Thursday, October 25, 2012

Of Bubbles and Butterfat: Four Sparkling Wines To Enjoy with California Cheeses

October is American Cheese Month and we've been celebrating rather, uh... thoroughly. The number of artisanal cheese producers in the United States is exploding these days and Californian cheesemakers in particular have really been breaking out lately often running neck-and-neck with Wisconsin producers at the American Cheese Society's annual competition.

To recognize their success, here are four perfect pairings of J sparkling wines and
California cheeses
  • Andante Nocture with J Vintage Brut. This delicious bloomy-rind cow's milk cheese from the renowned Andante Dairy in Petaluma is less than 3 weeks old when it comes to market. When it's young, it's buttery and spreadable with a subtle earthy character that develops into a rich mushroomy flavor as it ages. This cheese pairs beautifully with our Vintage Brut which has bright pear and citrus characters that play well against the Nocturne's earthy notes.

  • Marin French Gold and J Brut Rosé. A cheese as rich and creamy as Marin French Gold is absolute heaven when enjoyed with a crisp sparkling wine with fresh fruit characters. With its vibrant notes of red berry, blood orange, and lemon peel, our J Brut Rosé is the perfect foil for the decadent butterfat and mild sharpness of this brie-style cheese.

  • Point Reyes Toma and Late Disgorged Vintage Brut. Lucky for us that third generation dairy farmers the Giacomini family chose California to produce their Point Reyes Toma a unique semi-hard cow's milk cheese with distinct grassy notes and tang. This cheese pairs perfectly with our Late Disgorged Vintage Brut because the wine's toasted almond, caramel, and baked bread characters contrast nicely with the pungent qualities of the Toma. 

  • Bellwether Farms Crescenza and J Cuvée Brut. We first encountered the sweetish mild charms of Crescenza at Spoonbar here in Healdsburg, where the bright, vibrant acidity of our J Cuvée Brut played perfect counterpoint to its buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Bellwether Farms here in Sonoma County is now doing a lovely rendition of this Italian favorite and we highly recommend it. We also like Bellwether's mild, buttery Carmody with the J Cuvée Brut so much we put it on our cheese and charcuterie menu.
While we're on the subject of our cheese and charcuterie menu, we should mention it features two other great American cheeses in addition to the Carmody: a nutty goat's milk Cabecou from Laura Chenel and smoky Oregon Blue Vein from Rogue CreameryAnd have you heard about the condiments? Check 'em out here.

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