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.