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Adam Balic

Wine and Cheese

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Well I have a proffer on the cheeses. Do we want to add more or be more specific about the Brie? I'm thinking that four or five wines with four cheeses makes about twenty pairings, which is a lot to write up.

Brie

Cheddar (Keen's, Mongomery or Isle of Mull)

Epoisses (or L'Ami du Chambertin, or Soumaintrain) - all Berthaud I'm assuming

Roquefort or Lanark Blue

Anyone want to change the cheese list? If not, let's hear from the grape-botherers. I am thinking we could do this over the course of the next week, and agree roughly when we should post the results (so as to reduce extraneous influences!).

Bobbie's disqualified because she never wants me to drink red wine with cheese. :raz::raz::raz:


Edited by Wilfrid (log)

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I'm keen to try this too. Are we worried about the age of the cheese? Firstly, how mature it is when it's bought, and also that it might change a bit over the week?

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How about a structural approach to the wine:

*Big, fruit bomb red, with some oak (Rosemount Diamond Label Shiraz or Rancho Zabaco Zin);

*Lighter, fruit-driven red, no oak (Dubouef Beaujolais-Villages);

*Light bodied red with some tannin (having trouble here - thinking a low-end Bordeaux - maybe Greysac - or a young Rioja - maybe Montecillo Crianza - Craig might have some Italian suggestions (Monte Antico?);

*Dry, oak-free white (something from Alsace might work here - one of the generic Trimbach wines - Riesling or Pinot Blanc - or maybe Hugel Gentil?);

*White with some residual sugar (having trouble here also - is there a widely available New World Riesling? Germany presents availability problems.).

More suggestions please.

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At Wilfrid's suggestion, I'd be glad to take the initiative on suggesting wines. Perhaps someone else can take the lead on cheeses?

Below are some general categories of wines, as well as some specific recommendations of wines that are available in New York at Chambers St. Wines (I have no affiliation with the store, but am a frequent, loyal and satisfied customer). Their website lists most of their inventory at www.chambersstwines.com.

To narrow the list, I'd suggest people pick 2, 3, or 4 of the following options:

1) A crisp white like an unoaked Chardonnay or a Loire Sauvignon Blanc:

Chardonnay: Any Chablis by Picq, Boudin or D'Auvissat (in increasing magnitude of price---starting at $20 and going upwards). Brits should look out for any Chablis by Tribut, especially the Beauroy. Vintage-wise, look for 2000 but any other will do just fine. If you want to go much gentler on the wallet, try Jean-Paul Brun's 2002 Beaujolais Terres Doreés at $10.99, which is fruitier and more up-front than a Chablis, but it shows no oak and has good acidity.

Loire Sauvignon Blanc: Any of the Sancerres by Crochet, Vatan or, especially, the Thomas Labaille "Cuvee Buster" (that's the one with the dog on the neck-label). These range from around $15 to $30.

2) A white with some sweetness in it like a 2001 German Riesling Kabinett or Spatlese or a demi-sec Vouvray:

Riesling: The Darting and Selbach-Oster Kabinetts offered by Chambers Street are good ($13-$17). All of the Selbach-Oster Spatlesen from 2001 that I've tried have also excellent. If you can find any of the JJ Christoffel or Donnhoff 2001s elsewhere, they'd be a bit more pricy ($20-$35) but they are delicious. Other things to look for elsewhere in the value category are any of the 2001 Kabinetts or Spatleses by Strub, which are usually $12-$20.

Vouvray: Pinon's Cuvee Tradition or Chidaine's Montlouis "les Truffeaux" ($15 each) or, if you can find it somewhere else, a Huet Demi-Sec ($18-$20?) would be great.

3) A light-to-medium bodied red wine, like Burgundy or a Loire Cabernet Franc.

Bourgogne: Marechal's Bourgogne Cuvee Gravel is my choice here ($17), but it might also be worth trying one of the Fichet Bourgognes ($14-$18). Other suggestions if you are looking elsewhere would be to find one of the Drouhin wines from Chambolle Musigny or Volnay.

