Wines of the Season: Tis’ the Season for Meat…and Wine

It used to be said drink red wine with meat, white wine with fish. Simple. Boring. Still true, but our food choices are now so much more interesting and diverse than that.

By Martha Gioumousis, Illustrations by Bambi Edlund

It used to be said drink red wine with meat, white wine with fish. Simple. Boring. Still true, but our food choices are now so much more interesting and diverse than that. Consider all the types of meat we may choose to eat—not just beef, but lamb, pork, venison—plus poultry—chicken, turkey and duck. And when the meat is locally raised, organic, natural, grass-fed it’s super flavorful and sustainable.  

When choosing a wine for a seasonal meat meal, consider the type of meat, consider the cut, then the method of cooking: stir-fried, grilled, roasted, marinated or rubbed with spices? And remember to consider the effect of sauces, whether spicy, buttery or fruit-based. 

The weight of the dish also affects your choice of wine—a hearty dish will be complemented by a hearty, full-bodied wine. Finger Lakes red wines range from light-bodied—Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir—to medium- and full-bodied—Cabernet Franc, Lemberger, Merlot, Syrah, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and blends.  

While red wines are the easy choice for meat dishes, white wines can be enjoyed with meat dishes in some instances. For example, a spicy stir-fry with beef or pork and veggies will go nicely with a Dry or Semi-Dry Riesling. The crisp acidity of the Riesling will pair well with and balance the spicy flavors of the dish. 

Finger Lakes wines paired with meat dishes: 

Syrah: Lamb, spicy sausages, venison, grilled pepper steak  Producers to try: Hector Wine Company Syrah

Pinot Noir and Gamay Noir: Roast pork loin with a cherry reduction sauce  Producers to try: Forge Cellars Pinot Noir; Sheldrake Point Gamay Noir

Saperavi: Pork or lamb shanks  Producers to try: Standing Stone Saperavi 

Meritage-style and other blends: Roast beef, beef stew, grilled steak  Producers to try: Shalestone ; Wagner Meritage; Red Newt Viridescens

Cabernet Sauvignon: marinated ribeye steak, braised beef short ribs, beef stroganoff  Producers to try: Chateau Lafayette Reneau Cabernet Sauvignon

Blaufrankisch or Lemberger: lamb dishes, grilled meats  Producers to try: Atwater Blaufrankisch, Inspire Moore

Riesling: spicy Asian-style stir-fried meat and veggies  Producers to try: Hosmer Dry Riesling; Wagner Dry Riesling, ; McGregor Semi-Dry Riesling

Dry Rosé: Grilled pork chops with spice rub, pressed Italian sandwich with cheese and charcuterie meats  Producers to try: Silver Thread Dry Rose

Cabernet Franc: Roast leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary, venison spiedies, roast duck  Producers to try: Hazlitt Cabernet Franc 

Merlot: Charcoal grilled steak   Producers to try: Damiani Merlot ; Lamoreaux Landing Merlot

Sparkling Wine: Savory beef hors d’oeuvres in pastry shells  Producers to try: Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs,

Chardonnay: Roast chicken, chicken and pasta with a butter/cheese sauce  Producers to try: Lakewood Chardonnay

An earlier version of this article originally appeared in our Fall 2014 “Good Meat” edition.

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