Saturday, November 8, 2014

Wine Merchant Cheese Class November 2014

The Wine Merchant in Clayton is now on the second round of going through the top cheesemaking countries so for the second time this year, I attended a "USA" themed cheese class. This makes sense since there are so many cheeses to go through! While cheese making hasn't been around as long in the United States, there are still plenty to choose from and always something new to taste.

American Cheeses
I was thrilled that the first cheese of the night was the Midnight Moon, which if you know, is my all time favorite. It's a goat cheese, but firm due to aging and has a rich, nutty flavor. I learned tonight that this cheese is made in a gouda style, so that probably adds to the heavy flavors. 

Normally I tell people to pair this with red wine because because of its strong flavor, so I was surprised this was paired with a Bonny Doon Riesling 2013. Even more suprising is that this Riesling came from a southern California winery, but it was explained to me that the grapes come from all over the eastern United States. So two of my favorites together means a top pairing in my book.

Next up was the Domaine Napa Chardonnay 2012 and this was also a good pairing because the rich oaky wine was able to match the coffee flavors in the Barely Buzzed cow cheese. 

The first red wine was a soft Mahoney Pinor Noir Carneros 2011, which is well known for its "French-style" lightness, but I thought it still had plenty of body to stand up to the Pleasant Ridge Reserve, a raw cow cheese that is similar to a cheddar.

We went upscale on the next two wines: Silver Peak Cabernet 2011 and a Ramey Syrah Sonoma Coast 2012. Both were necessary to pair with the soft and rich, brie-like Kunik (a mix of goat and cow's milk), and the pungent, cow's milk Ameribella, which was hard for me to get through.

I had a much easier time with the Rogue River Blue, which paired really well with the jammy Austin Hope Troublemaker. I instantly thought this would make for a good Thanksgiving wine to stand up to all the rich flavors.


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