We particularly enjoy the social experience of wine. Some of our best memories involve sharing an evening over a glass of wine with friends, whether it is through the wine club at Public or a wine festival in Virginia. So, as we made plans to host my family on a recent weekend and learned of a wine pairing dinner in recognition of the work of Fred Frank of Dr Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars, we couldn't have been more excited. Those who follow this blog know we have a sweet spot for Finger Lakes wine, and those of Dr. Frank in particular. This seemed the perfect opportunity to enjoy our favorite wines while introducing my family to one of our favorite aspects of NYC.
It turned out to be a great evening. We all enjoyed our food--a series of courses ranging from smoked fish to Filet Mignon to a pumpkin custard, all prepared with an emphasis on local, seasonal ingredients. The wines were well-paired for each course (I'll share those specifics in this week's Quick Reviews). One of my favorite parts was being there with my family as they experienced the "a ha" moment of realizing that a well thought out pairing can enhance both the wine and the food. We have enjoyed wine together for years, often on our trips through the Finger Lakes wineries, but they hadn't had the chance to try a pairing dinner such as this. The food and wine were great, but it was wonderful to watch the look of joy spread across their faces as they took each bite of food with its accompanying wine, and to listen as they started brainstorming about how they could better pair the bottles they had at home.
The other real treat of the evening was the presence of Fred Frank. He was affable, and knowledgeable, and shared his thoughts about New York’s wine industry. We managed to learn quite a bit while we enjoyed our dinner.
- New York is the third largest wine producing state in the US
- The Rkatsiteli, from eastern Europe originally, is the oldest known wine grape
- Cornell University has been teaching about growing grapes and making wine for 100 years, offering a major in 2008. They also offer an amateur summer program.
- Because of the damage phylloxera did to the vineyards in California, Dr Frank's has some of the oldest Pinot Noir vines in the US.
- The Pinot Noir grapes from the Finger Lakes have the highest level of Resveratrol in the U.S. Resveratrol, a chemical compound with health benefits for the heart, received a lot of attention a few years ago when it was "discovered".
It’s fun to share an evening like this with others. Wine and food make for a great social experience, as you have something in front of you that you can all speak to, even if you disagree in your tastes. And sharing it with those close to you is especially wonderful, if you help them expand their view of the world, and enjoy a new experience.