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When Worlds Collide- Cretan Wine and Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving we have a lot to be grateful for. It is our fifth Thanksgiving living in Crete which means- we’re still here! This year we are especially grateful for the love and support we’ve received on our new baby; our business, Chania Wine Tours. We are happy to be celebrating my favorite holiday with some of our biggest supporters.

One of the great things about being a Greek-American living in Crete is that we can unapologetically celebrate both Greek and American holidays. Benefits to living in Chania are both the large Greek-American population and a US Naval Base. The former means we have great friends to celebrate with and the latter means some of those friends have access to authentic American Thanksgiving essentials like a Butterball Turkey and Stove Top stuffing. This year our worlds collide- pairing Cretan wine with American Thanksgiving! The biggest perk to being a sommelier in a wine growing region, is becoming friends with winemakers, grape growers, and winery owners; some of whom I’ve invited to our Thanksgiving table…and not just because they always bring wine!

This year’s Thanksgiving table of about 20 people will include Antonis Dourakis of Dourakis Winery and Alexandra Manousakis of Manousakis Winery. Accordingly, we are celebrating our feast with Dourakis Lihnos Vidiano and Manousakis Nostos Grenache.

Dourakis Winery is located in the eastern corner of Chania prefecture in Alikambos. It is a family owned and operated winery whose strength is great wines at great prices, making it the perfect choice for our full table. Dourakis Lihnos is 100% Vidiano. By all accounts, Vidiano is the standout grape of Crete. It’s diverse, expressive, has good acidity, and grows well all over the island. Dourakis Lihnos is an easy drinking wine (sometimes too easy!) that is great as an aperitif as people are filing in. It will also transition seamlessly to pair with many traditional Thanksgiving dishes like stuffing, green bean casserole, spanakopita (okay, okay but it’s a tradition in our family), and of course the star of the show, turkey with all the fixings. Antonis is new at this whole Thanksgiving thing but he’ll have to learn all the customs and traditions since his fiancée, Lindsay, is an American who just so happens to be my friend from middle school back in Massachusetts. Talk about a collision of two worlds!

For the red wine drinkers, I have chosen Manousakis Winery’s Nostos Grenache. The first time I ever tasted this wine many years ago, my first thought was, “Oh my god, this is perfect for Thanksgiving!” (Mind you, it was a sweltering mid-August day at the time.) Nostos Grenache has a lot of expressive fruit and the one that stands out to me most is cranberry. When pairing wine with meals, it’s also important to think about the sauces and trimmings. If turkey goes magically with cranberry sauce then you can bet that a wine that has cranberry notes will be magic as well. The Nostos Grenache is medium bodied so it doesn’t overwhelm the poultry dish either. Alexandra is a repatriated Greek-American just like us. We are thankful to be celebrating with her!

Both wines are available in Greece and in the United States. Visit their websites for more information.

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