You may have surmised from the name of this blog and my social media handle (wpawinepirate) that I am a Jimmy Buffett fan, a Parrothead, if you will. I have been a member of the Phlock for a long time, making some good friends and beautiful memories along the way. Jimmy’s lyrics “Warm summer breezes and French wine and cheeses” from his song “He went to Paris” was the inspiration for a series of posts I will be writing about wine and cheese pairing
I will never forget the first time I tasted Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam. It was at their shop in the Ferry Building in San Francisco. Mt. Tam is a triple cream bloomy rind American recipe cheese made from pasteurized organic pasture-based cow milk that is produced by farm partners using sustainable farming practices. Mt. Tam is made in Marin County near San Francisco, as if you had any doubt it was a California product after that lead-in. Cowgirl Creamery describes their Mt. Tam as “At room temperature, features a dense fudgy core enveloped in an evolving pudgy creamline.” This cheese is both creamy and buttery but also displays earthy flavors. http://cowgirlcreamery.com Mt. Tam pairs well with sparklers like Prosecco and Cava or a California Chardonnay that will cleanse your palate. Freixenet Cordon Negro Cava Brut or Trefethen Family Vineyards 2018 Chardonnay Oak Hill District Napa Valley work nicely with Mt. Tam.
Staying on the coast of California, my next cheese is Humboldt Fog from Cypress Grove Chevre in rural Humboldt County. Humboldt Fog is a unique soft-ripened goat cheese. It is made from high-quality goat milk sourced from local farms. This is a pasteurized goat milk cheese. The quality of the milk used in the making of Humboldt Fog is reflected in its clean and balanced flavors while muted acidity and salt levels prevent the potent goaty taste that turns some people off to goat cheese. http://cypressgrovecheese.com Enjoy Humboldt Fog with the iconic New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc Cloudy Bay, or Sokol Blosser Redland Cuvee Estate Willamette Valley 2018, a medium-bodied Pinot Noir from Oregon.
I will be exploring cheeses from America’s Heartland and the East Coast in my next post.
Occasionally someone will ask me for my thoughts on a wine pairing for a dinner party or a casual evening of grilling in the backyard with friends. I would always make the same mistake of only thinking about pairing the wine to the menu and budget. The problem with that approach is that I was overlooking the most important part of the equation, the guests themselves.
I now consider who will be attending first before trying to choose a wine that will satisfy the criteria of both food pairing and budget. It is difficult to completely concentrate on the wine at these gatherings because there are so many distractions. With that thought in mind I attempt to please the most people I can by “Painting with a broad brush, using bold strokes”.
J. Lohr is one of California’s more dependable large, mid-priced producers and one of my favorite go to wineries in situations like these. The 2015 J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon is a solid choice in the settings I have described. 2015 J. Lohr Estates Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied red wine that is not elegant but has enough character to fulfill the expectations of your guest. It is an easy drinking Cab from Paso Robles with mellow oak, medium tannins and cherry/blackberry flavors that evolve into a lingering fruit finish which is very typical of a Paso Robles Cabernet. Pricing in the $15-$20 range makes it an outstanding value for a wine of this quality. If you can’t find it in your area you should have little problem substituting another J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cab vintage as a replacement to fit your needs.
Are you planning a party and want to serve something new? J. Lohr can help with free recipe booklets which include wine pairings that you can download and print. Go to http://jlohr.com click: “life”, then click: “entertaining”.
If you are feeling adventurous and have a few extra dollars to spend you might want to explore J. Lohr’s artisan Cabernet Sauvignon label “Hilltop”. Hilltop is a bigger Cab with a slightly higher price of $35. Like all J.Lohr wines it displays the benefits gained from J. Lohr practicing Bordeaux winegrowing techniques in their Central California Coast vineyards.