Sunday, February 14, 2010

February St. Louis Cellars

Last Tuesday I went to St. Louis Cellars ( for their monthly wine tasting and I was happy to see Angie Ortmann/STLWinegirl ( there as well. It turns out that she will be teaching classes at the NEXT Cellars wine tasting on Wednesday, March 3rd.

This tasting was a little disappointing from the quality of their previous food offerings since they only served appetizers such as two kinds of cheese, strawberries, chips and salsa, pita bread and hummus, bread slices, and chocolate brownies. All of the food went very quickly and the chocolate brownies were a big hit.

They also moved the serving station to behind one of the kitchen counters and there was quite a bit more traffic altogether.

I was running an hour late so I did my best to catch up with my friends in tastings. It’s hard to get a fair taste in when you’re rushed and the snacks don’t hold up to the wine. The white wines were a little bland but the Salvatore Principe Prosecco sparkling wine from Italy was light and delicious. Only cost $17.99.

I actually skipped one of the reds, the Cab (gasp!), to skip ahead to the dessert wine, which was Chocovine from Holland. They were selling it for $13.99 but I found it in Schnucks for $9.99. I think it tasted like a chocolate milkshake with a hint of red wine!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

STLWinegirl and Provisions cheese class

After months of begging Angie, she finally created a cheese pairing class for me at Provisions. Angie really outdid herself because not only did she provide a small plate of the raw cheeses, she also had Chef Scott Phillips come up with a dish with a cooked version of the cheese.

In addition to the pairings, Angie also provided some cheese facts for us:

--China is the only major country that does not produce any cheese.

--The U.S. is the largest producer of cheese but most of it is sold domestically.

--This was also the first class where there was no bacon! Hehehe

1st Pairing:Saint Andre Triple Crème

featured in a puff pastry with a caramelized onion and fig compote Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco

The first pairing was one of my favorites because I tend to prefer lighter wines and cheeses. Triple crèmes just melt in your mouth like butter. I learned that a “double crème” must be 60% milkfat and a “triple crème” must be 75% milkfat.

2nd Pairing:Mt. Vkos Feta

featured in a torta with spinach, sun-dried tomatoes & pine nuts 2008 Frog's Leap Sauvignon Blanc

The feta was paired with the sharp Sauvignon Blanc because the cheese has a high salt contain which helps to cut the acidity of the wine. Much like putting salt around the rim of a margarita.

3rd Pairing:Fontina Cremalpina

featured in a stuffed Italian meatball with a rustic marinara sauce

2008 Damilano Barbera d'Asti, Italy

The fontina had a very mild taste and this went well with the Barbera, which I find to be a mild red, one of the few reds that I like, for that reason.

4th Pairing:Aged Manchego

featured on top a polenta "flatbread" with chorizo

2007 Atteca Old Vines Grenacha, Spain

The aging of a manchego makes the cheese a little sharper, so it stood up pretty well to the Grenacha.

5th Pairing:

Bleu d'Auvergne featured in honey "blue" cheesecake with shortbread crust & candied pecansGraham's "Six Grapes" Reserve Porto

Another great pairing was the "blue" cheesecake with the port. It really pulled the best flavor of the blue cheese and was strong enough to match up to the port. Probably the best non-chocolate cheesecake I have ever had.

Unfortunately, Friday's Wine Merchant cheese class is sold out so it may be awhile before the next class....