Wine & Cheese 11 at Tory's

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Lineup (not quite. All the whites were chilling on the fridge). Smithsonian Orangutan for my friends who are studying apes.
Blueberry pie from Athan's.

Theme: Sheep's Milk Cheeses (all cheese from Formaggio's)

All of us got a chance to visit Tory at her new apartment and it was lovely :) There is something about red walls (or was it orange) that I absolutely love. This w&c was a little different because the sheep cheeses took center stage and wines were paired with respect to them. Darn! If only I had time to make a sheep's cheese, cheesecake. Wouldn't that be yummy? We had a blueberry pie from Athan's as a finisher and it was a great option because of the tart berries. I did not pick cheese #2 as my favorite (even though it has truffles) because I felt that the truffle's heady aroma overpowered the taste of the cheese. But I went for seconds all the same :P

As always, w&c always begets a wonderful time with friends as more plans and ideas are generated for future gatherings. I always get a giggle when our reader, Ritesh, puts on his *French/German/Italian/European* accent with respect to the wines and end up sounding the same, basically. But I will henceforth hold my peace lest he refuses me an additional splash of dessert wine :)  

Tory's Pairings after the jump with my favorites in highlight. Bread as always, from Clear Flour Bakery. 

(Sources: Wikipedia,, Brookline Liquor Mart tasting notes, winemakers’ websites)

1st: Brebirousse d’Argental (Cheese Style: Soft-ripened, bloomy rind. Flavor Profile: Mild)
A soft-ripened sheep's milk cheese from the Auvergne region of France which has been dusted with b. linens molds to encourage the distinctive orange color on the rind. It is mildly aromatic, has a creamy interior, and a smooth mild flavor.
Paired with:  Huber Grüner Veltliner 2008, Austria
Grüner Veltliner is a variety of white wine grape variety grown primarily in Austria and in the Czech Republic. It has a reputation of being a particularly food-friendly wine.  For this vintage in particular: An open nose; ripe apple/pear aroma is largely fresh in tone with just a hint of baked fruit.  A touch of vanilla, spice, and floral notes add a nice background.  Good body, some richness, almost creamy in texture, dry, with very good acidity.

2nd: Pecorino di Pienza Marzolino al Tartufo (Cheese Style: Semi-firm. Flavor Profile: Mild)
Pecorino is the name of a family of hard Italian cheeses made from ewe's milk. The word derives from pecora meaning ‘sheep’. For this varietal of Pecorino in particular: from Tuscany, Pecorino Tartufo is an old style of pressed sheep milk cheese.  This sheep's milk cheese is softer than its counterparts, and studded with black truffles, lending the musky, earthy flavor which makes this cheese delicious for shaving over pastas and salads. The smooth toothsome texture gives the Pecorino Tartufo a long shelf life. The cheese is a versatile pairing partner for many wines.
Paired with:  Hugel Pinot Gris 2006, Alsace, France
Pinot gris is a white wine grape variety of the species Vitis vinifera. Thought to be a mutant clone of the Pinot noir grape, it normally has a grayish-blue fruit, accounting for its name ("gris" meaning "grey" in French). The word "Pinot", which means "pinecone" in French, could have been given to it because the grapes grow in small pinecone-shaped clusters. For this vintage in particular: The colour is pale pistachio green with straw yellow hints, young, bright and lively.
It has a nice, fresh bouquet, non-aggressive, very floral – jasmine, hawthorn, lime blossom and frangipane – with smoky, woodland hints – moss, fern, chanterelle and cepes mushrooms.

3rd: Folie Bergère (Cheese Style: Firm. Flavor Profile: Medium)
From New York, this cheese is hand made from small batches with raw ewe’s milk from the cheesemakers’ flock of 100% grass-fed sheep. The cheese is aged in a cheese cave to produce a natural rind. Folie Bergère is firm, made from washed curds, and has a natural rind. It has been aged for over 6 months.
Paired with:  Givry Premier Cru 2007, Burgundy, France
Givry has long been a go-to source for good quality and value in Burgundy. For this vintage in particular: Good saturation/pale at the rim; ruby hue. A moderately open nose; the ripe red cherry aroma is sweet and pure, with a bright, fresh tang and some sappy richness. The fruit comes out on the palate, with ripe red cherry yet still tart freshness, and some dark chocolate/mineral that gives weight to the flavor.

4th: Azeitão (Cheese Style: Washed-rind. Flavor Profile: Medium-strong)
This petite cheese is a D.O.P. cheese made in the south west of Portugal at the foot of the Arrábida mountains.  Azeitão is made from the milk of the Lacuna and Saloia sheep that graze the mountains and valleys of the area.  This cheese is made with milk, salt and the flower of the locally grown cardoon plant (Cynara Cardunculus L.) which acts as a coagulant in place of other types of rennet. In this sense, this cheese (and many others in Portugal) are truly vegetarian. The result is an almost pudding-like texture when ripe and a distinctive flavor that balances the milk flavor with a persistent herbaceousness.
Paired with: Faustino Reserva V Rioja 2001, Spain
From Bodegas Faustino, located in Spain’s Rioja Region. This classic Reserva (92% tempranillo, 8% mazuelo) has a bouquet of ripe cherries, cocoa, and clove. Notes of vanilla and spices contributed by the oak during cask aging. The color is a bright, intense cherry-red with a tawny rim. Medium-bodied with well-integrated tannins make this the perfect complement to all types of meat casserole and hard cheeses.

5th: Bleu des Basques (Cheese Style: Blue. Flavor Profile: Medium-strong)
This is one of Formaggio’s most popular blue cheeses. It is made from 100% sheep milk in the Pyrenees. These verdant hills are full of the wildflowers and fresh grass that give the milk its complexity, subtlety, and lightness. Bleu des Basques has a wonderful combination of earthy spiciness and hints of apricot. When young, it has a beautiful firm pate and small blue-green veins. As it ages it becomes softer, riddled with indigo veining, with a clean, brebis taste and a strong blue finish.
Paired with: Dr. Herrman 2008 Erdener Treppchen Riesling Spätlese – “Herzlay,” Germany.
Spätlese (literal meaning: "late harvest"; plural form is Spätlesen) is a German language wine term for a wine from fully ripe grapes, the lightest of the late harvest wines. For this vintage in particular: An open nose; ripe apple/Riesling aroma is focused and clear, with good freshness, some sappy concentration, and citrus/grapefruit liveliness and spice.  A broad creamy texture, with lots of apple-like flavor, that changes to a less fruity taste in the finish.  The purity of the Riesling fruit and the silky texture are the strong-points of this wine, making for a delightful sipping experience.


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