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This story originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register. For many wine enthusiasts, picking wine for the holiday table is one of utmost importance. Once the meat, stuffing, potatoes, green beans and pumpkin pie are prepared, the question is what to drink with the meal. Classic choices for red wines are pinot noir, Beaujolais or grenache, but as Thanksgiving approaches, perhaps the perfect wine for your holiday dinner should be carménère. In fact, Nov. 24 also marks International Carménère Day honoring the 22nd anniversary of the rebirth of the grape. Carménère is a grape variety that was one of the original blending grapes in Bordeaux, France. Thanks to phylloxera in the late 1800s, the vineyards were destroyed and it was thought that the grape was extinct. Meanwhile, Chile had transported some grapes from France and was busily producing an herbaceous red wine that they called “Chilean merlot.” Then 22 years ago, in 1994, on Thanksgiving, a French DNA specialist identified the Chilean merlot as the rare Bordeaux grape carménère. With the understanding of the true identity of the grape, the Chileans readjusted their treatment of the grape. Instead of picking early, as they had been doing, they let the grape reach ripeness by harvesting late.
Gambero Rosso recently announced the Tre Bicchieri, or “three glasses”, winners for the "Vini d'Italia 2013" wine guide.  First published in 1987, over 45,000 wines were tasted by more than 60 judges to make it into the 26th edition.  Of the awarded wines, eleven wines within the Dalla Terra portfolio received a Tre Bicchieri® honor. Congratulations! Dalla Terra means "of the earth" in Italian.  Founded in 1990, owner Brian Larky, who was the winemaker at Ca'del Bosco in Italy, selects wineries that best represent the regions of Italy.  What makes this portfolio of wineries all the more unique is that Dalla Terra Winery Direct® is a direct importer.  Distributors are able to buy directly from the producer, which eliminates the national importer and thereby keeps the price a little lower. I had the privilege to taste these wines and meet the representatives earlier this year at a tasting.  Here is a list of the winning wines by region: