Showing posts with label Pierre Frick. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pierre Frick. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

By the Glass - Domestic Cheese Edition

We've been delving further into domestic cheeses lately with some very good results, mostly. It continues to fascinate me, the challenge of pairing wine with cheese. In my opinion, which in this case is even less well informed than most of my other opinions, red wine is just too difficult to pair with cheese. They both tend to have such powerful aspirations, how can they avoid doing battle with one another? I find myself wanting to drink whites with cheese, the only question being whether or not the wine should have residual sugar. We've tried the cheeses I mention below several times, with various wines. Here are a few recent pairings that worked. Please feel free to chime in with any suggestions of your own.

Jasper Hill Farm Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese, paired with 2002 Domaine du Closel Savennières Moëlleux Les Coteaux, $28, Louis/Dressner Selections. Jasper Hill Farm might be the last great hope for artisanal cheese in Vermont. Mateo and Andy Kehler raise their own cows and make their own cheeses, but they also cellar small-batch cheeses made by other dairy farmers, including the famous Cabot's Cloth Bound Cheddar. Their Bayley Hazen Blue is a raw milk cheese that's aged for at least four months, and it is distinguished by its great balance. Not too salty, not too sweet, this cheese tastes of fresh butter, with herbs and roast nuts. It is crumbly and dense, not creamy like St. Agur. There are many wines that would be great with this cheese, but after one nibble, I knew that I wanted something sweet. The wines of the Savennières appellation are typically dry, but in 2002 the Domaine du Closel made a sweet wine. It was a great match, the herbal flavors of the wine enhancing the same flavors in the cheese. The rich, somewhat viscous texture of the wine enhancing the cheese's lean and sprightly characteristics. I've had this wine as an apértif in the past year, and it was far better with cheese than it was on its own.

Jasper Hill Constant Bliss, paired with 2007 Paul Pernot Bourgogne Blanc, $18, Jean-Marie de Champs Selections. This is a Chaource-style (in the Champagne region) cow's milk cheese. It is aged longer than Chaource cheeses (thank you, flavorful bacteria-averse FDA regulations), and the Jasper Hills folks say that it doesn't really resemble the cheeses of Chaource. This is delicious cheese, plain and simple. The best wine pairing I've found so far is the fabulously over-achieving everyday Bourgogne by Paul Pernot, which in the classic vintage of 2007 manages to be both lighthearted and serious. It shows hints of everything that makes white Burgundy wine so great - ripe fruit, delicate floral and stony aromas, and inner layers of texture that fade in and out.

Scholten Family Farms Weybridge, paired with 2007 Agnès et René Mosse Anjou Blanc, $18, Louis/Dressner Selections. This cheese is aged at the Cellars at Jasper Hill. It is a pasteurized cow's milk cheese with a bloomy rind, aged for 20-30 days. It quite sensibly ripens from the outside in, offering a lovely contrast between the creamy outer layer and the more chalky inner paste. I found the texture to be the most interesting thing about this cheese. The flavors are nice too, but more simple. The Mosse Anjou Blanc was nice here, its earthy and woolly notes adding complexity that I found the cheese to lack. Somehow, though, the wine showed almost no acidity when paired with the cheese. Strange...

Meadow Creek Dairy Grayson, paried with 2006 Pierre Frick Sylvaner Cuvée Classique, $13, Fruit of the Vines Imports. This is a raw milk washed rind cheese from the mountains of south-western Virginia, made somewhat in the style of the classic Italian Taleggio. Meadow Creek Dairy practices an earth-friendly form of cattle farming and cheese making. I have no data to back this up, but I hereby assert that Meadow Creek dairy is partially responsible for the fact that in the recent Presidential election, the great state of Virginia voted Democratic for the first time since 1964. In any case, this is delicious cheese. It is not a runny washed rind cheese, it retains its bouncy form even after several hours at room temperature. It is pungent, but not at all overpowering, with grassy and fruity flavors. Better to cut around the rind though, in my opinion, as it offers little to no flavor, and it adds an unpleasant brittle, waxy texture. Frick's bone-dry Sylvaner is great with this cheese. The floral aromas bookend the pungent, buttery cheese perfectly, and the almost startlingly dry wine accentuates the cheese's clean grassy flavors.