When you think of what New York State is known for, is agriculture the first thing that comes to mind? Probably not but New York is a leading producer of dairy products and grapes. Therefore pairing cheese with wine at a recent Farm To Table event I attended made perfect sense.
The day started with a tour of Noblehurst Farms, a large family-owned dairy farm. The event, put on by the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council, continued that evening at the NY Wine and Culinary Center (NYWCC). The culinary center is located in the heart of the Finger Lakes on the shores of Canandaigua Lake.
A flight of five glasses of wine was presented to us. I have to admit, I’m not a wine snob and I don’t have the most sophisticated wine palate, but I have never been a big fan of NY state wines – until now. We sampled:
- Ravines Dry Riesling, 2011 from the Finger Lakes region and named one of Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines for 2011.
- Millbrook Pinot Noir, 2011 from the Hudson Valley.
- Pindar’s Pythagoras from Long Island. This was my favorite. I really enjoy a meritage and this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec was really wonderful.
- Mazza Barebones White from the Lake Erie region. This blend of Vidal, Cayuga, Traminette and Riesling also scored high on my list.
- Vizcarra Vineyards, Joyce’s Joy, Niagara region. A sweet one that I loved. It’s a combination of Diamond grapes and strawberry rhubarb. I know that sounds weird but as a dessert wine, this combination really works.
We tasted each one individually as we learned about the characteristic of each wine and the region it came from. Then we were served a Tilsit made with Ommegang Ale, a McCadam cheddar tart, brie with a grape gastic and apple tart. Rather than being told what to pair, we were encouraged to come up with our pairings – to enjoy what we liked. Excellent approach!
We moved down the hall to the culinary center’s Wine Spectator Educational Theatre. The room is set up like an amphitheatre – complete with state of the art audio/visual technology.
Each course showcased dairy or incorporated a dairy ingredient.
Hopefully my NY Farm to Table experience will encourage you to try my state’s wine and dairy products. Feel free to share your favorite New York cheese and wine.