Friday, July 9, 2010

Wine and Cheese Place pairings

I am so happy to report that wine and cheese classes are back! Thanks to STLwinegirl, Angie Ortmann, The Wine and Cheese Place (http://www.wineandcheeseplace.com) has agreed to host a class for this month, as well as August and September. You can see all of Angie’s summer classes here: http://www.stlwinegirl.com/UpcomingEvents.html
I just got back in town and I didn’t have football practice so I totally lucked out that I could go!
In addition to focusing on cheese, all the wines served were white so it really was a good class for me to go to. I feel like I have lost some cheese knowledge since I hadn’t gone to any classes in awhile so I really enjoyed the refresher course.
Three out of five of the cheeses were soft and creamy, so I could have used a fork and knife to eat the cheese instead of using two crackers as utensils. hehe
Of course we started out with the lightest wine, a sparkling wine, and worked our way to the fullest body wine, a Chilean Chardonnay. It’s funny how white wines can have such range and even wines like Rieslings can have a wide range of flavors.
I would say the class was a big hit because all of the pairings were great at contrasting each other, which I feel is what improves the taste of wine. In combination, the pairings should improve each other but I am biased in that the cheese improves the wine. Hehe
Angie says that sparkling wine goes well with just about everything, but I definitely think it is best paired with a light cheese, such as a triple crème. The creamy cheeses really help cut through acidic wines well.
The second pairing featured the local Baetje Farms, http://baetjefarms.com, and their goat cheese. We just had the regular flavor but they also come in a variety of flavors as well. It has such a sweet finish! It was paired with a Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.
I was super excited to see a German Riesling on the list, but it was paired with a blue cheese. Ugh. At least it had a mild flavor but Angie swears by pairing the super sweet wine with the pungent blue cheeses. I guess the two extremes help both calm the flavors…
Another treat in the next pairing was the Taleggio paired with a white blend, mostly Pinot Gris. The Taleggio is rich and creamy, but has more of a strong aroma and flavor. A full-bodied wine is definitely needed.
And the last pairing was very full-flavored as well as a Spanish Mahon was paired with the Chilean Chardonnay. Let’s just say I helped to finish of what was left of the Mahon at the very end of class! Hehe
In addition to discussing the pairings, I always enjoy listening to Angie’s stories of her time in San Francisco, where she learned everything she knows first-hand and on the job! It certainly makes learning a lot easy for the rest of us who don’t have the time to eat and drink our way through a city. Hehe
Here are my takeaways:
· Cheese is always freshest when cut from the wheel as opposed to wedges that have already been cut and wrapped. Although, cheese stores go through their cheese pretty quickly so it’s not like it really sits all that long anyway.
· Store cheese in the bottom of the fridge, not in the deli tray, and wrap it in plastic.
· Never freeze cheese…it will quickly break down if you do! And that’s cheese abuse!
Somehow we got on the topic of pricing and restaurants usually charge three times the price of a bottle of wine but then you also have to deal with corkage fees if you bring your own.
And the most expensive meal I’ve ever had? With Angie. Hehe
The next cheese class is August 5th!