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Cork and Rind: Wine-ing about Cheese
by Shawn Croft, Twin Liquors #3
When I talk to people about eating cheese and drinking wine I always see people’s faces light up. Who doesn't like wine and cheese right? This episode I want to try out a few wine pairings with blue cheese. Blue cheese is a complicated family; most people I talk to either love it or cannot stand the sight of it. What makes blue cheese different from other cheese is the specific species of mold allowed to grow inside the cheese; this is done by piercing the rind of the cheese and allowing oxygen to reach the interior. When you look at a blue cheese notice the dark channels of blue, those are where the cheese maker pierced it before aging. If you have always thought you didn’t like blue cheese give it another try. Most people only have exposure to blue cheese crumbles or blue cheese dressing; neither of these is usually made with real blue cheese. Try these artisanal blue cheeses from around the world with the wines I have selected and see if you do not fall in love with this category as much as I have.
Jacob-Heims Riesling Kabinett ($15.99) and Hopelessly Blue
The cheese originates in Dripping Springs, Texas and made from pasteurized goats milk. Surprisingly creamy with gentle earthy blue notes, hint of sweetness and a pleasant finish of fresh goats milk. If you cannot find this cheese try Billy Blue from Carr Valley, Wisconsin, slightly firmer and crumbly. The wine has a rich fruitiness to highlight the sweetness and bring out the hidden fruit notes. Grab a fresh peach to munch on as well.
Hopelessly Blue- Dripping Springs, TX Jacob-Heims Riesling Kabinett ($15.99)
Secondly, McPherson Viognier ($12.99) and Fourme d'Ambert
In Auvergne, France this cheese is made from pasteurized or raw cow’s milk, depending upon producer. Creamy and salty with a sweet lactic tang, fruity overtones and a hint of white pepper. Some producers soak the cheese in white wine to enhance the natural floral aroma of the milk from that region. The wine will highlight the aromatic complexity and pair the minerality. A few dried apricots would be a wonderful addition to the pairing as well.
Fourme d'Ambert McPherson Viognier ($12.99)
Lastly, Warres Tawny Otima 10 year port ($19.99) and Stilton
The only name controlled cheese from England made from pasteurized cow's milk, although there is a raw milk version called Stichelton. It is known for its intense butteriness, rich fudge like texture, and bold fruit and pepper finish. Look for the port to compliment the rich oak and weight. Try the raw milk version of this cheese, if you can find it, to get a bolder, rounder version with a touch of a pleasant funk on the finish. A nice high quality dark chocolate could make this an unforgettable pairing.
Stilton Warres Tawny Otima 10 yr. Port ($19.00)
A few tips, always let your cheese warm up to room temperature. Try the wine before the cheese, then try the cheese by itself, then mix them by adding a small sip of wine to a bite of cheese right at the moment when the flavor of the cheese is at its peak and see how the flavors of both change. To me, a good pairing makes a unique flavor explode or highlights a hidden characteristic of one of the two.
Stay tuned for more for us cheese and wine lovers!
From your Wine Guy and Cheesemonger-
Twin Liquors #3