Monday, November 5, 2012

Food & Wine Pairing of the Day: Vella Dry Jack and J Barrel 16 Pinot Noir

Our highly unofficial poll indicates that watching election returns with a few friends tomorrow would be four times more fun than doing so without them. Here are a few wine and cheese pairing ideas to keep the rhetoric savory.

  • Vella Dry Jack and J Barrel 16 Pinot Noir. If you haven't tried California's dry grating cheeses yet, it's really time you started. They're similar in character to a fine Parmigiano-Reggiano, so they're perfect on a cheese and charcuterie plate or served with some figs and Bosc pears. One of the most venerable dry Jack producers is Vella Cheese Company, which began making its signature Dry Monterey Jack in 1931. This cheese has a firm, golden paste, nutty aroma, and expertly balanced flavors of sweetness, saltiness, and acidity. We absolutely love it with our J Barrel 16 Pinot Noir for the way the wine's complex vanilla cream and strawberry characters mingle with the mild flavors of the cheese. 

  • Bleating Heart's "Mixtress" and J Vineyards 2011 Hoot Owl Viognier. Deriving its name from a suave blend of of cow and sheep's milk, the delicious Mixtress has a subtle, nutty flavor that plays beautifully against the fresh fruit aromas of our 2011 Hoot Owl Viognier.   The supple texture and gentle flavors of the Basque-style cheese work well with the wine's lush mouth of silky vanilla. We love that Mixtress' rind is allowed to develop spontaneously while aging on wood for two months in an aging room located on an apple orchard. 

  • Central Coast Creamery's Aged Goat Gouda and J Brut Rosé. With luscious caramel aromas and fuller, more robust flavors than their Dutch counterparts, goat goudas have really taken off in California lately, with the aged varieties taking on completely different characters than younger, milder versions. We love Central Coast Creamery's rendition a firm, smooth cheese with a powerful range of sharp and sweet flavors, as well as floral and herbaceous ones. This potent gouda is delicious with a clean, crisp sparkling wine like our J Brut Rosé, which has subtle rose petal and raspberry characters tied together by vibrant citrus. 

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