6.28.2009

20 Wines. 10 Cheeses. 1 Night.


Friday night I sipped a lot of vino and nibbled on a lot of cheese at a New York City Wine Class. They have a lot of different types of classes, and of course I took the one that offered food too: 20 Wines. 10 Cheeses. 1 Night. And what a night it was! Here are all of the wines that I tasted, and the cheeses that were paired with them. Please bare with me, as while I did take copious notes, as the night went on my handwriting got a bit tipsy! But before I get down to the nitty gritty (and some were) a few cool facts about wine that I learned:
-There are over 9,000 varieties of grapes!
-The region the wine was produced in influences the taste greatly because it's based on the soil, the climate, the culture, and in most cases whether or not the wine was made in Oak or Steel barrels (more on this later).
-The producer of the wine matters of course. Get this, in the 80's some Austrian winemakers were accused of using antifreeze (very very tiny amount) to make the wine sweeter.
Now, back to the tasting. I couldn't find some of the wines online, and I did not take pictures at the class. Talk about being rude!
SPARKLING

Wine #1) Domaine Gruet, Sparkling Brut, Albuquerque, New Mexico $14 (Prices will vary on all of these FYI)
This is a full-bodied sparkling wine. It's dryer than say a Prosecco which is coming up next.

This wine was lighter and sweeter than the one above. I'm more of a Prosecco gal than a Champagne one so this was more up to my speed.

Cheese #1) Monte Enebro $28 per pound
This is a handmade cheese from Spain. Made from goat's milk and it has an edible rind made from vegetable ash. This was one of my favorite cheeses. This cheese went really well with both wines. It made wine #1 dryer, and wine #2 sweeter so it really complimented them.
MINERAL WHITES (could not find online)
Wine #3) Palacio de Vivero, Verdejo & Viura, Rueda, Spain, 2008 #12
This white was light, acidic (in a good way). I liked this wine better BEFORE I matched it with the cheese.
Wine #4) Marc Aurel, Gruner Veletliner, Carnuntum, Austria, 2008 $13
This white was crisper than the one above and tasted even better with the cheese. This was my favorite of the two.

Cheese #2) Chabichou #16 per mold
A French cheese, very dense and chalky but perfect with the wines above. Definitely melts in your mouth!
OAK VS. STEEL
This was a blind tasting, where we had to guess which wine was made in an OAK barrel, and which was made in a STEEL barrel. Oak barreling tends to give the wine a woody, toasted flavor as the oak is actually toasted prior to storing the wine. Steel tends to keep the wine tangy. Each wine came from the exact same grape, region, and producer. The only difference was the barrel!

This wine was made in the STEEL barrel. It was tangy and fruity.

This wine tastes like most chardonnays that I've had. It had that woodsy taste which I normally don't prefer, but the cheese that went with is was TO DIE FOR.
TIP: Only White Chardonnays and Red Pinot Noirs are made in Burgundy, France.
TIP: Chardonnay is a variety of grape.

Cheese #3) La Tur $12 a piece
This is an Italian cheese made in Piemonte. Triple creme with two textures, edible skin and it was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. If you are having a dinner party, wow your guests with this one! It is so rich and decadent!
AROMATIC WHITES

This wine was very sweet (not dessert sweet). It has a apple/honey taste and there is no sugar. The sweet taste comes from the alcohol.

I really like Riesling on a hot summer day. Needless to say I enjoyed this one a lot. It has a peachy/apricot flavor, but was not as sweet as the Costamolino above.
TIP: Always drink younger whites. In general they do not get better with age as a red would.
TIP: Riesling is a grape.

Cheese #4) Tumbleweed $23 per pound (not worth it)
A Pennsylvania cheese. This was like a cheddar. I was
pretty indifferent to it compared to the previous ones, and it wasn't something to write home about once paired with the wine.
SUMMER ROSES (rosés)

This was crisp and refreshing. I've been to the Wolffer Estate and it's a great place to visit if you are traveling in The Hamptons over the summer.

I preferred this rosé to the Wolffer. It had a fuller, smoother taste.
TIP: Rosés have a bad rap in America for some reason (white zinfandel). But everywhere else it's very common to order.
TIP: The color comes from only keeping the grape skins in the wine for a few days, and then removing them.

Cheese #5) Roncal $22 per pound
This cheese is from Spain. Made of sheep's milk. It's very tasty with the rosés, and it's like a soft parmigiano.
Continued in post below...

20 Wines. 10 Cheeses. 1 Night (Cont'd)

More wine?... Yes please!

TWO PINOTS

Pinot Noir. This varietal was oaky and crisp. Some acidity.










This pinot noir was smoother and creamier than the one above. It had some spice too. I preferred this one.










Cheese #6) Boerenkaas  $18 per pound
Boerenkaas is a Gouda cheese from Holland. It's yellow color is natural (unlike a lot of yellow cheeses).











ZINFANDEL (red)

There was a lot of spice (like pepper), oak, and tang to this red zinfandel. 











Much smoother than the Ravenswood. There were flavors and hints of vanilla and chocolate. %15 alcohol. I preferred this one.









Cheese #7) Oro Antico  $24 per pound
A Tuscan Italian cheese, which literally means "Behold the Old Gold" (oro=Gold, antico=old). It tasted very good with the Limerick Zinfandel.












MONTEPULCIANO

This was my favorite wine of the night! A medium-bodied red with currant, passion fruit, vanilla, spice and everything nice! Smooth and a very clean finish, which is why I think I liked it so much!










This wine was rough. It wasn't bad by any means, but you know that one red that you drank that one night and you felt like a hot mess in the morning? This is the one you probably drank.









Cheese #8) PleasantRidge Reserve  $29 per pound
A Wisconsin that is very smooth. I actually found it to taste better with the olives that were on the table rather than the wines.












OLD WORLD/ NEW WORLD

"Old World" wines, meaning Europe mostly, tend to be more rustic. "New World" wines however are more robust. We were put to the test, tasty two wines blindly, and had to decide which wine was from the Old World and which was from the New World.

Wine # 17) Leydier et Fils, Vindefays du Venduse, Vendus France, 2006 $13
(I could not find a link or picture to this one. Figures because it was in fact OLD WORLD) This wine was medium bodied, but nothing to write home about. In fact it's the only wine that I did not write anything about.

This, of course, was the NEW WORLD wine. I found it to be smoother with more flavor.












Cheese #9) Vella Dry Jack $19 per pound
From California, this cheese is dry and the rind is rubbed with pepper and cocoa.










SWEET, YET BALANCED

This wine was incredibly sweet and almost tasted like brandy or sherry. It was rough. The only one I couldn't finish actually.










This dessert wine was much lighter and crisper than the one above. I enjoyed it.












Cheese #10) Fourme d'Aumbert  $21 per pound
Finally, some foot cheese! From France, and lightly stinky. It tasted great with the Moscato d' Asti!








TIP: To find out if any of these wines are sold at a store near you, go to wine-searcher.com.

This was a great crash course in wine and cheese. I would highly recommend it for anyone that lives or is traveling in NYC! A funny personal note from the class, many people were pouring their wine out when they did not care for it. My boyfriend and I, however, got our money's worth! Just remember to drink lots of water. And no, we did not have hangovers the next morning. Happy tasting!