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A Far Niente Winemaker Thanksgiving

11.12.15

A Far Niente Winemaker Thanksgiving

From the obligatory James Bond movie marathon to her desire to grow the food she puts on the Thanksgiving table, Far Niente Winemaker Nicole Marchesi paints a rich picture of the moments and rituals that make Thanksgiving such a treasured holiday for her family.

What is your most cherished Thanksgiving memory?

I loved getting to celebrate Thanksgiving with my parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins in Lake Tahoe at the family cabin. It just feels magical up there. My grandma would always make turkey and barley soup the next day. We’d hike (weather permitting), do puzzles, read and watch the obligatory James Bond movie marathons on TV.

What are the top three things you most love about the holiday?

(1) The food! For me turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing are delivery systems for cranberry sauce (my uncle puts blackberries in it) and gravy. (2) Just being together with family – laughing, catching up, etc. I get to “nerd out” about Harry Potter, Star Wars, Jane Austen, etc. with my younger cousins. (3) It’s a special opportunity for my husband and I to share the wines that we have made with the people that matter to us the most.

How have your Thanksgiving traditions/celebrations changed since starting your own family?

We’ve had to split our time between both families. Our families are both relatively local and we’re all really close. Sometimes we do two Thanksgivings just so we can see everyone.

What will Thanksgiving 2015 look like for you?

We’re actually hosting my husband’s family this year. It will be our first turkey. I know my husband is up for the challenge! I’m usually good with veggies and desserts and my mother-in-law makes amazing stuffing and potatoes. There will be no skimping on butter! We’ll start the day by participating in our town’s Turkey Trot. It’s a sweet little family run of 2-3 miles or so in Sonoma. All of the money goes to Meals on Wheels. Last year both boys rode in the double Bob but I’m hoping they’ll get out and run a little too. It’s a great way to participate in our community….and make room for all the food later in the day.

What traditions do you look forward to handing down to your sons?

Honestly, I hope they get excited about the Turkey Trot. I hope they become interested in helping prepare the meal. We have a big garden at home that we are developing; it would be great if we were able to grow some of the food that ends up on our Thanksgiving table. The boys already love to harvest and eat what we have growing now. I also hope they eventually realize how good it feels to be part of an extended family and that they have an important place in it. I think there is something magical about everyone coming together and celebrating the act of being thankful. In fact, I’m having a hard time finding the words to describe just how special this is to me.

Do they help with any of the prep yet?

Nolan, our four-year old, likes to help me bake. He’ll help me with the desserts this year. Both boys love to help with the dishes – it’s their excuse to make a mess with soap and water – so maybe we’ll put them on clean up duty, too. Kellan, who’s 18 months, loves trying to help in the kitchen. I usually give him a stool, a dull kid’s knife and something to cut. He yells “Cook! Cook! I do! I do!

Far Niente empanadas recipe

Cook! Cook! We do! We Do! If you're looking for holiday inspiration from the Far Niente Kitchen, Chef Trevor has an incredible archive of recipes,which pair beautifully with a range of Napa Valley Chardonnay and Oakville Cabernet vintages (we love theseGoat Cheese Empanadas for fall entertaining!).

There's also this Pumpkin Cheesecake, Chef Trevor's replacement for traditional pumpkin pie. It's a decadent Thanksgiving finale, especially when paired with complex, honeyed late harvest wine.

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