Concha y Toro

Paola Peñafiel 20/11/2017

Thanksgiving dinner: its origin and flavors


This North American tradition brings together family and friends to give thanks for what they have and enjoy a bountiful meal, which includes turkey, a Thanksgiving staple. We would like to highlight this celebration as well as the best wine pairings for its main dish.

In the year 1620, English immigrants arrived in North America and settled in Massachusetts. These “pilgrims” learned how to grow corn and survive in the New World with the help of the Indians.

In 1621, as a gesture of friendship, the pioneers invited the neighboring Indians to celebrate together with a dinner and to give thanks to the Lord for the good harvest and the preceding year. This tradition became official more than a century and a half later, when President George Washington proclaimed and celebrate the first National Thanksgiving Day, on November 26, 1789.

Currently, this American tradition is also celebrated in Mexico and some Caribbean islands on the fourth Thursday of November each year, and in Canada, the second Monday of October.

Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving 1

Almost 400 years have passed since the first celebration, and both, the ritual as well as the dinner menu, have been maintained over the years. A tradition bringing family and friends together around the dinner table to enjoy a feast, which may vary slightly by region, typically includes four elements that cannot be forgotten: the turkey, which was used by pilgrims since the first celebration; corn, which represents the survival of the colonies; pumpkin, native from America which was incorporated by the settlers as an important food of their diet; and cranberry sauce, fruit that grew throughout the northeast of the country.

To learn about traditional turkey recipes and the best wine pairings, we interview Mexican sommelier, Sandra Gutiérrez.

“While there may be some variations, the traditional recipe for roasted turkey in the United States is filled with celery, bacon, onions, carrots, apples and almonds. It is accompanied with mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and cranberry sauce,” says Sandra. According to the sommelier, an excellent pairing option for this meal is Marques de Casa Concha Chardonnay, a rich and elegant wine, with flavorful aromas of white pear, toasted hazelnut, and mineral notes. A second alternative is Casillero del Diablo Pinot Noir, a delicate wine with soft tannins and strawberries and raspberry bouquets. A white and a red that go very well with stuffed turkey. We leave the choice to you!

Mexican-Inspired Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is only celebrated in certain communities of Mexico, since it’s not native of the country. Even so, over the years, more and more Mexicans are celebrating Thanksgiving for different reasons: for the large American community living in the entire Aztec territory; for being part of the millions of Mexicans who live or have lived in the United States, or simply because of the influence of the northern country.

Thanksgiving 2

In Mexico, chilies are usually incorporated in a variety of stuffing and sauces, and undoubtedly is also used with turkey. However, Sandra tells us that the traditional recipe “is filled with raisins, almonds and ground beef, and is accompanied with apple salad, mashed potatoes, cooked vegetables and orange slices.” For this Mexican version, the wine-expert recommends Marques de Casa Concha Carmenere, a dark red wine with a firm tannic structure and intense notes of ripe plums. She also proposes Trio Merlot, a blend of this variety with Carmenere and Shiraz, with great structure, soft tannins and dark fruit, chocolate, and tobacco aromas.

Whether you are American, have inherited customs, or are simply looking to enjoy a feast with your loved ones, the truth is that this holiday is increasing popularity in Mexico and other countries. If you decide to celebrate, you now know how to prepare a Thanksgiving meal and its perfect wine pairings.