Wine & Food

Snooth User: napagirl68

In search of the best book/web source for cheese/wine pairings... have any?

Posted by napagirl68, Apr 2, 2012.

I know what I like to sip...   I know what cheeses I like... How to marry these?   I have searched high and low, mostly on the net, and i typically find generalities and a lot of useless info.  I am looking for someone who knows their stuff and thinks outside the box...  For example,  I have an amazing stilton I bought at a wine shop, paired well, of course, with ports and other sweet wines. But I am wondering if there are more options... for this cheese, other cheeses and other wines.    I am looking for a trusted or liked source of suggestions for pairings that are not necessarily traditional... a renegade of sorts.

I would appreciate any recommondation... blogs, vendor sites, or books.

Cheers!

NG

Replies

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Reply by outthere, Apr 2, 2012.

Stilton? Try a 2007 Scherrer Zinfandel "Old and Mature Vines". This wine loves savory soft cheeses. (Available from Bottle Barn in Santa Rosa)

Good luck on the web source. Too much non-information to sift through to find anything really helpful. Trial and error works best for me. It's more fun too!

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Reply by napagirl68, Apr 3, 2012.

Thanks, Outthere~!    I agree about the internet.. that's why I posted here- except I find it more frustrating than fun.  Hoping that someone who loves that certain reviewer that pairs well will post here....

Thanks for the suggestion... I will try.   This stilton was served at a wine shop in  the Bay area with an amador county port.  I happen to like that particular port quite a bit, but don't drink much port because it is sooo sweet and alcoholic. 

Another issue I am running into is finding pairings for unusual wines.  I have recently rated an Italian wine that I adore... a Marotti lacrima di morro d'alba Rubico that is amazing.. yet I cannot find a reliable source for pairing!   I am so sick of seeing generalities, such as  "rose" with "x".  There are so many rose's..  Same with any other varietal.... they vary so much by location, blending, winemaking, etc. I want to know some SPECIFIC pairings that work well...  Like you provided! Preferrably a blog or book..

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Reply by outthere, Apr 3, 2012.

Uh yeah, good luck wih that! ;-)

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Reply by napagirl68, Apr 3, 2012.

tell me about it!!!

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Reply by JonDerry, Apr 5, 2012.

What wine do you pair with Manchego NG?

I know next to nothing about this, other than cheddar w/ Cabernet Sauvignon?

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Reply by gregt, Apr 5, 2012.

John - there are a few problems. First, the protein in the cheese reacts with the wine to produce effects that may enhance or diminish one or the other. Second, the fat content coats the mouth. Third, especially in young cheese, the milky quality doesn't really always work. Then you have the mold factor in some of them.  So it's really hard to say.  Some blues go with botrytized wines, but those that I prefer, which contain a good deal of sheep milk, are sometimes overwhelming.

Generally people pair softer younger cheeses with whites and hard, dry, older ones with reds, but that's probably way more general than you want. I have a lot of manchego with Spanish wines because that's what people give me but I don't think it's always a great pairing.

My wife like some sharp aged cheddars with certain wines and sometimes they make the wines taste a lot fruitier, but the younger ones don't do a lot. Aged gouda can sometimes make a young Syrah taste like cherries. I like that but it's kind of hit or miss.  Over time we've found things we like and one of them is peanuts with young Cali Cabs, but many people think that's weird.

Good luck on this search but I think you're likely to find a lot of advice that's going to be about as useful as asking people what wine is their favorite. I'm pretty much with Outthere on this one - trial and error!

Here are some thoughts on it if you're interested.

http://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/Hard-Cheese-Old-Man_2956

 

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Reply by Bsberlin22, Apr 5, 2012.

The All American Cheese and Wine book was helpful and enjoyable to read.

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Reply by Gregory Dal Piaz, Apr 5, 2012.

I've got a small set of matches that I put together. I'm going to build a document using them and maybe we use that as a starting point for building a better cheese and wine pairing guide!

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Reply by EMark, Apr 5, 2012.

I'm sorry NG, I do not have a recommedation, but I am going to hijack your conversation to make a few comments.

First of all, I also agree with OT's philosophy.  The fun is the thing.

I also look forward to seeing Gregory DP's document.  It is always fun to read others' ideas--and steal them as my own. ;-).

Here, I may step into it.  I'm pretty much going from memory, but I always thought that the fat in cheese was a good thing.  It disolves quickly in your mouth and it's volitlity spreads flavors throughout.  Now this sounds pretty antithetical to the argument in the WS article that GregT shared and, also, opined by GregT that the fat provides a coating that supresses flavors.  I am now going to argue out of the other side of my mouth and state that I have always felt that most fatty cheeses go very well with highly tannic red wines--i.e., the ones that might leave splinters in your mouth--because the fat cuts the tannic effect.

Any reasonably logical person would see that in the above paragraph, I have argued to opposing opinions--(1) the fat in cheese causes the flavors and characteristics of an accompanying wine to be accentuated, and (2) the fat in cheese causes flavors and characteristics of the wine to be suppressed.  It seems that if one of those statements is true, then the other should be false.

I would be interested to hear more opinions on this.  In the meantime, on Outthere's suggestion, I am going to continue the personal research..

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Reply by napagirl68, Apr 5, 2012.

I am looking forward to GdP's article!!!

Jon,  I have paired manchego with quince paste and Torrontes.  torrontes is from argentina, but this combo is actually popular in argentina, although manchego is considered a "spanish" cheese.  I actually had a thread about a dinner get together where I did just that pairing a few years back. 

