Perfect Pairings

Despite this recent stretch of chilly rain, we are starting to think about the pleasures of being outside for an entire summer. Of course, that leads us to ponder some patio sitting and wine drinking. We recently met up with the team behind LakeHouse Inn and Winery and Crosswinds Grille.

The entire operation is a family enterprise. Karen and Sam Fagnilli operate the inn, which sits right on along the shore of Lake Erie in the quaint town of Geneva-on-the-Lake. Sam is also the resident winemaker, producing several wines that are served at their on-premise restaurant, Crosswinds Grille. This restaurant sources almost everything locally from partners like Red Basket Farm, Miller Livestock and New Creation Farm.

At the helm of Crosswinds Grille is Chef Nate Fagnilli, who also oversees a newer venture, Na*Kyrsie Meats. Nate is a self-taught butcher who prepares all the cuts for the restaurant and is now making more than 12 varieties of charcuterie from local beef, pork, and lamb.

We were treated to an informational wine and charcuterie pairing, and we asked Nate to pick his favorites.

“It’s like trying to pick your favorite child. They all have their own purpose depending on your mood,” he says. He cites the paper-thin, savory bresaola—a salted and dried beef—his beef pepperoni and a Tuscan salumi when pressed. One of the more unique items is Nduja, (pronounced en-DOO-ya) a spicy, spreadable pork sausage.  A fennel salumi, with visible flecks of flavorful fennel throughout, was a favorite of ours. All of the items Nate makes have a justifiable place on your next charcuterie board (alongside some fantastic Ohio-made cheeses of course!).

Nate’s Dad happens to be Sam, the winemaker, who poured a few of their recent releases to accompany the meats. Nate leans toward the reds like Pinot Rosa, Red Sky (a Sangiovese blend) and their Cabernet Sauvignon. The crisp Apple Cider wine, made from Ashtabula County apples, paired nicely with the savory meats. They also make a refreshing Pinot Grigio made from grapes of nearby vineyards.

Nate will bring Na*Kyrsie meats to the Tremont Farmers Market this year, so you don’t have to go too far east to try something new. Or, head out east to discover the natural beauty of Geneva’s lakefront, and stop for a truly farm-to-table meal at Crosswinds Grille.

–Lisa Sands