Loire Cabernet Franc: Any of the Bourgeuils or Chinons by Baudry, Breton or Olga Raffault ($12-$23).

4) A more heavy-bodied red wine with some tannin, like a Cabernet-Sauvignon based wine from Bordeaux or California or a Syrah based wine from the Northern Rhone.

Cabernets: Someone else should make a suggestion here, as I don't really know of any good values.

Syrahs from the Northern Rhone: Texier's Chusclan is a very good buy at $12. Elsewhere you could look for a Crozes Hermitage by Graillot or by Gilles Robin, which are both excellent and usually under $20. If you are willing to spend more, try any Cote Rotie (personal favorite producers are Jamet, Ogier and Gallet).


Edited by MartyL (log)

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Oops, below posted before reading Marty = let me think so more.

Good suggestions, Robin. I think most of us should be able to get hold of Rosemount Shiraz, the Montecillo and the Duboeuf, and they're not wildly expensive. I don't know if we're all going to get the same years, although it would be good to hear suggestions as to the year we should aim for.

I wonder if a Trimbach Riesling is a good contender for a dry white. Maybe we don't want anything drier than that.

As to the age of the cheese, I fear this is going to be imprecise. I strongly urge people to try to find cheddar's which are minimally blue-veined and not too dry. In other words, not too aged. I don't claim that an old cheddar can't kill a wine. But it's hard to find medium-aged cheddars in New York.

As for the cheeses in the Epoisses style, please look for samples which haven't shrivelled up. If the perimeter of the cheese is nowhere near its box, it has started shrinking and drying up. Something closer to a flush fit should be sought. Brie - again not too old, not looking for that ammonia smell.


Edited by Wilfrid (log)

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Montrachet, Brut Champagne.

Brie, Chenin Blanc.

Pont-l'Evequê, Barbaresco.

Agree, disagree?

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I hadn't seen Robin's helpful post before I pushed the button on mine, but here are some quick thoughts:

*Big, fruit bomb red, with some oak (Rosemount Diamond Label Shiraz or Rancho Zabaco Zin);

*Lighter, fruit-driven red, no oak (Dubouef Beaujolais-Villages);

I can't say I really care for any of these wines on their own. Some alternative suggestions I would offer would be the Dashe Zinfandel in the "fruit-bomb" category or the Brun Beaujolais L'Ancien in the lighter, fruit-driven red category (although there I really think the Marechal I mentioned above would sing).

*Light bodied red with some tannin (having trouble here - thinking a low-end Bordeaux - maybe Greysac - or a young Rioja - maybe Montecillo Crianza - Craig might have some Italian suggestions (Monte Antico?);

I don't know these wines, but they sound like good suggestions to add into the mix as an alternative to the Loire Cab Francs.

*Dry, oak-free white (something from Alsace might work here - one of the generic Trimbach wines - Riesling or Pinot Blanc - or maybe Hugel Gentil?);

These suggestions sound great. I personally prefer Trimbach, but YMMV.

*White with some residual sugar (having trouble here also - is there a widely available New World Riesling? Germany presents availability problems.).

See my suggestions of Germans and Demi-Sec Loires above.

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Good suggestions, Robin. I think most of us should be able to get hold of Rosemount Shiraz, the Montecillo and the Duboeuf, and they're not wildly expensive. I don't know if we're all going to get the same years, although it would be good to hear suggestions as to the year we should aim for.

I hate to sound like a quibbler or a wine-snob (then again, isn't that what internet BBs are for?), but I'm not sure I'm too crazy about the idea of choosing only widely available mass-produced industrial wines for this exercise. While I understand the appeal of having a more controlled experiment, I'd personally sacrifice that value in the service of having wines that are more appealing.

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Wilfred suggested:

Brie

Cheddar (Keen's, Mongomery or Isle of Mull)

Epoisses (or L'Ami du Chambertin, or Soumaintrain) - all Berthaud I'm assuming

Roquefort or Lanark Blue

Although I dearly love a good Epoisses, lately I've found it hard to find one in good condition round these parts. I do appreciate the tip on watching the distance between the rim of the cheese and the edge of the box.

