What Are Chefs Drinking?

What Are Chefs Drinking?

We drink a lot of Americana wine: Throughout the long, long winter, we found ourselves cozying up to our Lemberger, paired with stews, braises and all varieties of root vegetables. Now that spring is finally here, we’re back to the dry, crisp whites: Pinot Gris, Finger Lakes Chablis and (heading a bit toward the sweeter side) Apparition. We don’t get out much, but we did have the opportunity to taste Dave Breedan’s excellent Rosé at Sheldrake. Paired with some cheese, baguette, charcuterie and pepper jelly, it’s the perfect bottle for enjoying the sunset on the porch.

—Lindsay Freeman and Jen Ungber, co-chefs at Crystal Lake Cafe at Americana Vineyards in Interlaken

When trying to come up with my current favorite local beverage, I had a tough time deciding. When it comes to wine, I tend to lean toward Gewürztraminers for their highly aromatic bouquets and bright flavors, especially alongside homemade sushi. As a fan of Finger Lakes Distilling, I enjoy cooking with their spirits both at home and at Veraisons, but I also indulge a time or two in a glass of their aged, Cognac-style Grape Brandy. Aged in whiskey barrels, it’s smooth with just the right balance of fruit and oak. In the kitchen, spirits like brandy infuse different flavors into foods, often hints of vanilla or a light smokiness that you wouldn’t typically get using wine.

—Orlando Rodriguez, executive chef of Veraisons Restaurant at the Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars in Dundee

I like to keep it in town and go with Anyela’s Cuvée Blanc. It’s refreshing, light and pairs well with the poultry and vegetarian dishes I like to make at home. This wine is a blend of Pinot Gris, Cayuga White and Tocai Friulana. It’s fruity (but not too sweet) and is usually described as combining the flavors of citrus with hints of green apple. Anyela’s never disappoints me with their white wines. Their Cuvée Blanc has been my go-to favorite for a while now, and with warm weather right around the corner I’m sure I’ll be enjoying many more bottles in the upcoming months!

—Katie Brennan, co-owner of Skaneateles Bakery


See more from the 2014 Wine issue, including a recipe for sage-Riesling cocktails.

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