Wine & Cheese Pairings from our Oct 23, 2021 Workshop

Posted on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 | By Nicole Easterday |


1. M. Chevalier, Cava, Spain

Cava is Spain’s response to Champagne and is produced in the same manner so some characteristics overlap. It has a similar mouthfeel, medium-bodied with pleasant big bubbles and a nice bit of acid on the finish that cuts through the creaminess of brie. Cava is a blend of 3 Spanish grapes -  Macabeau, a simple grape with floral notes and slightly bitter lemon and green almond finish, Xarello, aromatic with a rich floral nose and a sweet pear and melon taste, and Paralleda- a high acid grape blended in to add zesty citrus notes.

  • Brillat Savarin - It's almost cliché to serve this sweetheart of cheese-lovers but it really is the silk underpants of cheese. Named for the famous gastronome who said "Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are", the triple crème richness leaves no doubt as to who you are. Cow's milk with 75% butterfat and a thin, edible snowy white rind, it's all lactic sweetness which would normally have the slightest flavor of bloomy white mushroom, but in this case it's masked by the sweetened cranberry topping. It's practically made to be paired with bubbles and we love it with this cava.
2. Bohigas, Xarello, Catalunya, Spain
This stunner is a  mineral-driven white wine with a similar mouth feel to Chablis from one of the oldest wine estates in Spain. Xarello is one of the main grapes used in Cava and Chardonnay is one of the main grapes in Champagne so the similarities come as no surprise. The grapes for this wine are hand-harvested, and never see oak barrels creating a clean, crisp wine with a citrusy nose and a balanced taste of green apple, sweet citrus, and minerals. It's perfect for light foods or creamy cheeses with a simple tasting profile.
  • Fromager D'affinois Plain Brie - This is the most exported cheese out of France and with good reason! With it's very slightly mushroomy rind and truly smooth and creamy paste, it's a real crowd-pleaser. D'affinois tends to be a top seller at most cheese counters, whether artisanal or more of a grocery setting. An easy-to-find cheese, this little brie gets its ooey-gooey texture not by adding additional cream, but by using a patented method of ultra-filtration, which breaks up and dispersed the fat throughout the cheese. While it stands well on its own, try wrapping this one in phylllo dough and baking it with some jam this holiday season.
3. Wente, Nikki's Small Lot Pinot Noir Rosé, Arroyo Seco, CA
Wente is so lovable for its history and commitment to sustainability. They are the oldest continuously run family winery in the US and the current winemaker is 4th generation. In 2010 they were one of the first wineries to be certified CA Sustainable Vineyard and have since certified every aspect of the business. We love them for all these reasons BUT when it comes down to it the reason I continue to come back to their wines, they are SPECTACULAR! This Rose is a beautiful subtle pink color with a beautiful nose of strawberry, tropical fruits, and florals. The taste and mouthfeel are crisp and clean with a slightly acidic finish, lots of green apple and grapefruit. We paired it with two cheeses:
  • Brebirousse d'Argental - This bright orange French sheep's milk cheese may look like it's going to deliver a punch but it's all sheepy creaminess and goopy brie goodness. Rather than being washed, as its appearance would suggest, this cheese's exterior is rubbed with annatto, offering a bright pop to your cheese plate. The sheep's milk, which is higher in milkfat, delivers luscious goodness and creamy, rich texture. This one is so easy to love!
  • Camembert dell'Alta Langa - This cheese by Caseificio Alta Langa hails from the Alta Langa region of Southern Piedmont. Like its more common sister cheese La Tur, the camembert features a mix of goat, sheep & cow's milk. One thing I love about this cheesemaker is that they don't use commercial cultures at all but rather have been building and protecting their own in-house cultures for a flavor and style that is uniquely their own.
5. Julien Sunier, Gamay, Wild Soul, Beaujolais, France
Julian has made his way up in the wine world from a wild card winemaker of those in the know to a cult favorite and rightfully so! This is the only offering under $30 but is treated in the same delicate and meticulous manner and equally as lovable. This 100% organic is a classic Sunier Gamay- a nose of red raspberries, bright cherries,  and subtle florals with a taste of ripe summer fruits and mild tannins give a drinkable medium body wine. You can taste the attention to detail and place this wine is produced. 
  • Champignon Cambozola - This might have been my favorite pairing of the day! This German creation is a fun take on Camembert and Gorgonzola where the blue veining inside the cheese complements the triple crème lusciousness of what otherwise appears to be a Camembert. Slightly salty and rich with a buttery, spreadable consistency, this is an excellent starter blue for those who may not yet be ready for the big, bold blues.
6. Comm. G.B. Burlotto, Pelaverga, Verduno, Italy 

 This wine comes from one of the smallest DOC regions of Italy with only 10 winemakers and about 45 acres of vines dedicated to the rare Pelaverga grape. Giovan Battista Burlotto, the Commander to friends and Family, started making wine and bottling (at this time wine was usually in Casks) in the mid 1800’s. When he died in 1927 the winery all but disappeared. Today the estate is run by the Commander’s great-great grandson Fabio. He has done a phenomenal job of both revitalizing this estate and establishing a name for himself as one of the leading winemakers utilizing traditional processes and grapes. This wine has the color of dark cherries (opposed to the rust color of most wines from the surrounding areas), a red berry nose with a peppery finish, and fruit driven taste with a subtle earthy finish. It is naturally produced and a wonderful food wine and perfect for the fall, still light in body but offers some complexity.

  • Leonora - I found this paring so delightful! With a paste that is both dense and smooth and a white rind gentle mottled in light gray and sometimes yellow, I find this cheese to be everything Bucheron purports to be and is just too industrial to pull off well. This luscious rectangle ranges from silky and smooth just under the rind, to flaky and cakey near the center. A modern take on ancient European goat cheese making, this treasure is created from the pasteurized milk from a single herd of goats in Leon, Spain. Delicate and bright, Leonora is reminiscent of lemon meringue pie with its bright citrus profile and meringue-y creaminess.