Although the summer is over (we’re still hoping for a few days of lingering sunlight),rosés are in fashion all year around. Our wine buyer Ziggy and cheese wiz Kazar put their heads together for an all-seasons pairing.
Ziggy says: Cana’s Feast is a small winery in Carlton, Oregon, sourcing their juice from a number of vineyards in Washington/Oregon AVA’s. They offer some varietals unusual for our area, such as Counoise and Nebbiolo, and some blends, ranging from inexpensive and solid to moderately spendy reserves. Many of their wines have a Northwest/Italian-fusion flair, and names like Bricco Red and Rosato help to clue the buyer into this happy synchronicity.
This is a bold and satisfying rosé. While the label says off-dry, this seems to be an artifact from a previous vintage. The winemaker’s notes say the residual sugar is a mere .2%, and the alcohol content is relatively high at 13.9%. The Rosato this year is dry. There is a hint of rose flower on the nose, which comes through subtly on the palate, along with rich fruit notes of melon and citrus, herbal hints that reminded me of sagebrush, and a mineral undertone. Overall, the wine is bright and crisp, vibrant and elusive, even snappy with a rich mouthfeel and a subtle dusty finish.
Quadrello di Bufala: Made in the Lombardy region of Italy by Quattro Portoni, a cheesemaker specializing in 100% water-buffalo-milk cheeses, Quadrello bears some similarities to Taleggio, another square, sticky, richly flavored Italian cheese. Soft but not runny paste, wonderfully savory and mouthwatering, full flavored, meaty but not stinky (I found some online descriptions of Quadrello did characterize it as stinky; I beg to differ, or else our sample was younger than some). Salty but nicely balanced with the other rich flavors. I ate the rind—something I don’t always do, in spite of having a taste for strong cheeses—and found it delicious.
The pairing: The wine stands up to fattiness of cheese and provides a pleasing counterpoint, but seems to lose some of its complexity. Ideally I would pair Cana’s Feast Rosato with a selection of cheeses including the Quadrella di Bufala, but with some sharper and runnier cheese as well. We chose the Rosato for this pairing with the awareness that the combination wasn’t perfect; it nonetheless seemed like a fun and interesting intersection of tastes. Most online suggestions for pairing suggest sweetish white wines like Riesling; this seems like a reasonable suggestion.
Kazar says: Cana’s Feast Rosato: meaty, with flavors of hibiscus & subtle red fruit.
Quadrello di Bufala: bold & sharp, full-flavored with complex grassy tones, semi-soft and and slightly coarse texture. The sequence on the palate is sharp nuttiness, then complex grass notes. The soft, coarse texture leads into smooth mouth feel, the acids & meat tones finishing with the floral layers.
Pairing: A well-balanced dance of flavors. The sharpness of the cheese is complemented by the acid and strength of the wine’s meat-like notes, the floral notes swim through the upper palate while the soft and slightly coarse texture of the cheese gives way to the wine’s silky mouthfeel.
We both found the contrasts of taste and texture to be very enjoyable, whatever the weather!
Jaillance Crémant de Bourgogne Brut and Delice de Bourgogne
Reviewed by Ziggy, Kiva Beer & Wine, and Josh, Kiva Deli Manager
Together: The wine and cheese combined very well; I didn’t experience any of the negative effects that bloomy-rind (and blue) cheeses can have when paired with wine (like a moldy or otherwise off aftertaste) and found that the wine refreshed my palate so that the next bite of cheese was as fresh as the first, while the cheese brought out a richness in the wine that made it resonate to a deeper note. I would like this pairing equally well before or after dinner.
Any good couple is greater than the sum of its individual parts. That is just what you get with this marvelous duo from Burgundy.
A triple crème with over 75 per cent butterfat, Delice de Bourgogne is one of the world’s richest cheeses. It is made of cow’s milk from the famous terroir of the Burgundy region of France, and enhanced with fresh cream, giving it a luxurious, unbeatably-rich profile. When you taste Delice de Bourgogne, you get a smooth, sensual silky mouthfeel, followed by a slightly sharp flavor with subtle floral notes and a lingering salty finish, providing a notable savory experience.
Sparkling wine is a classic pairing for triple crèmes with good merit. The tiny bubbles add beautiful texture that contrasts the silky paste of the cheese. With the bubbles, the dry character of a brut such as the Cremant de Bourgogne contrasts the saltiness of the cheese in an intriguing manner that enhances the enjoyment of the pairing.
So if you have fallen into a rut of romantic predictability with roses and chocolates, try surprising your sweetie this Valentine’s Day with an interactive tasting experience instead. Grab a bottle of bubbly and a rich and delicious triple crème and toast to romantic duos.
Gruyere and Morbier
with Chateau Lugagnac Bordeaux Supérieur
Reviewed by Ziggy (Kiva Beer & Wine) and Josh (Kiva Deli)
The Cheeses: Gruyere and Morbier
Gruyere, a classic Swiss cheese, is made with raw milk and has a big, vibrant, slightly sweet and nutty flavor. This is a perfect cheese for the holidayseason, whether for a cheese plate or everyone’s favorite, fondue. It is wonderful for cooking, whether melting over croutons for French onion soup or used in a gratin. Its versatility and big flavor makes this cheese a favorite.
This month Josh and Ziggy, our representatives from the Deli and the Wine Department respectively, tried pairing Seeing Red Cabernet and Perrydale Aged Gouda from Salem’s Willamette Valley Cheese Company.
Welcome to the latest edition to our blog: monthly wine and cheese pairings brought to you by Ziggy our wine buyer and Josh our cheese monger. We hope to educate and entice.
This month, we bring you Port and Stilton.
Josh: Stilton, England’s only name-protected cheese, is the pride of the British cheese-making culture. It is known world-wide by fans as the “King of Cheese”. It is made of full-cream cows milk from iron-rich pastures in select counties, and has a full, complex flavor. Stilton’s texture is creamy yet it crumbles nicely for salads or little snack-sized morsels. It is a beautiful aged blue with a signature naturally-forming crusty rind.
Port wine and Stilton is one of the classic pairings. The sweet complexity of the wine compliments the full salty flavor of the cheese without getting lost in it, creating a backdrop that helps to exhibit the layered flavor profile of the cheese. Try this combination for a gastronomic experience fit for a king. At the Kiva we offer Long Clawson Stilton, $15.45 per pound. Also try the Shropshire Blue, (Stilton’s cousin), which is $15.60 per pound.
Ziggy: While American Port-style wines are often given that name, true Port is a product of the Douro Valley in Portugal, which has been famous for production of these wines since the 18th Century. It is a fortified wine, meaning that during production the fermentation is halted by the addition of neutral grape spirits, which results in higher residual sugar and alcohol content.
American “Ports” we have include Marietta Port from California (excellent but out of stock right now); Alex Eli “Conversation” Port from Oregon ($15.75 for 375 ml, 100% Sangiovese. An ethereal and moderately sweet Port-style wine which would pair well with many blue cheeses–I would recommend trying it with Oregonzola), and Terra d’Oro Zinfandel Port ($10.50 for 375 ml. I balk at calling this Port, though it is an excellent Zinfandel dessert wine which would pair well with many sharp cheeses).
Other wines which pair well with Stilton and other pungent blues include sweet sherries and dessert Muscat wines.
Other classic pairings with Port include chocolate (especially dark chocolate) and rich chocolate desserts and smoked sausage and fish.