend at my friend's place in Walton. It was snowing. We looked out to crippled apple tree. As if fingers on a ledge,yellow orbs of fruit clung to the tree.
We harvested. I made the sweetest, tartest applesauce. Then it was a Thanksgiving dinner with turkey for the meat eaters (R and his brother E) and God knows what, it didn't matter, for me.
As sun slid down the mountains we trained the flashlight on the collection of wines I carried northwest for the occasion. Like campers waiting to be chosen for volleyball, they stood expectantly. Foillard and Lapierre were affordable and well represented.
It was then that I thought, if I had known about the wines of southern Burgundy when I was sixteen, I would have sailed through the conflicts, bolstered by the perfume of the wine I loved.
The sentimental favorite for Thanksgiving for me? Gamay (from limestone or granite especially). When I want it built to last and all of the complexity that comes with the territory, I head to Beaujolais.
My wine choice-whether it's sitting home alone with a baked sweet potato or heading out to some shindig, that is not family-- has nothing at all to do with the nouveau hoopla which happens on the third thursday of November. That day, I feel, should stay in France, in Paris. The idea of shipping the stuff world wide is ludicrous to me, a waste of energy, calories and liver.
Give me real Beaujo, then, this Thursday and forever.
But you know what the buzz is? That Beaujolais has gone back to being the hard sell it was before the 2009 vintage.
2009 was heralded as a breakthrough for the region. That was the year wines were blowsy, alcoholic and New World-freakish (with some exception, of course). Parkerites and Spectorators decided to give the region their $. The California cult drinkers came was well. Thanks to certain importers, the prices have escalated. Then sales stalled because the following vintages flummoxed those expecting the heft of a Californian wine.Seems like the affair was a one-vintage stand.
Back here on Elizabeth Street, I couldn't wait for 2009 to fade and the more mannered Beaujolais to return.
Don't get me wrong, I have no problem for a $25 gorgeous bottle, but $30-$40? That's what you're likely to spend for Métras, Lapierre and Foillard. They are now officially off my budget. Can't be helped. But I don't suffer. And neither should you. Instead of being the wishbone, we still can get wish-fulfillment from any number of producers.
Want to know my go-to for everyday deliciousness including on the day or any day you want to chase the blues or bring on the celebration? Roland Pignard. Another? Bruno Debize. I promise you, you won't be sorry. And have a beautiful holiday.
(all wines come from The Feiring Line Newsletter)