During each Sip & Study, Mary Dedrick, from Dedrick’s Cheese and I lead a
seminar in cheese and wine pairing. This year’s topic was Summer Wines & Cheese. Mary and I always have a great time searching out fun, different, and perfect cheese pairings.
Many cheese pairings are fine. But that is it – they are fine, rather than outstanding. The pairings below were all truly outstanding and would be perfect to serve at any party!
Red Dragon and 2009 Estate Riesling – This is what we called the boomerang pairing. Red Dragon is a welsh cheddar with mustard seed and brown welsh ale. When you first taste the Riesling, you get the fruit characteristics of apple, pear, and honeysuckle. It’s fresh and lively with a little bit of CO2 when served very cold. Taking a bit of the cheese, the fruit flavors fade and the mustard comes forward in a wonderful way. Finally, take another sip of the wine, get the fruit and violá, the get a flood of mustard (ie the boomerang). We also find that the mustard flavors of the cheese bring out a fig character in the wine. It’s a fun pairing. (P.S. May serves these cheese in an open face grilled cheese with tomato – yummy!)
Boucharadin and 2008 Signature Chardonnay
Can you say cream and cream? The the rich buttery characteristics of the wine (from barrel aging) and the creaminess of the goat cheese pair beautifully. This goat cheese covers your pallet, so when followed by the wine, the fruit apple and honey are showcased.
Parmigiano-Reggiano and 2009 Nebbiolo Rosé
This is a big, very dry Rosé. Our Rosé is made from bleeding off the first run of Nebbiolo press. This is done, not for the Rosé, which turned out to be a great bi-product, but rather to intensify the Nebbiolo. When you smell the aroma of the Rosé, you get ruby grapefruit, cranberries and strawberries. Because there is good acidity AND good richness, this wine is a great bridging wine. Parmesiano-reggiano is an aged cow’s milk cheese with lactose crystals. It has a rich texture, also coating the mouth and enhancing the wine’s characters. The pairing is subtly intense.
We changed things up a bit here, pairing the 2008 Shiraz/Cabernet with both the salami and the olives, each resulting in a wonderful, but totally different experience.
The common thread in both the salami and olives is salt. We seem to all have family members who would salt their cantaloupe or watermelon to bring out more fruitiness. The 2008 Shiraz/Cabernet already has a tremendous fruit base, but with the saltiness of the items, it becomes even more so. However, when pairing the salami with the wine, the characteristics of the Syrah (Shiraz) come through. Suddenly the more dark cherry fruit and slight gaminess are apparent. With the olives, the Cabernet characteristics come through…olives, green peppers and the dark fruit structure that runs through the mid-pallet.
Petit Basque and 2009 Barbera
Our final pairing was a Petit Basque, a sheeps mile from France. The Barbera is young, fresh whipper-snapper of a wine with bright fruit (cranberries and dark fruits). When paired with the Petit Basque (Mary’s as well as my favorite eating cheese), the wine just melds into the cheese, but you do not lose any of fresh fruit. It just plain-o-works!
Let us know your comments if try any of these pairings!