What about including a double or triple cream (like Pierre Robert)? It seems to me the difference between reds and whites with a cheese like that would likely be pretty dramatic.

I wonder if people in the NYC area would be interested in gathering, perhaps at Artisanal, some evening next week to taste some of these combinations together. If there is interest, I would be glad to inquire about corkage and reservations and procure the wines.

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I think that there needs to be a wine that have more residual sugar then any of the wines metioned. Need not be white at all. Since we plenty of suggestions of dry reds, I would be in favour of dropping a Syrah or cabernet in favour of a Port/Banyuls etc.

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Point taken Marty: why don't we keep it free and easy, because I just have it in mind that some people will be able to get hold of the Rosemount easier than the Marechal? I suggest we choose some generics and then edit the specific suggestions into the list.

I am very much against dropping the Syrah/Shiraz option. I find Banyuls to be a bit of quirky customer; personally I'd be bored pairing port with cheese (maybe just me). I'd favor a sweet white - a Monbazillac, a Muscat, a Moscato? I'm okay with Marty's suggestions too. Is it just me, or is the Riesling a bit of an odd candidate as the only "dry" white?

Cheeses. Marty, you're right. Scratch the Epoisses. I'd have bought myself a nice Soumaintrain, but that may be tricky to find for a lot of people. I'd go with a Pierre Robert instead (Brillat-Savarin and Explorateur would be alternatives in that category).

I really want to keep the Brie, because tourists like Craig and Adam have had a lot of trouble with that notoriously hard to pair cheese. :raz:

We're getting there.


Edited by Wilfrid (log)

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I sense an inherent conflict between the "engineers" (gritty, determined, perhaps even heroic individuals willing to make the ultimate sacrifice and drink mediocre wine in the interest of consistent and reliable results) and the "aestheticists" (soft, self-indulgent, probably even pasty-faced vermin who want to remain safely ensconced in their ivory towers even if it means we spend days arguing about whose Syrah was oakier or higher in alcohol :raz: ).

It's time to take sides :wink: !

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Can't I be an aesthetic engineer?

Instead, I'll just be silent, so that the playas can vote instead of having more opinions to contend with.

When decisions have been made, I shall humbly sit back and sip and taste cheese and record my opinions.

Besides, my husband, the wine guy in our house, is otherwise occupied.

He did add a comment though that drinking a type of wine and cheese (as opposed to specific instances) may enable us to draw generic conclusions - everyone likes a chablis with goat cheese. Although I find it unlikely that that will happen with an eGullet group, it's a good thought!

This is exciting. I can't wait to go cheese shopping. I live a block away from the best delis in the country.

www.zingermans.com

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As an extra thought, consider Domaine des Griottes « Les Fins de Vendanges » lateish harvest Pineau d’Aunis from the Loire. Intense fruit, some rs, great acid, lovely stuff with a variety of strongly flavored cheeses.

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I am very much against dropping the Syrah/Shiraz option.  I find Banyuls to be a bit of quirky customer; personally I'd be bored pairing port with cheese (maybe just me).  I'd favor a sweet white - a Monbazillac, a Muscat, a Moscato?  I'm okay with Marty's suggestions too.  Is it just me, or is the Riesling a bit of an odd candidate as the only "dry" white?

My intention was to drop one of several suggested dry tannic red in favour opening up a different wine/cheese combination catorgorie. I would be interested to see how a X sweet+acid wine pairs with Blue cheese in comparison to Y Dry red tannic wine. I am guessing that some people will find that in the latter case the blue cheese will bring out a bitter/metallic flavour in the red wine. But, we will never know unless we make a comparison.

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I really want to keep the Brie, because tourists like Craig and Adam have had a lot of trouble with that notoriously hard to pair cheese.  :raz:

We're getting there.

Yawn, ah but this tourist would never make such a sweeping generalisation as:

as I find red wine with Brie, Camembert, Livarot - and so on - perfectly acceptable (as does the population of Normandy)

Brie is for tourists. Horrid generic pap for the most part. Give me Epoisses/Munster/Livarot or give me death :smile: .

