Fine Wine & Good Spirits Wine Specialist: Jennilyn Pollack

Jennilyn Pollack began her career with the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) as a part-time store clerk in May 2002.

Her passion for wine and food drove her to attend the PLCB’s Basic, Advanced, and Masters wine courses. She became the Wine Specialist in the Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection store in Dallas, Luzerne County, 12 years ago.

Pollack has traveled extensively to Italy, California, and New York to pursue more knowledge of the industry. Wine seminars and educational conferences offered by the PLCB have helped her foster relationships with winemakers, vineyard owners, and other people in the trade. She loves passing that expertise on to her customers.

What are your go-to suggestions for the following local varietals from your store? 

Dry red: Clover Hill Cabernet. It has big, rich tannins to pair with roast beef, lamb, or duck.

Dry white: Blue Mountain Riesling. This is a dry Riesling with tropical elements but nice acidity. Pair it with roasted chicken, shellfish, and cheeses.

Spicy red: Clover Hill Chambourcin. This wine has raspberry and spice notes. It’s perfect with local dried meats, sausage, smoked turkey, chicken wings, and pizza.

Sweeter white: Chaddsford Niagara. Pair this wine with sharp cheese, ham, turkey, and Asian foods.

Fruit-forward white: Blue Mountain Bri’s Blush. Pair it with seafood, pork, and burgers.

Dessert wine: Franklin Hill Vineyards Carnival. This wine tastes like cotton candy. Serve it with angel food cake and fruit.

With the holidays coming up, customers will be thinking about seasonal dishes. Can you suggest an unexpected Pennsylvania wine pairing for Thanksgiving dinner and other holiday fare?

Blue Mountain Victoria’s Passion Red is a hearty red. Made from Chambourcin grapes, it is full-bodied and semi-sweet. This will pair wonderfully with everything from pasta dishes to ham and turkey, and chocolate desserts.

In the spirit of keeping things local, do you have any favorite local meats, cheeses, or other foods that you enjoy pairing with a specific PA wine?

Clover Hill Concord is a beautiful red with hints of cherry and raspberry. Pair this wine with local kielbasa and smoked ham.

What PA wine would you recommend as a gift (one red, one white) and why?

Mount Nittany Vineyards Tailgate Red is a semi-dry red. It is always consistent in quality and easy to drink for dry or sweet wine drinkers.

Franklin Hill Vineyards Vidal Blanc, a medium-dry white, is light and slightly fruity.  The Vidal grape grows well in Pennsylvania and this wine is worth a try!

What are your favorite PA budget, mid-range, and special occasion wines?

Hauser Estate Abe’s Apple Wine is perfect for this time of year. It’s made with several varieties of Pennsylvania apples.

Mazza Vineyards County Red – This medium sweet red can be serve chilled.

Nissley Grapeful Red – This wine is a blend of Concord and Chambourcin.

What is your advice for someone new to exploring local wines?

I suggest people try as many varietals as possible. Taste them from dry to sweet. Be open and experiment, especially with grapes that are native to Pennsylvania like Catawba or Niagara. If possible, go to some local wineries — there’s always one less than 30 minutes away.

You can meet Jennilyn at the following Fine Wine & Good Spirits store location:

Fine Wine & Good Spirits
Premium Collection Store 4003
2161 Memorial Highway
Dallas, PA 18612

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