Saturday, July 23, 2011

Top Ten Wine and Cheese Pairings 2011

Whole Foods Galleria just announced their top ten wines, which are on sale at the store, and so our fearless leaders, Michael and Dave (the wine and cheese experts) picked out six pairings for this month’s theme.

This class worked out really well because there was a lot of variety and the pairings really stood out more so than any wine or the cheese by themselves.

We started with the lightest cheese, of course, Bucherondin, which was a creamy French goat cheese that totally coated the roof of my mouth like peanut butter.
Luckily, Dave handed out an orange blossom honey to go on top of the cheese and it was paired with a Savignon Blanc to help cut through the cream. The sweet, fruity flavors of the honey as well as a wine with higher acidity really helps.

The Manchego, Spain’s most popular cheese, was aged six months and Dave claimed that it had a “buttery” taste, but I think it was still plenty dry. This too was passed with a quince jelly to add some sweetness. This was paired with a Spanish wine (wines and cheese from similar areas go well together), but I was surprised that it was a Chardonnay. So no heavy oak or buttery taste since it’s from Europe as compared to California's version.

The next two were cheddars, which I just love due to their sharp flavor! First up was a Seaside Cheddar that was not near as sharp as the second one, a Grafton Reserve Cheddar. Dave passed around a cherry-flavored preserve but the cherry’s fruitiness was a bit too strong. Now I know cheddar is sharp but I want the full effect of that, not the fruit flavor. I preferred both cheddars by themselves, especially with their wines. The Seaside Cheddar was paired with a Pinot Grigio from Argentina and the Grafton Reserve Cheddar (aged two years and quite sharp) was paired with a very smooth Malbec. It had to be one of my favorite pairings of the night.

Next up was another excellent cheese, and one that Dave has picked out at least once or twice before because it is so tasty. P’tit Basque is a light and creamy sheep’s milk cheese, and it was paired with a very dry red wine from Italy in an effort to cut the creaminess but I let the cheese stand on its own this time.

The last pairing was a traditional Blue d’Auvergne that I only took a little bite from, of course.

The best part about class? Plenty of leftover cheese.