Since we arrived in the mountains on Sunday we have seen nothing but rain. Today we have a 5 hour window of no rain, but then it is expected to start up again and continue for the remainder of our time here. In an effort to not have the rain affect our time in the mountains, I thought it would be a fun idea to have a wine and cheese pairing party with my brother and husband. I asked each of them to select a wine, research pairings and put together a small tasting station.
To set the stage for this wine and cheese pairing party, I provided the foundations:
- Chalkboard Paper Table Runner
- Chalkboard Markers (for labeling the cheeses)
- Wood Leaves to frame each cheese and add a festive fall touch
- Cheese Knives (Classic Soft Knife and Classic Hard Knife)
- Gold Serving Papers to consolidate the accoutrements for each pairing
The results from this party were fantastic. Below is a breakdown of what each person contributed (Wine, Cheese and Accoutrements).
Napa Cellars, Cabernet Sauvignon
As soon as I announced this party, my brother immediately called dibbs on Napa Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon. This particular wine is full bodied and complex. It has notes of dark fruits, cinnamon and a hint of tobacco. In general, Cabernets tend to be on the heavier side, so my brother looked for more of a neutral cheese with deeper flavored pairing accoutrements. Typically you find that cabernet sauvignons pair best with flavors that match in intensity like espresso gelato, juniper berries, red meats, robust cheeses. Below is a breakdown of what my brother decided to pair with this wine.
Phantom by Bogle, Red Blend
My husband decided that his wine contribution would be Phantom by Bogle (a current favorite of ours). Phantom is red blend consisting primarily of Petite Sirah and Zinfandel grapes tend to be on the fruitier/full-bodied side. Petite Sirah's and Zinfandels tend to pair really well with spicy foods (ex. chili pepper, cajun seasoning). My husband elected to pair this wine with spicier accoutrements (Cajun Peanuts and Spicy Plum Chutney), which are recommended with Petite Sirah wines and a sharp cheddar (which is a recommended pairing with Zinfandel wines). Thyme and fresh apple finished off the pairing station as both items go very well with cheddar and the other accoutrements.
La Crema, Chardonnay
Since my brother and husband both chose red wines, I selected a white wine to balance out the spread. Whites are much lighter in flavor and body and tend to have higher acidity (notes of citrus), so I looked for more of a lighter cheese and accoutrements that had fresh bright flavors. This La Crema Chardonnay has a buttery clean taste with hints of peach blossom, meyer lemon, vanilla and yellow plum. The nose is a combination of both oak and citrus. Given the flavor profile of this particular wine, here is what I chose for pairings:
- Cheese: Cypress Grove's Sgt. Pepper Chèvre
- Accoutrements: Fresh Sage, Simple & Crisp Dried Pear Crisps, Truffle Marcona Almonds, Fresh Blackberries and Eat This Peach Habanero Preserves
- Additional Pairing Ideas: Basil, Tarragon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Saffron, Citrus, Fish (ex. Smoked Salmon), Apple, Brie, Gouda and Compte.
While the pairings may have not been textbook (traditional pairing combinations), they were still delicious and I loved all of the new ideas shared on what to serve with each wine. This party ended up being a major success with my brother and husband. They both had a great time researching and sharing their various contributions with the group. As well it was also fun to get to try an assortment of wine and cheese pairings. This party idea is great idea for fall and can work both indoors or outdoors (although I would recommend outdoors if your weather permits because its always nice to have a reason to be outside…especially before winter sets in and we all go into hibernation mode).