An East Texas Thanksgiving (a marriage of Sangiovese and down-home fixings)

jeremy parzen

Way back when, in the late 19th century, did the “Iron Baron” Bettino Ricasoli know that Sangiovese would make for such a great Thanksgiving wine?


Uncle Tim’s brined and roasted turkey. Brining is the secret to keeping the breast and dark meat moist and flavorful when roasted. Aunt Ida Jean and Uncle Tim hosted all 31 of us!

jeremy parzen

Uncle Tim’s cornbread dressing, including chopped hard-boiled eggs.


Aunt Gladys’s homemade biscuits.


Aunt Ida Jean’s sweet potato pie (I was surprised at how well the Chianti Rufina paired with this dish).


Mrs. B’s eight layer salad. (For those of ya’ll who don’t know what an eight layer salad is, have a look at this Wikipedia entry.)


Tracie B’s green beans sautéed with onion and garlic and seasoned with nutmeg.

Thank you, Family B, for making me and Mama Judy part of your Thanksgiving celebration! :-)

BYOB Trailer Park Tacos, Soave, and Sangiovese

Above: Tracie B and me’s favorite wine to pair with Torchy’s trailer park tacos is Inama Soave. It has just enough richness in the mouthfeel to wrap itself around the intense flavors of the spicy pork and salsa.

It’s summertime in Texas and that can mean only one thing: BYOB trailer park tacos.

After we watched The Hangover at a matinee yesterday (hilarious, especially the raunchy closing credits), we headed out to spend the steamy summer evening with Tracie B’s childhood friend Jennifer and her husband CJ (check out their cool wedding photography blog), munching on chips and salsa and tacos, sipping Soave and Sangiovese at the Trailer Park Eatery in Austin — trailer park dining world capital.

Above: One of the trailers at the Trailer Park Eatery makes tacos, one makes burgers, and one makes S’mores — yes, S’mores. How’s that for an impossible wine pairing Dr. V?

Inama Soave is always one of our favorite pairings for BYOB tacos because of its bright acidity but also because it has a certain richness and unctuousness to the mouthfeel that wraps around the texture of steaming hot, soft corn tortilla stuffed with juicy roast pork and delivers ineffable pleasure.

I also thought the 2003 Villa di Vetrice Chianti Rufina Riserva showed well. I was a little hesitant to buy this wine: I’ve had too many 03s from Tuscany that are too stewy. But this wine was a beauty: 100% Sangiovese, grown at proper elevations (your ears pop as you drive up to Rufina), and vinified in a traditional manner. Great acidity, great plummy fruit, and lightness in body balanced by tannin that I just can’t resist. Both of these wines retail for under $20, btw, perfect for BYOB tacos.

There’s no doubt about it: Austin has some of the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten — from the haute to the bas.