The Times-Tribune

Holiday meals appealing to many pair with range of wines

- BY DAVID FALCHEK DAVID FALCHEK, executive director of the American Wine Society, reviews wines each week.

We love traditiona­l holiday meals because of their broad appeal.

Tastes change or evolve. Still, most stick to the basic main courses they grew up with. This time of year, that often means turkey, ham and lamb.

That broad appeal makes those dishes pair easily with a range of wines.

Echoes of Thanksgivi­ng recommenda­tions include dry, aromatic whites such as riesling, gewürztram­iner and viognier, all good choices for turkey and ham.

For a gold-standard riesling, go to the riesling forebear, Dr. Konstantin Frank, whose Finger Lakes winery pioneered the variety and so much more. The Finger Lakes is one of the best places in the world for the versatile, food-friendly white grape. Dr. Konstantin Frank 2015 Finger Lakes Dry Riesling smells of white peach and honeysuckl­e with a clean, mouthwater­ing, wet-stone finish. (If you don’t find that vintage, you can get the 2014 or 2013.) $16. 1/2

If you like riesling with a tad of sweetness, Dr. Frank makes a balanced, semi-dry riesling that jumps out of the glass and doesn’t clash with foods.

The eminently pairable pinot noir typically produces a lighter wine. But December brings us to the depths of winter, and I’m reaching for a pinot with more heft. You can find those from the Russian River Valley region of Sonoma County. Blue-chip producer

Rodney Strong Estate Vineyards 2013 Russian

River Valley Pinot Noir is one of those, a generous wine from beginning to end with smells of fresh-turned soil, pipe tobacco and cherry compote. Medium-bodied in the mouth, the wine bursts with plum, blueberry and oak spice and a brush of tannin. This wine is bold enough to stand up to kielbasa, another fixture in Northeast Pennsylvan­ia and beyond. $23. 1/2

Other good kielbasa wines may include a juicy, earthy syrah or the intensely spicy wines made in the French region of Minervois.

I’m a believer in yearround rosés. Even when temperatur­es drop, rosés offer a versatile accompanim­ent to the grazing meals of the holidays. Raimat 2015 Rosé Costers del Segre, from an up-and-coming region in Spain, is an example of the bright, fresh rosés that can be had for a low price, with zesty apple and strawberry notes and a smooth finish. $10.

A growing range of excellent dry ciders offer another adventurou­s option for the holidays.

You can easily find something for everyone. No pressure. The focus is on family and food — the wine is an accompanim­ent.

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