Beer at Joe’s header image 2

Slam-dunk pairings: Wine and cheese seminar

By Jasmine · August 14th, 2009 · 1 Comment

I love cheese to the point of obsession. I dream about cheese. I read newletters about cheese. I work in cheese. However, I know almost nothing about wine. In the last three years (since moving to San Francisco), I have learned the basic broad strokes of wine: Merlot is red and big and chocolatey, Pinot is red and fruitier, Cabernet is red and tastes weird and dry, etc, etc. So I was really excited to go to this pairings seminar with Laura Werlin and Christie Dufault of RN74.

I wound up waiting a half hour to get in–apparently there had been some issues with supplies. At least there were no other tastings or anything I had to make it to after. And you could tell that a rowdier crowd in back had spent too long at the cocktail section of the tasting tent. But other than that, the whole thing was pretty great.

Cheese and Wine

A few of the most notable pairings were:
Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam and Parr Selection Chardonnay 2007  from Sanford & Benedict Vineyard in California’s Santa Rita Hills. Christie actually called this pairing “the pride and joy of California.” The wine was unbelievable. It smelled and tasted like chocolate, with hints of carmel, full-bodied and creamy. It was NOT fruity, oaky, or buttery. I have to figure out how to get this wine. It’s sort of confusing as to where this wine actually comes from and where you can get it, but I’ll figure it out. I’m generally willing to work for alcohol.

Laura and Christie explain how the pairing between the Piedmont from Everona Dairy and the 2007 Straightline Tempranillo (from Lake County & Lodi, California) works:

(Either JavaScript is not active or you are using an old version of Adobe Flash Player. Please install the newest Flash Player.)
beeratjoes.com – Slam Dunk Pairings: Cheese & Wine from beeratjoes on Vimeo.

You can tell we were having a lot of fun. I agree with Laura at the end–I think the cheese in this case was a bit overwhelmed by the wine. Piedmont is definitely toward the mild end of sheep’s milk cheese.

My favorite pairing was Bohemian Blue (a sheep’s milk blue from Hidden Springs Creamery in Wisconsin) and a 2007 Jackson-Triggs Proprietor’s Reserve Vidal Icewine. You know how almost any kind of blue cheese gets better when you drizzle honey all over it? Drinking an icewine (or any kind of desssert wine, I imagine) holds to the same principle. The sweetness cuts the bluing, and vice versa, so that you never get tired of either one. Laura pointed out that you can actually feel it in your glands–the acidity in the wine makes you salivate immediately.

All the cheeses but one were ones I’d already had, which was actually very nice–it allowed me to really focus on the wine–but both women clearly knew their stuff. I even learned things about some of the cheeses.

 Tasting

Tags: Beer & Food · Non-Beer Beverages · Tastings

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Stewart // Aug 20, 2009 at 8:49 am

    WOW! What a great event – I’ve been to all kinds of “pairing” event but never cheese.