Parmigiano-Reggiano is called by some “The finest cheese in the world.” Parmigiano-Reggiano is made in Italy from raw cow milk under strict adherence to a prescribed procedure. To harden the young cheese’s rind, it is left in brine for three weeks or more before being allowed to age from twelve months to three years. A wheel of Parmigiano-Reggiano weighs eighty-five pounds and goes from an ivory paste color when young to an amber gold when mature. Don’t cut this cheese, use a blunt knife that will break it into chunks thus preserving its signature texture. You will need a medium to full-bodied red to pair with this cheese. Brunello di Montalcino, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Zinfandel would be a great pairing.
Original Blue is a raw cow milk aged blue cheese made by the Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company and is the only blue cheese made in California. The morning milk is taken directly from the milking parlor to the cheesemaker where it is cultured, coagulated with rennet, and inoculated with Penicillium roqueforti. As the cheese ages, it develops the characteristic blue-gray veins that give blue cheese its name and distinctive taste. Pair a French Pinot Gris or dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes of New York. I have also found Champagne is an excellent pairing because it cleanses your palate.
Manchego is Spain’s most famous cheese. It is made from raw or pasteurized sheep milk but most of Manchego today is made on an industrial scale using pasteurized sheep milk. You can find year-old Manchego at cheese shops in the U.S. This aged version of Manchego has a firm dry interior that is ivory to light yellow in color. It is best served with something sweet to contrast its tangy salty bite. Quince paste is usually served as the sweet accompaniment. Manchego pairs well with a Rioja from its homeland of Spain. Think tapas on a beautiful evening in Barcelona when selecting a wine.
I hope you enjoyed my posts on pairing wine and cheese as much as I enjoyed writing them. Cheers!
Photo Credit: Gourmetfoodstore.com, PointReyesCheese.com, and almagourmet.com
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.
Lake Erie Wine Country will be presenting its Wine & Cheese Weekend event the weekend of April 21-23, 2017. There will be twenty two wineries participating in this event. Tickets are only sold online and must be picked up at one of the six
Photo Courtesy: Lake Erie Wine Country
designated pick-up wineries along with your gift bag. Tickets will be available until Tuesday April, 18 at 10:00 a.m. A ticket allows you to visit all the wineries for food samples, each paired with a complementary wine. Also included is a $5 gift voucher, wine glass, booklet containing all the recipes of the food you’ll be tasting and additional tastings. The cheese for this event will be provided by sponsor Yancey’s Fancy. Event hours are Friday April, 21st 12-6pm, Saturday April, 22nd 10am-6pm and Sunday April, 23rd 10am-5pm. One regular $38 ticket is good for all three days. The Designated Driver ticket is $20 and includes everything for the purchaser as a regular ticket except the wine tastings plus the $5 voucher is included at no charge. Friday and Sunday “Only” tickets are $28 and have the same privileges as a regular ticket but can’t be used on Saturday. For more information and to buy tickets go to the event website: http://lakeeriewinecountry.org/events/4
Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Buying a wine related gift for a lover of wine can be a daunting task because I have found that they have a very well-defined idea of what they like and dislike. Wine drinking has a limited need for accessories beyond the basics of a bottle of wine, a corkscrew and the proper glass for the wine in the bottle. Buying them an unfamiliar bottle is a gamble, they may love it or an equally possible outcome would be that they hate it.
A red wine drinker can’t deny that aeration helps loosen a tight wine and a Vinturi Areator is the quick and easy way to open a red up ultimately bringing out its hidden character. Cheese & Wine A Guide to Selecting, Pairing and Enjoying, by Janet Fletcher and published by Chronicle Books is a classy book with excellent photography and descriptive text. This book is a guide to all the well-known cheeses and their origins, production and wine pairings as well as many more obscure examples. Lastly, Kevin Zarley’s Complete Wine Course 2012 Edition is the latest update of a book that is the standard by which all others are judged. This is a great gift for the novice as well as the enthusiast because there is always something exciting to learn.
All of these gift suggestions meet my criteria of being easy to wrap, fitting nicely under the tree and are readily available online. Good Luck with the rest of your Christmas shopping list.
Goat’s milk cheese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Wine and cheese go together like no other food combination on Earth. My absolute favorite wine and artisan cheese pairing is Cypress Grove Chevre Humboldt Fog and Sauvignon Blanc. Cypress Grove Chevre makes Humboldt Fog from premium pasteurized goats milk in Humboldt County, California. This goat cheese can be enjoyed even by people who do not like goat cheese because it doesn’t have a strong goat milk flavor due to the quality of the milk used. I like to pair it with a Sauvignon Blanc. An interesting choice would be Dourthe La Grande Cuvee Sauvignon Blanc 2010 with its 88 point rating from The Wine Advocate. It can be found at the Pa. L.C.B. store for $12.99 with the product code 29706.