That stilton I was talking about tasted DIVINE with an amador port at the shop I was at.  I just don't drink port all that much. 

A terrific pairing I had at an event hosted by Gloria Ferrer Winery was their carneros pinot noir paired with urgelia cheese, imported from Pyrenees of Spain.  Was to die for-earthy, almost truffle-like.  They got it through this distributor (took me forever to track that down!)  http://www.laespanolameats.com

http://www.laespanolameats.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Session_ID=9fd21fb09d3b23375dd1351120236330&Screen=PROD&Store_Code=LEM&Product_Code=2141&Category_Code=RegionalCheeses

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Reply by gregt, Apr 5, 2012.

emark -

"Any reasonably logical person would see that in the above paragraph, I have argued t[w]o opposing opinions"

And what's wrong with that? I do it all day long. Sometimes you even start to believe one of them and you kind of adopt it as your own!

 

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 6, 2012.

Yeah, Greg (DP), enough of the striptease, already! Show us what you got!  ;-)

NG, you'll probably laugh (I did as I sat down to write this), but you could actually do worse than to subscribe to Wallys' (the wine vendor down in L.A.) web offerings. I found it not merely cute that they always offer cheese pairings with every wine offering they mail out. May have something to do with the fact that they also sell cheese, of course, but several of their suggestions have been spoton....

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Reply by EMark, Apr 6, 2012.

I must do a better job of proofreading my epistles.

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Reply by JonDerry, Apr 6, 2012.

Jenny Knotts!

Yeah, I get the e-mails too...they're kind of annoying, but not enough to unsubscribe from the list. Plus, they put out some great cheeses at that Burgundy tasting that I'm willing to look at their offers from time to time. Most are in the $17-39 range.

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Reply by keithmur, Apr 7, 2012.

There was a book called ´Which Wine?´ way out of publication that had amazingly detailed recommendations of wine/cheese pairings.

http://www.amazon.com/Which-Wine-Peter-L-Allen-Sichel/dp/0891040757/ref=sr_1_12?ie=UTF8&qid=1333802574&sr=8-12

Can´t vouch for how good they are, or how pertinent to today´s wine market.

It still listed wines like California ´Claret´, etc.

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Reply by napagirl68, Apr 7, 2012.

Thanks all for the suggestions... I sense a vacuum here, GdP!  Hopefully you can start a whole section on wine/cheese recommendations.  That would be invaluable.

As for experimentation, I am all for that.  BUT, what  don't want to do is spend $$$ on a cheese, and then open some $$$ wines and find they do not pair.  Guess what I am saying is that I need guidance.

My best reference so far has been the awesome cheesemonger, Kelly, at Wine Thieves in Claremont, CA.  I really do think that is key- finding that person who is FIRST an expert in cheese, and also a wine connoisseur.  But I don't get out that way too often.. wish I did cause she is an expert pairer.  I thought someone might be doing a blog of sorts on this, and I could use that.  When I see Kelly again, I am going to suggest she blog on wine/cheese pairings.

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Reply by EMark, Apr 7, 2012.

Well, NG, thank you for two things

  1. Starting this thread to which I offered no meaningful contribution.
  2. Telling me about Kelly.  I live fairly close to Claremont.  I don't normally go there to by groceries, but it should be fairly easy for me to track her down.
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Reply by dmcker, Apr 8, 2012.

Perhaps, NG, you've found a blog niche for yourself, in your vogage of discovery?!

And Mark, if you ever make it to Westwood, the 'Jenny Knotts' that Jon refers to above runs Wally's Cheese Box, and I assume is at least some of the intelligence behind the cheese matches that Wally's offers for its emailed wine offers.

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Reply by EMark, Apr 8, 2012.

Dm/Jon -- I am familiar with Wally's.  I used to work in Westwood, but that was over 20 years ago.  To be honest, I don't have much of a reason to get over to that side of town very often, and, believe me, westside traffic demands that I have a very good reason before I head over there.

On the other hand, it is quite easy for me to get to Claremont and I do so somewhat regularly because there is a nice population of very good reasonably priced restaurants in the village.  In truth, the only reason we've gone over to Claremont in the last few years is to dine. 

Oh shoot, I just tried a web search on "Wine Thieves Claremont" and it appears that NapaGirl was referring to a store off Claremont Avenue in Berkeley.  The Claremont down here is a college town and is a perfectly logical place for a cheese and wine emporium.  In fact my wife worked in a gourmet shop in Claremont when she was in college in the 80s.   I guess, now, I may have to suck it up and travel to Westwood.

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Reply by dmcker, Apr 8, 2012.

Yeah, I'd guessed that about 'Claremont', but was waiting for NG to weigh in. Thus my Westwood Wally's recc. Went to school in Berkeley, but my daughter went to school in your Claremont, Mark, so I'm familiar with both. Certainly have had a few meals and beers and even glasses of wine in that village. Wasn't really expecting to have massive amounts of esoteric cheese-with-wine expertise in one of those storefronts, though. More like music and biking and a few different fields of endeavor, though those are also pretty well covered up in the East Bay.

Understood about the traffic on that side of L.A. Do you guys have any farmer's markets nearby? If not, I'd combine a visit to the cheese store with a sampling of the Santa Monica farmer's market offerings, or something like that. Not speaking about the remainders-of-what-used-to-be next to The Grove at 3rd&Fairfax (though that can be fun sometimes, too, if not as much as in the past), rather the street stalls on whatever day of the week down towards the beach. But I'm a sucker for farmer's markets and visit them everywhere I go and have an extra moment or two....


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