I am very excited about this pairing! Why? Well, I’m on a Finger Lakes rustic red wine kick right now. As the weather gets warmer we will lighten things up a bit.
It is becoming apparent to me that just as the elegant Rieslings are the premium varietal in this region, It seems as though the off the beaten path rustic reds are making their mark.
I truly believe this is the place for rustic reds. I was overjoyed with the last pairing of a Finger Lakes Baco Noir, a French-American hybrid paired with regional classics “tomatpie” and “escarole and beans.” Mangia! Oh, that hardy red went so well with those country-cooked items. And now this Saperavi!
So just to be clear, I’m thinking of the wine first and then, choosing to prepare the proper food with it. In contrast to creating a meal, and then searching for the right wine to pair it with. I’m cooking “for the wine,” so to speak.
European red varietals that do very well in cold climates such as Germany, Austria, and even as far east as Georgia seem to like it just fine here in the Finger Lakes. If you are looking for a deep luscious red and don’t mind stepping out of your comfort zone, you must try a Finger Lakes Saperavi. This 3,000-year-old varietal originates from the country of Georgia.
I truly enjoyed drinking this Finger Lakes 2020 Saperavi by Keuka Spring Vineyard. Its appearance is deep purple. Almost like ink but not quite. You’re still getting some nice ruby color on the edges which is a hint as to what’s to come.
On the nose, the aromas are faint. No problem, trust me. Give the glass a vigorous swirl once or twice and earthy dark fruit and spice break out with hints of vanilla and oak. Let it sit, the aromas close up again. But that’s ok because this hardy red has a crescendo effect. I rather wine has you begging for more instead of having a beautiful nose and then it’s all downhill from there.
On the palate, up front, it’s soft and dark. As it rolls, ripe red cherry with a pleasant sourness takes over mid-way, and then it finishes with mouth-puckering tannins and oak that are just perfect for this food!
The saltiness, heat, and sweet fennel of the Italian sausage, the sharpness, and creaminess of the asiago, along with the marinated bitter dark greens of the rapini, on top of a slice of sourdough and then placed under the broiler!! Mama mia! This Saperavi is the perfect match for such a robust dish! And for about 20 bucks? It’s a no-brainer. Finger Lakes reds rock!!
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