Kitchens across America will be heating up next week, perfect timing with the temperatures slowly dropping outside. And with a satiating feast and desserts, nothing completes the meal better than a nice glass of wine.
We recently stopped by Stew Leonard’s Wine Shop in Carle Place for a little chat with store manager, Mark Slattery, about some holiday wine suggestions and here’s what we found out:
With hors d’oeuvres
Try a medium-bodied, crisp, white wine like Chardonnay, a popular choice that is easily found at any local wine store, for pairing with your appetizers. Chardonnay is classic, with notes of fresh fruits and surprisingly, and makes a fantastic pairing with appetizer foods like crab or salmon and cheeses.
We learned from Slattery that New York makes some of the top-rated Chardonnay in the country.
“The Chardonnay grape can grow just about anywhere; it’s versatile,” said Slattery. He explained that the Chardonnay grape grows very well on Long Island and throughout New York cause the climate and growing conditions are so similar to the grape’s home region in Burgundy, France.
Slattery’s Chardonnay suggestions include:
• Osprey Dominion (North Fork, Long Island), three labels range from $13-$20. Osprey Dominion’s Regina Maris Chardonnay shouts out fresh flavors like apple, melon and a hint of pineapple, framed by a light butter and vanilla, sells for $13.
• Lenz Winery (North Fork, Long Island), two labels range from $15-$30. Lenz Winery’s 2012 White Label Chardonnay is dry and crisp with a slight nutty finish, this no-oak “east coast” style Chardonnay is lively with vibrant tropical, citrus and pineapple flavors, sells for $15.
• Red Tail Ridge (Finger Lakes, NY), two labels range from $13-$16. Red Tail Ridge’s Sans Oak Chardonnay is crafted without the use of oak and offers tart yellow apples on the nose with fresh-squeezed lemon juice, Anjou pears and a hint of stoniness and granite. The palate highlights more of the minerality with orange blossoms, tangerines and balanced texture. The wine ends with a zippy acid finish extending crunchy apple notes, sells for $13.
Don’t like Chardonnay? Try Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard’s 2011 Riesling with the fresh aromas and tastes of melon, peach, honey, jasmine and apricots with just a tease of grapefruit, sells for $27. Or try Paumanok Vineyard’s 2014 Chenin Blanc, a fresh, crisp blend of grapefruit and pineapple, with more subtle notes of melon, apple and guava. Paumanok’s is the only Chenin Blanc grown in New York, sells for $28.
For the main course
For the main holiday meal, serve Zinfandel, a deep, aromatic red wine with flavors like berries and spice. Zinfandel is a perfect choice for pairing with roasted turkey, but you will have to purchase a wine that is not produced locally.
“It’s too cold on Long Island to grow the Zinfandel grape,” said Slattery. “The best [domestic] Zinfandels come from northern California.”
Slattery’s Zinfandel suggestions include:
• Zinfandels by Seghesio Family Vineyards (Sonoma County, CA), nine labels range from $16-$58. Seghesio’s 2014 Sonoma Zinfandel offers tantalizing raspberry, blueberry, classic briary and spicy flavors with a balance of components, sells for $24.
• Edmeades Zinfandels (Mendocino County, CA), seven labels range from $16-$35. Edmeades’ 2012 Gianoli Vineyard Zinfandel offers broad and deep, mountain-grown flavor. Massive in briary and blackberries, it has layers of baking spices, especially cloves and cinnamon, orange zest, and a sweet, and a concentrated burst of liquefied red licorice, sells for $35.
• Rancho Zabaco Zinfandels (Sonoma County, CA), four labels ranging from $10-$60. Beneath the juicy blackberry, raspberry and boysenberry flavors, a distinct sliver of refined, artisanal chocolate emerges in Rancho Zabaco’s Heritage Vines Zinfandel 2013. A subtle peppery note rounds out the taste of this big and bold Zinfandel, sells for $15.
If you aren’t keen on Zinfandel and want to stick to a locally-made red wine, Slattery said Long Island’s North Fork region also makes good Cabernet Franc, such as Paumanok Vineyard’s 2013 Cabernet Franc, with aromas of bramble fruit, herbs, flowers and spice. It’s medium-bodied with firm tannins, black fruit and cherry flavors, sells for $30.