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I really want to keep the Brie, because tourists like Craig and Adam have had a lot of trouble with that notoriously hard to pair cheese. :raz:

We're getting there.

Yawn, ah but this tourist would never make such a sweeping generalisation as:

as I find red wine with Brie, Camembert, Livarot - and so on - perfectly acceptable (as does the population of Normandy)

Brie is for tourists. Horrid generic pap for the most part. Give me Epoisses/Munster/Livarot or give me death :smile: .

obviously, you've never had brie de meaux au lait cru. vacation traveling sightseeer!

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obviously, you've never had brie de meaux au lait cru. vacation traveling sightseeer!

Best thing to happen to Brie was Marie Harel.

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Actually, "chevre" is French for 'goat', so if one is wearing his pedantic pants today, one might jolly well try to put a both legs in them.

HA! that was the funniest thing i've seen here in a while.

and this is the coolest idea i've seen in a while.

luckily wilfrid clued me in to this thread over a pint last night. i had been ignoring it as i figured it was just another thread with 3 people arguing about "right" way to enjoy wine and cheese. i'm very pleased, and excited, to see that i was wrong.

i'm in.

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Domaine des Griottes « Les Fins de Vendanges » lateish harvest Pineau d’Aunis from the Loire. Intense fruit, some rs, great acid, lovely stuff with a variety of strongly flavored cheeses.

Sounds delicious---and at $12.99 a pretty gentle price too.

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As an extra thought, consider Domaine des Griottes « Les Fins de Vendanges » lateish harvest Pineau d’Aunis from the Loire.  Intense fruit, some rs, great acid, lovely stuff with a variety of strongly flavored cheeses.

Strangely I was speaking to two French friends of mine about cheese and wine matching and they both suggested Pineau d’Aunis as an excellent choice. Sadly, it isn't availible in Edinburgh to my knowledge.

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luckily wilfrid clued me in to this thread over a pint last night.  i had been ignoring it as i figured it was just another thread with 3 people arguing about "right" way to enjoy wine and cheese.  i'm very pleased, and excited, to see that i was wrong.

i'm in.

Silly duffer, there is a vital ingredient missing from this thread for the 'three people arguing about the "right" way to do X' to take off.

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OK, I have now have my wine to taste with the blue cheese,

'JOSEPH RIESLING-TRAMINER SOUTH AUSTRALIA LA MAGIA, 1998'.

I think that it should have enough acid and sweetness to contrast with the salty blue cheese, but I will see and report back on what I thought and also what other people thought of the combination.

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Strangely I was speaking to two French friends of mine about cheese and wine matching and they both suggested Pineau d’Aunis as an excellent choice. Sadly, it isn't availible in Edinburgh to my knowledge.

Well, tell Zubair to get on the case!

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OK, had the cheese and wine tasting on Friday. Fourteen cheese and wine combination, wine tasted blind and the identity of the cheeses un-known. Notes were taken on each wine and cheese combination, points given for best cheese, wine and wine and cheese combination.

Interestingly the major conclusion for the evening was that it was very difficult to match wine and cheese, especially dry red and cheese.

The cheeses were one Brie, two goats cheeses (one ash coated, one made as a Camembert style), numerous farm house cheddars (including two Isle of Mull of different ages) and three blue cheeses.

The wines were one NZ Sav. Blanc, numerous dry red all clarets, except for one St. Joseph, three sweeter wines.

Best cheese went to a French Farmer washed rind cows milk, brought over from Condrieu by a French chap who was at the tasting. This was matched with a 1999 St. Joseph, which was a lovely wine, but a poor match with the cheese.

Best wine was a sweet Juracon, really a lovely wine. This was matched with a French cows milk, un-salty blue cheese, again the combination did not work.

Best combination was a Roquefort with an Australian botrytis Semillion/Rhiesling blend (note that neither cheese or wine by themselves won any votes, but as a combination they recieved 12 out of 14 votes). Sadly, this combination was won by my wife who, as I mentioned in my first post, stole this idea from me. Damn her. :biggrin:

I won no votes. :sad:


Edited by Adam Balic (log)

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