Breweries, Wine, and Cheese Events

Making Champagne a Thanksgiving Tradition

The Grapevine: A Sparkling Thanksgiving!

By Gina Trippi

Thanksgiving is about tradition, family, friends and food. No occasion conjures up more aromas and flavors. While many wines pair with one or two dishes on the table, only one can do it all fearlessly: sparkling wine!

Sparkling dinners are all the rage in New York City and one such dinner met with great success here in Asheville last December. “The dinner—intended to showcase the versatility and flexibility of sparkling wines—featured only Champagne with every course,” says Tom Leiner of Asheville Wine Events, who hosted the event.

We suggest you step outside of the Riesling-and-Pinot-Noir comfort zone and plan an all-Champagne Thanksgiving dinner. To accomplish this, we suggest three Champagnes from Drappier, number three on the Forbes Magazine “List of Best Champagnes You’ve Never Heard Of.” Drappier exports to 83 countries but, refusing to engage in massive marketing campaigns, only represents about three percent of the Champagne market, making it, in all likelihood, a delightful surprise to your guests!

The vineyards were planted more than two thousand years ago by the Gallo Romans in Urville, France. Shepherded by the monks of Clairvaux Abbey, the property passed to the Drappier Family in 1808. In the 1890s, Drappier made the bold decision to plant Pinot Noir in Champagne, selling the grapes to the great Champagne Houses in Reims and Epernay. In 1968, Drappier introduced one hundred percent Pinot Noir Champagne, which found its way to Élysée Palace.

Drappier is food-friendly but with a more commanding presence and complexity on the palate than better known Champagnes. Not only are these great partners to flavor, but the bubbles also serve as a palate cleanser.

The Drappier style is to use minimal intervention. Vines are cultivated with biodynamic methods and wines are unfiltered. Little or no sulphites or sugars are added. “We have decided not to disguise the wine,” says Michael Drappier, seventh-generation president of Drappier House. “The wines have a strong vine-to-bottle identity.”

Drappier Blanc de Blanc, made only from white grapes, is a good aperitif or first course. “It is creamy, supple and seductive,” Drappier says. The nose is peach and pear with notes of peony; the palate, “lightly biscuity.” Imagine it with smoked salmon and brie.

With bigger body and real heft, Cuvée Charles de Gaulle is a lovely partner for any first course or side dish. While staying at his summer place just minutes from the winery in the 1960s, Charles de Gaulle discovered Drappier Champagne. This special blend of 80 percent Pinot Noir and 20 percent Chardonnay, created just for his taste, is complex and intense. With a nose of citrus fruits, apple, almonds and perhaps nutmeg, it goes well with a squash soup flavored with parsley, mint, lentils and curry.

The main event calls for Drappier Rosé! This Champagne, made from one hundred percent Pinot Noir, is warm and satiny on the plate, lightly spiced with hints of stoned fruit. With the turkey—traditionally prepared or tamarind-glazed, in mole poblano, Cajun injected or stuffed with oyster dressing—Drappier Rosé works.

Make your Thanksgiving sparkle with Champagne at every course!

Gina Trippi co-owns Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte Street in Asheville. She can be reached at or 828.575.9525. MetroWines will host a tasting of Tricky Rabbit Wines from Chile Friday, November 4, 5–6:30 p.m.

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