Vin Santo for Thanksgiving

Please don’t tell me you don’t like dessert wines. I’ve heard this time and again from our guests on tour in Italy—then watched them eat their words after they try a really good one.

It’s like with men: You just haven’t found the right one yet.

So, let me offer some advice. First, give dessert wine a try at Thanksgiving this year. Second, make it a bottle of Vin Santo from Tuscany.

To the first point: Why is Thanksgiving one of the best times to take the plunge? Allow me to answer a question with a question: What’s on your dessert table? Pumpkin pie? Apple pie à la mode?

Desserts made with fruit—pies, tarts, crumble cakes—go perfectly with dessert wines. Why? Fruits pies and tarts are not super sweet. There’s a rule of thumb when it comes to dessert wines: The wine should always be sweeter than your dessert. Otherwise the wine will taste acidic and nasty. (I’d also add, dessert wine should be slightly chilled.)

To the second point: Why Vin Santo? Think about this: You’ve got a fruit or pumpkin pie with baking spices like nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. A good Vin Santo—that is, one with five or more years of aging in small caratelli casks—is loaded with flavors of butterscotch, caramel, dried apricot, and candied orange peel. Wouldn't you call that a marriage made in heaven?

All of this is why I featured Vin Santo in my feature article for Tastes of Italia this month. I write about how it’s made, where it got its name, and which producers to look for. The current issue is at Barnes & Noble, among other outlets. Or else, you can simply read it here. Happy Thanksgiving!