The great American day of feasting, Thanksgiving, is all but a distant memory as we turn our sights to the Winter holidays with tables overflowing with food, sweets galore (I would kill for great dark chocolate), and more alcohol than one human can possibly consume in a given period of time. Before I delve deep into the yuletide festivities a quick revisit of my Thanksgiving meal is in order.

The past three years my wine of choice has been the current release of Bodegas Borsao Tres Picos. This year something new was in order. But first, the food. I am a huge fan of the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. It brings back memories of childhood. This year, I chose to roast a turkey breast that I rubbed with a spice mixture of rosemary, thyme, and sage. Tender and juicy, it was the perfect match with some roasted garlic mashed potatoes as well as an amazing new side dish of chorizo and corn bread stuffing (I recommend using half the chorizo called for in the recipe).

Now, back to the wine! Although Thanksgiving is normally all about tradition for me I opted to try something new. This year I was lucky enough to partake of a wine from one of Spain’s most prominent wine regions – yet one that I do not drink regularly, Rioja. Always searching for something new and different I have left Rioja in the past and ventured to other parts of the peninsula. After tasting the 2005 Valsacro Crianza from Rioja Baja, I can gladly say that I will be back. This wine is a blend of 50% Tempranillo, 40% Garnacha, and 10% Mazuelo and many of the vineyards boast vines that are more than 100 years old. Deep purple in the glass with aromas of mineral, spice, black fruits, and mocha, the 2005 Valsacro is a beautifully smooth, medium-bodied wine which exudes flavors of blackberry and black cherry, pepper, and tobacco. An extremely enjoyable long finish with aftertastes of fruit (but not to much) linger on the palate. This was an extremely fun wine to drink and paired perfectly with dinner. This year I have much for which to be thankful and the 2005 Valsacro was a great way to celebrate. (8.5/10.0)

Life is short. Drink Spanish wine!

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