Pairing KLV Wines for the Holidays
With the holidays just around the corner, I am already daydreaming of the smorgasbord of appetizers, entrées, and desserts that will be passed around at Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners and shared over New Year’s celebrations. However, I am also musing over the wines that will be poured alongside this delightful array. With such an abundance of flavors and aromas filling your kitchen, it can be hard to find the right wine to put beside it, but it does not have to be. Regardless of the dish being passed around your table, Keuka Lake Vineyards has the perfect pairing waiting to be passed with it.
In preparation for this holiday wine guide, head winemaker Staci, the assistant winemaker, which is myself, and two tasting room staff, Tony and Laurie, sat down with five wines and eight holiday food classics to really put these pairing suggestions to the test. We included classics such as stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey with cranberry sauce and gravy, meatloaf, green beans, and brussels sprouts. Over lunch, we tasted each food with each wine and scored the pairings individually according to how well we thought the pairings worked. We then used that data to see which wines and which pairings stood out in our holiday pairing extravaganza.
The 2017 KLV Cabernet Franc paired well with the meat based main dishes for the three tasters who tried those pairings. The fruit forward style of our Cabernet Franc paired particularly well with both the ham and the meatloaf. However, when it came time to try the turkey, the 2018 Gewurztraminer was the true star with this holiday specialty whether it was enjoyed with cranberry sauce or gravy.
The 2018 Semi-Dry Riesling, the 2017 Evergreen Lek Riesling, and the 2018 Vignoles CO2 all stood out with the vegetable sides. Like many Finger Lakes wines, these wines are high in acid, making them food friendly and good matches for harder to pair foods like green beans and brussel sprouts. New to KLV’s production line up, the Vignoles CO2, which is a sparkling wine, turned out to be the highest rated wine with the brussel sprouts. Another holiday side dish that stood out with the Semi-Dry Riesling was the stuffing, though the herbs of the stuffing also made it pair very well with the Cabernet Franc.
After all of the tasting and scoring was said and done, despite the delicious combinations we had found, there was no single wine that stood above the rest with every single food item. Keuka Lake Vineyard’s wines, as well as all Finger Lakes wine, are food friendly because they tend to be lighter bodied and higher in acid. These characteristics make these wines refreshing and crisp, which keeps your palate feeling refreshed and ready for the next course. Based upon that finding, we recommend that you base your wine pairing upon the main dish being served, whether it be a holiday classic such as turkey or something less traditional, but do not be afraid to include more than one wine on your table.