Turkey and stuffing with yams, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, cream peas, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie?
But which wines would go best with such a feast?
And what about the same dilemma concerning the Christmas meal?
Just ask Dominick Cerrone at Good Mansion Wines, and he’ll be able to walk you through his shop located at 95 14th St. in East Wheeling to show you the widest variety and best tastes in the Upper Ohio Valley.
“Thanksgiving is big for us because we are very passionate about having those certain kinds of wines that are good for the table and with the meal,” Cerrone said. “We are really big on featuring the kinds of wines that go best with the Thanksgiving meal because they have the harvest fruit notes in them.
“We feel that we really have the best selection of Thanksgiving wines in this area because we really load up on those selections,” he continued. “As far as Christmas is concerned, there are a lot of different traditional meals that surround the holiday, so we do our very best to offer a wide variety throughout the month of December.”
And yes, Cerrone will be available at Good Mansion Wines on Thanksgiving from 9 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. for those who have been waiting until the last minute to decide.
“We have always said that we are open on Thanksgiving for Thanksgiving,” Cerrone said. “But we’re not open on Thanksgiving for Christmas, so it’s not like we are pre-empting one holiday for another. We’re open because people usually wait to get their wines for the big dinner.
“People appreciate the fact that we are open because when people have family members in from out of town, they like to bring them here so they can choose what they would like,” he continued. “We’ll have a lot of cheeses and meats out for those folks to try, and it’s really a fun atmosphere.”
This Saturday is “Small Business Saturday,” and Cerrone appreciates the focus many consumers have while shopping locally.
“We do have several customers on those Saturdays who say that they are trying to buy as much locally as they can, and we appreciate that very, very much,” Cerrone said. “We truly appreciate the people who focus on shopping at locally owned businesses because there are a lot of us here in the area.
“The people who work here do the exact same thing on that day, and so do I,” he continued. “I believe it’s a very important focus, and I hope people think about it every time they go shopping and not just one or two days of the year.”
Cerrone, who has made several trips to Italy to procure relationships with his producers, is excited to see how his customers utilize the hundreds of imported cheeses and charcuterie he now offers at Good Mansion Wines as Christmas draws closer. All of the meats are free of added nitrites, and nitrates and have been imported from some of the most celebrated producers in all of Italy.
“What is special about Good Mansion Wines at Christmas time is that it is an emporium with so many unique products that are not available anywhere in the United States because we are direct importing them,” Cerrone explained. “Many of them are very highly awarded products from some very highly awarded producers in Italy.
“We have many people that are now coming here from Pittsburgh, and they always tell us that we offer the best variety of wines that they’ve ever seen, and that the cheeses and the meats are the best they have ever tasted,” he said. “There may be some places in the Pittsburgh area that offer close to the same variety of wines, but that’s where our services come in.”
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In an effort to promote the imported cheeses and meats, Good Mansion Wines began offering lunchtime sandwiches on Oct. 29, and each one is 100 percent made with the products he has discovered in Italy and offers at the shop.
“Since we started offering the sandwiches at lunch time during the work week, we have received many compliments, and many of the customers are now repeat customers. And it has been interesting to get into the lunch business because you realize how narrow that lunch window really is for people,” Cerrone said. “Most people have that noon-to-1 p.m. window, and that means your customers come to you all at once.
“But we work very hard to offer that service, and it’s great that our sandwiches introduce our customers to many of the products that we sell here,” he said. “We’re making them fresh, and each sandwich is on the baguettes that are made by Sarah Lydick.”
Good Mansion Wines will extend the hours of operation beginning Dec. 11, when the shop will open at 9 a.m. and remain staffed until 7 p.m. Cerrone said he also will open on a few Sundays in December, and he will be open on Christmas Eve and on New Year’s Day.
“Our Italian gift boxes are a great gift idea because each one is full of all of our direct imports from Italy, and those come in two sizes,” Cerrone explained. “We have a $50 size and a $100 size, and it’s a fantastic way to give someone a taste of products they likely have never had.
“We also have the cheese and salami platters that feature many of those products as well,” he continued. “They come is various sizes, so someone who is interested in those can let us know what they would like on it, and then it can be ready for them the next day.
“We also have the candies, cookies, the French desserts, our fig treasures, the many different oils and balsamics, our condiments and fine Italian foods and sauces, and we are about to receive the Panettones and pandoros, and both of those Christmas cakes proved very popular here last year,” Cerrone explained. “They are really fantastic, and it is produced by one of Italy’s best.”
Gift cards are available, as well, and Cerrone feels a gift card from Good Mansion Wines is two presents in one.
“In a store like this one a gift card is really a great idea because the person who receives it will then have the chance for a little outing at a time of year when the weather is very cold, and people tend to stay in more,” Cerrone said. “They can come here, spend an hour or so and really having a good time.”
(Photos by Steve Novotney)
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